We headed to Adam Hewitt Limited, specialists in the disposal of farm, plant and machinery salvage. This was our first time there since early 2017, and in this time, there have been more than a few changes.
On first observation of the site upon entering the driveway was the considerable number of vehicles in the yard – a sight which was absent in early 2017 as the owner, Adam Hewitt and his team had only just relocated there.
How it all began
Adam joined the family business, a body repair business called John Hewitt Garages in the 1970s. The business focused on motor salvage sales then later expanded to salvage management. Over the following 25 years, Hewitt International Salvage, as it was later named, moved five times, with its final base at Wombourne in Staffordshire on a 50-acre site, handling approximately 30,000 salvage units.
The business was sold in 2012 after receiving a fantastic offer but after two years of retirement, Adam soon realised that visiting tropical islands and playing golf was not how he wanted to live his life. He set up Adam Hewitt Limited to specialise in the sales of agricultural and commercial vehicle salvage, then in April 2017, their company re-established their working relationship with NFU Mutual.
The NFU contract occurred around the same time as our first visit and since then, the company has seen a 100% growth increase. They now have eight trucks on the roads and twenty staff, including Adam’s children; Grace (Accounts Manager) and Jack (Auction Manager), two AQPs and his long time business associate, Paul Green, who has worked with Adam since the early days and is still involved with the day to day running of the business.
Adam showed us around the yard where we were able to see the growth of the business for ourselves. He told us about their contracts, the first with NFU, which was a two-year tender process and how they managed to get it back. They got everything except for the cars which went to Motorhog (as it was known at the time). He told us that the return on the NFU is 55-60% PAV (Pre-accidental value), which is an incredible amount. They also have three further contracts with insurers.
Dale Kirkton, Claims Supply Manager at NFU Mutual, said:
“NFU Mutual appointed Adam Hewitt Ltd following a competitive tender process back in 2017 and we were impressed by the specialist nature of the business and how this complemented our customer strategy. It was clear that Adam Hewitt was perfectly aligned to our core farming requirements and possessed the expert knowledge required to collect and manage our agricultural and plant machinery salvage efficiently.
“With the auction being the place to go to purchase agricultural salvage and developing a massive following of dedicated industry buyers, the partnership has resulted in positive results for us with impressive financial returns to NFU Mutual.”
So what is the reason for Hewitt’s success?
Adam told us that when it comes to disposing of their vehicles, every part is looked at and considered then put through their online auction. Their service offers more detail when it comes to dismantling. They ensure that they make the most out of every unit that comes in.
They have a different business model compared to some of the other well-known dismantling operations and auctioned vehicles are photographed at their best with 70 vehicles being sold a week through auction alone. But now they are looking at the possibility of splitting the auction to twice weekly to agricultural units and trucks. He told us that there is a new online platform being launched very soon; a more user-friendly updated version of the previous one.
Looking around the yard, Adam told us they do salvage only, complete for spares. They have customers from Claas, Kuhn and individuals, including farmers but not all these parts remain in the UK, he said that a lot of their items are shipped abroad. There were a variety of machines including tedders and rakes in the yard, most of which have something mechanical wrong with them but most of which are usually easily fixable which is why they have a high turnaround. But considering they were coming to the end of their peak time, the yard was still ram-packed with salvage. It seems that space is running out.
For now, this is the go-to place for insurance companies to sell their agricultural and commercial vehicles. And as for the future, a new auction site with the possibility of two auctions a week and a larger site which they are at present looking into, something which Adam never thought would happen … again!