The ABP State of the Industry Report has become a valuable tool to monitor the attitudes and experiences of bodyshops using recycled parts and identify trends, Silverlake Automotive Recycling provides its response.
Recycled Parts – Demand and Availability
It is encouraging to see from the 2021 report that the percentage of bodyshops using recycled parts has remained high at 71% and that 57% of those bodyshops reported using more recycled green parts last year, than the previous year. We must also remember that the last 18 months have been unprecedented times due to the pandemic.
The ABP reported growth in demand will have been influenced by a reduction in policyholder resistance and work provider resistance to the use of recycled parts, down by 12% and 22% respectively on 2020. Consumer education and heightened environmental awareness, insurers increased focus on sustainability and delays in the availability of new parts linked to Brexit and the pandemic, will all also have been contributory factors.
Increased demand is reflected at Silverlake Automotive Recycling; sales of the company’s quality graded, warranty assured recycled parts have grown by over 28% in the last 12 months with July registering a record month. The business has responded by increasing its parts storage capacity with a new 975m2 warehouse with racking for over 6,300 vehicle doors and expanded its parts delivery fleet, which operates nationwide, 6 days a week.
The availability of recycled parts remained an issue for bodyshop respondents to the 2021 ABP survey and Silverlake’s managing director, Allen Prebble, believes that a collaborative strategy on behalf of automotive recyclers will help to improve the accessibility of recycled parts. As a member of the e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management network, Silverlake has the ability to source parts from other network members to help it meet customer requirements. The company also supplies parts to the Green Parts Specialist via a partnership arrangement.
Recycled Parts – Quality and Consistency
In 2020, 64% of respondents to the ABP survey stated poor quality deterred them from using green parts. In 2021 that figure dropped to 28%. This demonstrates real progress. It is disappointing that 40% of respondents this year cite inconsistent quality as an issue and a barrier to fitting recycled parts. As a new report finding, there is no comparison to be drawn with previous years. However, the UK Standard for Reclaimed Parts was launched a year ago by the VRA and whilst the scheme is still in its infancy, it is unifying professional standards across the industry. Many automotive recyclers, including Silverlake and all members of the e2e network, have undergone the VRA audit and achieved Certification. The VRA introduced a Parts Quality Grading course in April 2021 to drive industry-wide consistency in the quality grading of parts removing subjectivity from the process. Silverlake staff in its dismantling, parts preparation and parts sales teams have completed the course to enhance business processes. Dismantlers are better equipped to grade the part accurately from the outset; the preparation team on detailing provenance, cleaning and imaging the part are better informed to confirm the grading; and the parts sales team have confidence in the product and can deliver a high-quality customer experience. Silverlake have experienced an 8% drop in parts returns since VRA Certification and grading training, with a high proportion of those returns due not to an issue with the part, but to the customer requirement changing.
Naturally, there will still be providers in the market that have not yet achieved VRA Certification or undertaken the quality grading training and this will be contributing to the quality inconsistencies impacting the bodyshop customer experience. It will be interesting to see next year’s report findings against these criteria.
Allen Prebble, managing director of Silverlake Automotive Recycling summarises:
“The recycled parts market is gathering pace very quickly and maturing, as demonstrated by the findings of the ABP State of the Industry Report 2021. The automotive recycling industry has embraced the opportunity to set professional standards enabling us to deliver consistent and high-quality customer service. The UK Standard and VRA Certification program has helped and motivated forward-thinking recyclers to work to even higher standards to inspire the repair industry to have confidence in our quality and service. Silverlake is supportive of increased collaboration between insurers, bodyshops and automotive recyclers to help to drive beneficial market development for all stakeholders. We are keen to gain greater understanding of the needs of our bodyshop customers so that we give them a consistently high quality, reliable service, and we are hosting an open day for regional bodyshops later this year to canvas their feedback and inform our business strategy.”