Core Incompetence

A lot of people know that I am the “Queen of Cores!” I help recyclers set up core programs at their businesses, I teach classes on cores. I work closely with several core buyers to make sure that my customers and I are up-to-date on any changes in the industry and that the best practices of collecting, invoicing, and sending cores in to the buyers are observed. I don’t want any of my recyclers to be “core incompetent!”

One thing we should remember from the days when scrap was really high, is that all of our eggs should not be in one basket. Cores are a small percentage of our business; but, when done correctly, they an be a nice addition to the bottom line.

One thing I ask my recyclers to do is to check the core prices when you first get the vehicle in (or when you evaluate the vehicle, if your bidding program allows it).

1. Run your vehicle through your core program and see what is valuable.

2. Make sure that you (or your management system) sets the current price of the core. The days of “all alternator and starters are $3” are long gone.

3. Another thing I like to do is hit those core parts with a spot of paint. Pick a color that you don’t usually use at your business. I like pink, because no one seems to use pink for anything else. When the part gets up to the counter, the counter person or cashier automatically knows that the part needs a core. When the driver is dropping off a part with pink paint on it, they know that they need to pick one up.

4. Have bins or gaylord boxes set up with the core buyer’s name on the bin. This way, your people know exactly where to put the core upon return. Make sure it is someplace covered, as these are “good parts” to our core buyers.

5. When it’s time to scrap the vehicle, you know that anything with pink paint still left on the vehicle needs to come off. You only have to run the vehicle through your core program one time.

6. Keep a work order, invoice, or spreadsheet to track the dollar amount of your cores.

I have noticed some misinformation out there when it comes to the tracking procedures of outstanding cores. My theory on this is the same as it is on every other aspect of our industry: We are NOT junk yards! We have professional businesses and should be running them accordingly!

I recommend that my recyclers invoice the core buyers with the actual part and current prices that are showing in their core program. Some people think that you should inflate the core prices on your invoice to a core buyer to compensate for any shrinkage that may occur due to broken or damaged parts. I am totally against this practice, as this is not the way to run a trustworthy business.

Another thing I have noticed is my recyclers complaining that some core buyers are “slow pay” or “paying late.” Core buyers are YOUR customers. You may not have them on “30 days,” as we all know it takes some time to check the loads in. With that being said, if your invoice has not been paid within a timely manner, as with any other customer, call them and remind them that the invoice is still outstanding.

Theresa Colbert is a public speaker who goes to state association meetings, at no charge, to give classes on cores, brokering and much more. She offers on-site support to salvage yards in many areas and has been an on-the-ground representative for for five years. Prior, she worked at Nu-Parts Automotive Products for 10 years, was a manager at Winter Auto Japanese Engines in Glendale, Arizona, and at AAA Economy Auto Parts in Phoenix, Arizona. With 23 years of industry experience, Theresa has seen the auto recycling world from almost every point of view. When she is at home, she loves to spend time with her family, play with her dogs, cook and watch football.