In an exclusive interview with ATF Professional, Chris Hulls, Business Development Manager at e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management, shares insights into his role and initial impressions. He discusses strategies to increase the adoption of reclaimed parts in vehicle repairs and addresses insurance companies’ concerns. Hulls also provides a glimpse into the future of damaged vehicle categorisation and highlights the operational excellence of e2e’s network members.
As the newly appointed Business Development Manager at e2e, can you provide an overview of your role and your initial impressions of the position?
My role as Business Development Manager encompasses supporting several key areas which are predominantly customer-facing. I manage the performance and relationships of our insurer partner’s salvage contracts, working closely with the e2e team to drive efficiency and compliance. We aim to achieve better performance and added value for all stakeholders whilst exploring additional sales & operational opportunities with our existing client base and pursuing new prospects and business development opportunities across the industry. This role represents a huge opportunity for me to develop my skills in an area of the industry to which I have previously had little exposure. In previous positions, I have been largely centred around the supply of vehicle parts, garage/bodyshop equipment, refinish products, tooling, and the collision & SMR repair markets in general. I am excited to be bringing my experience to this role and develop within e2e to better support our clients, members and the e2e team.
Reclaimed parts have been on the rise in recent years, particularly with insurance companies. However, there is still room for growth. What strategies can be implemented to increase the adoption of reclaimed parts, and what developments can we expect in the future?
Reclaimed parts represent a huge (still relatively untapped) opportunity across both collision repair and SMR sectors in the automotive repair industry. I believe there are several key areas where improvements and efficiencies can be made, and these are largely centered around insurer and policyholder approval and repairer engagement.
A ‘less is more’ approach has served us well to date and has gained us a foot in the door in the insurer & fleet-funded collision repair market. It is now time to push on and exploit the benefits of working with our strategic partners to deliver a more enhanced and better solution for all – improved inventory solutions & logistics. More consistent parts grading and better intelligence around decision making, increased availability and fulfillment are some of the key elements which will see this opportunity begin to really rival the AM & OEMs to a greater level.
In your discussions with insurance companies, what are their key concerns regarding using recycled parts? How does e2e address these concerns and promote using reclaimed parts in vehicle repairs?
It is my belief that most, if not all, are receptive to the use of reclaimed parts to a greater or lesser extent, with the market leaders adopting a “reclaimed first” approach before they engage with the AM or OEMs. General concerns around safety critical parts and provenance are largely put to bed through the adoption of the VRA certification scheme. Repairer/network engagement, systems integration, delays, quality, fulfillment, and pricing consistency are critical measures that need increased industry support and development too. Ultimately, as an industry, we need to provide a greater, more credible and sustainable level of service consistency across the piece. e2e’s network of members have the UK’s largest geographical footprint of VRA-certified ATF vehicle dismantlers and are well placed to offer a “one-stop shop”.
What do you foresee as the future of damaged vehicle categorisation, and how might this impact the industry?
Insurers, by their very nature, are risk-averse. I don’t believe it is outside the realms of possibility that, moving forward, we may see an ambition from them – driven by safety concerns, and the inevitable decline in ICE vehicle manufacturing and the subsequent increased/longer use of these vehicles – to move to making better-educated decisions around dismantling category S total loss vehicles. With vehicle recyclers becoming more integrated into the supply process, and greater adoption of reclaimed parts with repairers, coupled with diminished OEM & AM part availability, we may see a world where all stakeholders benefit more from increased reclaimed parts availability and the commercial & environmental savings than they do from any proceeds generated from auctioning these vehicles.
Have you had the opportunity to visit e2e members, and what is your impression of their operations and how they fit into the e2e network philosophy?
I have been lucky enough to have visited most of our members and have been totally blown away by how welcoming they have been. The culture, ambition, passion, professionalism, and dedication to their task is amazing to see and is what I had hoped to see when I came aboard. Operationally, the investments being made across the network in staff, machinery, building, and general capacity gives me great hope and enthusiasm for the future and demonstrates their desire to compete at the highest level and to keep pace with our client’s demands and technological advancements.