Through our many years of experience with selling green recycled parts to vehicle repairers, the Autofinity Parts team has heard and understands the many reasons why they don’t tend to use them. By working closely with some of the best vehicle recyclers we have been able to negate some of these objections through our Parts marketplace, for example the authenticity of the parts, warranty length and handling of refunds and replacements.
However, the stereotypical image of a vehicle recycler, dismantler or breaker persists and is blocking sales opportunities. Past meetings with recyclers have all thrown up a regular topic – how to improve the number of parts being sold to vehicle repairers. Lots of ideas and strategies have been discussed but few changes have been made.
We can narrow down the problems recyclers have in this area to three crucial mistakes: price, availability and quality. All of which add up to the need to improve customer service and demonstrate a willingness to understand the customer’s needs.
Recycled Parts Prices
On the face of it a recycled part is very good value. But it only remains so if the other elements involved with the purchase do not conspire to increase the overall cost. In some cases, this total comes very close to the price of a brand-new part, and so the main incentive to use a recycled part is lost.
For example, let’s assume that a new OE front wing is £100 from the local dealer. The repairer receives a 20% discount off that price, so their margin is £20. Delivery is fast because the dealer is local.
An equivalent green recycled OE part is priced at £30. However, the recycler charges £25 for delivery, so the total cost is £55. This is still a good price, but now the customer service aspect comes into play.
The front wing the recycler sends is red, although the car being repaired is white. It also has a few stone chips on it. So, the repairer needs to add an additional labour cost to the part – let’s be conservative and say 30 minutes at £15. The cost of the part has now crept up to £70.
If the repairer is still to achieve a margin of £20, the total cost becomes £90, a very small saving for a lot more time and effort. This is in addition to a longer delivery time than the local dealer.
To make a sale, the recycler must understand that the original price they offer is only a good incentive if the quality of the part is also good and that part is delivered quickly.
Quality of Recycled Parts
Having done all the work to place the part request, find stock and negotiate the price, it often turns out that the quality of the part just isn’t good enough.
Some recyclers do not disclose the condition of a part they are trying to sell. This undermines the business’s opportunity to sell parts. You wouldn’t expect a travel agent to sell a holiday without photographs and descriptions, so why should vehicle recyclers expect repairers to purchase a part without an image and parts grading?
We often hear stories from repairers of recycled parts arriving which are not as described, damaged (either prior to delivery or during delivery), poorly packaged, dirty or with parts missing. Allowing parts to be delivered to customers like this reinforces the stereotypical image of a vehicle recycler as a business that does not care about its customer.
Availability and delivery
I estimate that around half of requests for recycled parts cannot be serviced, because the recycler does not have the parts in stock, because they did not respond to the request at all, or because they quote overly long delivery times.
I have seen some quotes showing 6 days to deliver a recycled part. This cannot compete with a non-OE supplier who can often deliver inside 1 hour and many franchised dealers which deliver the next day. Time spent waiting for parts is costly and likely to cause the sale to fall through.
If recyclers are to get more repairer business this is an extremely important issue to address.
Change comes from within
If these problems aren’t addressed, significant potential sales to vehicle repairers will continue to be missed. Repairers make procurement decisions based on past experiences which means that they will continue to purchase parts from vehicle dealers who give excellent service all the time.
Our own customer service team has experienced these issues when sourcing recycled parts for customers, and as a result we have reduced our pool of recyclers to those who provide only the best service and best quality parts. But we’d like to see the rest of the vehicle recycling industry do more to address these issues, as this is the only way recycled parts will become a truly viable replacement parts option for the repair sector.
Things have to change. Vehicle recyclers need to raise their game by inspecting and grading parts prior to sale. They need to deliver parts more quickly and securely so they don’t suffer damage in transit, and provide excellent customer service if something does go wrong.
In summary, if the volume of complaints and returns reduces, sales teams will be in a better position to do what they do best: sell more parts to satisfied customers. Recyclers will finally be able to achieve what they have only been talking about for a long time.
Over to you guys!