In this second of three posts, UK Managing Director Jane Pocock reflects on how Copart has maintained their leading position in the market, from innovative new technology to feeding the green parts market.
Having been established in the role of UK Managing Director at Copart for 18 months, I have already witnessed significant changes across the business as we continue evolving and adapting to an ever-changing marketplace.
We are certainly seeing more complex vehicles, such as electric and hybrid, ending up in the total loss arena. Despite more new technology and safety equipment in vehicles these days, like airbags and detection systems, we are still seeing more accident damaged vehicles coming through to us due to the cost of repair and availability of parts.
Electric vehicles are not so new to us now, as they have been in the market for around six years. We have worked closely with manufacturers and Thatcham Research to ensure that all our Operation Centres are equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to work safely and competently with these vehicle types. We also hold regular educational workshops with our insurance customers and their engineers.
And of course, we disseminate any updates across the company, like we do with anything new to Copart. New and exciting projects always inspire our people to learn more, it’s the culture that’s well established within us.
As a compliant organisation, risk management and health & safety is critical, so we want to know as much as possible about new technology so we can keep our environment and our teammates safe.
Feeding the Green Parts Market
Reclaimed and recycled parts is a hot topic right now in our industry, but Copart has been one of the biggest contributors to the green parts market for some time already.
Most of the recyclers that operate in the UK are Copart members. They purchase vehicles through our auctions, so we are very much a broker within that industry. And, insurers choose to work with us as we have the biggest supply and can drive the best returns for them. Their vehicles are purchased in our online auctions by dismantlers and recyclers, after which they are broken for parts and sold into the various green parts networks that exist. So, I’m pleased to say that we play a key role in that.
We have regular discussions with insurers about how green parts fit into the market. It’s a growing requirement but there are still some issues with customers understanding the liability aspects of fitting second-hand parts to accident damaged vehicles. I think the integrity of these parts is very important and cosmetic parts are certainly more viable, although realistically only about 10% can be reused.
If you consider the time scales for an insurance repair process – where there are various time, resource and financial pressures – it’s sometimes an easier option to use OEM or non-OEM parts for repair. With this, you know what you are getting and there is no adaptation required.
But I do see green parts being hugely valuable to our members. They are buying vehicles from our auctions that are repairable and can make these repairs at leisure, therefore making the use of green parts a very viable option.
There is certainly growing interest in green parts and I fully support any recycling initiatives which limit the number of vehicles being crushed in favour of safe repair. We offer various services to members who are not licensed to break vehicles, allowing them to come into one of our Operation Centres and break vehicles down for parts.
Our sister company, U-Pull-It, has locations in York and Inverkeithing where people can come in and remove parts off vehicles. We also have our Breaker Bid 4 U service, where Copart can bid on Cat B vehicles on the member’s behalf. The vehicle is then held in one of our Operation Centres so the member can come in and break the vehicle within a safe and controlled environment.
These are additional services that some people may not even know that Copart offers, but behind the scenes, we have been supporting the repair network and feeding the green parts market for a long time.
As well as a growing desire within the industry to use green parts, the parts market in general always prospers during times of economic downturn and there will be increased interest in buying parts to do up vehicles in the most cost-effective way.
We’ll continue to offer the necessary services and technology at Copart to support this demand and will continually be looking for ways to extend and improve these services for both our members and sellers.
In part one, ‘Market Leader: Taking the Reins at Copart’, Jane Pocock discussed how her career within the automotive industry helped to prepare her for the ‘perfect role’ at Copart.