Dave Horsnell, Managing Director of DLH Autorecyclers Limited talked to us about his 25th Anniversary … not between himself and his wife, Jo but the anniversary of their business based in Norfolk.
ATF Professional were privy to an open day event at the DLH Autorecyclers site in North Walsham, near Norwich during the IRT conference earlier in the year. We wanted to find out their history, the set up, the future of DLH and their thoughts of the future of the industry.
Dave set up in 1994 initially starting with vehicle repairs and gradually he became involved in dismantling vehicles. The two aspects of the business grew side by side but both were being run as separate businesses up to 2002. DLH Auto Centre focusing on vehicle repairs and MOTs based in Stalham and DLH Autorecyclers which covered roadside recovery as well as dismantling based at Happisburgh.
From 2002, DLH Autorecyclers focused solely on vehicle recycling and car parts, although they continued to run DLH Auto Centre too, in fact, it is still run by Dave and Jo even to this day.
DLH Autorecyclers was in for a big change. As their business grew they realised that the change would involve relocating. Their Happisburgh site was situated in a rural location with a single carriageway for access, so logistically this was an issue. They had outgrown their business and now this was the time to find a new site.
In 2012, they purchased their current site – a space which they could plan from scratch to the specifications they required. Dave told us that they looked at old sites but realised that they would ultimately be spending out more to renovate them to suit their needs. They saw it as a fresh new beginning to operate how they wanted to operate. They installed a state of the art sealed drainage system and the right equipment tailored to suit dismantling vehicles. In 2013, DLH Autorecyclers moved to the North Walsham site.
Dave talks proudly of their business, of which we saw first hand at the recent open day. They specialise in dismantling and presenting parts in the appropriate manor. They use vehicle technicians with a good understanding of how vehicles are put together to ensure that when dismantling vehicles, parts are removed correctly and carefully.
They run a tight ship and with the right staff, facilities and know how, it is a simple process. He pointed out how their business is run efficiently, something which is down to the people they have around them. Every member of the team has a voice and all ideas about running the business are welcome.
There are two areas to the parts side of the business; green parts customers, which consist of bodyshops and fleet companies and private customers who purchase parts through their online platform at eBay. Dave said: “Car parts are presented well these days by the use of photo booths. Consumers are more confident to buy online. Ten years ago presentation was not so important.” He added: “Our biggest revenue is through online sales”. He told us that even their salvage is sold online just by photos and a description without the need to view at the yard.
We asked Dave if they face any major challenges, his response is one that we hear a lot, he referred to the level playing field and how they struggle to compete with non-permit holders. He told us that illegal operators are not representing the industry as it should be represented.
As for the future of DLH Autorecyclers, there are no plans to expand the new site, especially as their current site is just 6 years old and has been meticulously planned and designed to suit their requirements. Therefore the only focus they have is on the investment of processing vehicles. Their site has the capacity to store 1200 vehicles so the speed and efficiency to process is necessary. Last year they purchased a new baler which has seen DLH increase their productivity. They have also invested heavily in IT, in this case, Frontier – a system that works well for DLH Autorecyclers.
When asked about future vehicles, in this instance, EVs and how it will affect dismantlers, Dave said that more qualified technicians will be required and that preparations will be made in order to be ready for handling and storing EVs. He said that he is very much looking forward to EVs entering the yard and to be involved in the new challenges they will bring.
Further expansion is scheduled for the end of this year with the addition of a new building equipped with a hi- volume depollution bay. This will free up existing ramps to use for more parts removal for their online sales. Also in 2020 developments will be under way for electric vehicle (EV) processing although staff training has been carried out to deal with EV’s safely and the appropriate equipment is on site, a new department will be established to dismantle EV’s to maximise their recycling qualities.
To find out more about DLH Autorecyclers Ltd visit their website at www.dlhautorecyclers.co.uk or call Dave and Jo on 01692 400900.
At the DLH Autorecyclers Ltd open day in May 2019