It’s been a year since Jim Loughran took on the role of CEO of e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management. He takes the time to review the past twelve months and to provide foresight into where the industry is heading.
With a very successful career in the technology sector spanning four decades, it’s fair to say I was somewhat jaded with the corporate lifestyle and was looking for a new challenge and a new direction. It was at this point, and in this receptive frame of mind, that I was approached by e2e. What they described to me was a fascinating opportunity. The chance to be part of an industry steeped in generations of knowledge and expertise in a discipline that is fast becoming an increasingly important focus and a lifeline for our planet, sustainability!
Recycling sits at the very heart of automotive salvage operations and has done so for more decades than even I can recount! Nowadays, sustainability is a modern-day terminology accurately linked to the services our industry provides. Indeed, reusing, repurposing & recycling materials are fundamental to the principles of sustainable enterprise. 12 months ago, I felt fortunate to find myself being offered the opportunity to lead a business focussed on activities that are increasingly important in a time of climate crisis. The maximisation of the raw materials that we take from our planet, making the most use out of what we take… and re-using, re-purposing, recycling those items and raw materials again and again, and doing so in the most efficient manner, is what will help us reduce our impact on planet Earth.
This is what happens daily in the automotive salvage market, and I was being invited to join this effort. To take on the role of CEO for e2e? Wow! What an opportunity. But why me, and what could I bring to bear from my years of knowledge and experience gained in the technology sector?
Well, of course, the answer is just that, years of experience in technology. An intimate knowledge of not only how technology works and evolves, but, as importantly, how to bring technology value to a business model in a way that adds efficiencies without undermining the effectiveness of operations or hindering agility.
But why e2e? Fundamentally, e2e is a group of independent salvage agents that collectively offers more resource than any of our competitors… but you can read that on the website. To me, it’s the nature and the power of ‘The Network’ that is the attraction.
Networks are incredibly important and massively powerful. During my decades in the technology business, the industry evolved quickly, from the early days of large, centralised mainframe computers housed in monolithic datacentres, replaced by distributed systems and desktop processing, to where we have ended up today with ‘Network Computing’. The Cloud, The Internet, Mobile Communications. All examples of networks proving more powerful and successful than the single large monolithic mainframe of the past.
The beauty of a network lies in its inherent resilience, flexibility and agility. Its power is derived from the constituent elements, but it becomes much more than the sum of those parts. If one element is lost or damaged, the network will survive, heal and continue to thrive. This is true in biological, neurological and technological networks and in business. It’s the essence of e2e’s success.
The UK economic outlook is bleak. Cost of living and interest rates are rising to levels not seen for over 30 years. The war in Ukraine shows no signs of resolving and is having far-reaching effects, beyond the tragedy and desolation it is already serving on many families.
When navigating such uncertain times, businesses need to have agile revenue streams to draw on. For example, in the salvage industry, when the market for vehicle remarketing fluctuates, those same vehicles can be dismantled, and the parts redirected to feed the reclaimed parts supply chain. When a part is needed to repair a car, it will historically be sourced as new from the original manufacturer. In the UK, the car insurance industry replaced over 15 million car parts in 2021. New parts are not cheap, and their cost could be the difference between a damaged car being saved or declared as uneconomical to repair. By developing closer relationships with insurance clients and repair shops, innovative salvage agents have been able to co-create and feed into a circular economy, delivering low-cost, quality reclaimed parts into the repair process.
This not only enables the repair process to proceed at pace, rather than stalling, whilst waiting for back-ordered OEM parts but also ensures that many more damaged vehicles avoid end-of-life categorisation on the basis of uneconomic repair. These vehicles are kept on the road and able to continue to deliver value to their owners, improving customer experience. Re-use of reclaimed vehicle parts is not only cheaper, representing up to 75% savings on RRP, but a very carbon-efficient way of recycling end-of-life vehicles – the parts need very little re-processing, unlike scrap metal recycling. And this is just one of the ways in which vehicle salvage is doing its part to help to address the climate crisis.
Innovative salvage operators are also closely analysing their energy usage, in particular vehicle fuel. With prices having escalated in recent months, investments already made in developing mapping technologies to ensure the most efficient route for collection of vehicles are proving invaluable. The ability to manage an active fleet, in real-time, with an eye to congestion and optimised route selection, is returning real savings to the operators and to the planet.
When we look at the forecast for 2023, there are undoubtedly some tough times ahead. However, it is in times of adversity and crisis that innovation thrives. Many have decried the industrial revolution and the years of technological innovation that followed as the catalyst that has bought the planet to the brink of a climate crisis that threatens our very existence. However, it is in these times of crisis that must look to technological innovations to reverse the damage that mankind has caused to the planet. We need to engage in powerful networks of collaboration to help industries weather the economic storm, and we can embrace supply chain integration to drive efficiencies and reduce costs. Creative solutions can be designed to solve our problems, and, in many cases, technology can power them. It’s happening now in our industry (as in many others), and it’s inspiring!
I’m excited about the challenges and opportunities the next 12 months will bring, and I have absolutely no doubt that innovation, agility and resilience will be at the forefront of our industry’s progress.