Apologies to The Raven
One thing auto recyclers have in common is
the ability to overcome adversity and look forward to the future.
We have proven it by surviving wars, recessions, depressions,
terrorist attacks, tax audits, and any other horror that can
be put upon us by friends or enemies.
We are the ultimate optimists, we pay in full
for inventory before we take possession of it, we assume we
will receive it in the same condition we purchased it and we
hope that we will make a substantial enough profit to cover
our investment in a reasonable length of time. We buy our raw
product on an "as is, where is" basis and fully warranty every
piece and part of this product when we had no influence on the
design, manufacture or serviceability of any of these parts.
And the best part of the formula is that we base our buying
decisions on past history of sales and requests! We can't set
the trends, only follow them. Talk about optimism!
We invest in "old technology" tools and equipment
and hope that we will be able to service our customer's needs
on their "next generation" vehicles. We work with year old (or
older) information technology and hope that it carries over
accurately to current needs.
We steal each other's employees in the hope
that they will take less time to train and become productive
rather than hiring someone from outside our industry. We assume
that they will be more loyal to us than they were to their former
employer. We use a parts locating system to price our inventory
in the hope that the first person who set the price is much
smarter than we are and knows better what our product is worth.
We watch as business slows down, markets dry
up, profits go down and costs go up, but still we are optimistic.
We know that 'things are going to turn around soon'. Are we
optimistic or insane? I am told that the definition of insanity
is to repeatedly do the same thing over and over and expect
a different result. We all have to take a good hard look in
the mirror and ask, "Am I an optimist, a realist or just plain
No matter what your answer may be, if you are
going to continue in our exciting and challenging industry you
must be better prepared and better armed. Now is the time to
get our wagons in a circle, put our ducks in a row and make
reservations for the ARA Convention and Trade Show. This is
where you will meet fellow optimists from all over the world
who are doing things differently and achieving different results.
This is where optimistic vendors can present truly new and next
generation products you will need to move ahead, (remember the
old business adage, move ahead, fall behind or die). This is
where we all come together to hear of the past, improve the
present and prepare for the future.
The cost is manageable, the time away can be
repaid in the nights and weekends you will work before and after
the convention, the knowledge you gain will impress your friends
and scare your enemies and best of all it will restore your
confidence and bolster your optimism.
Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown,