Focus on Fundamentals Part 5

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: SURVEYS, REVIEWS & FEEDBACK In previous articles, we covered Sales Basics, Employees, Inventory, Procedures and Processes. All of these areas revolve around the three Ps, which are People, Process, and Product. We will tie all of this together with the importance of Customer Service and the perceptions that are created for individual … Read more

My View of ARNE

Ever been inside a courtroom while in session? Even though each case is different, there’s commonality. Each case has an assigned a court stenographer. When a court stenographer captures what’s said in the court room, there’s no way he or she can report on the way things were said, because they are only authorized to … Read more

Auto Recyclers Save Lives

We have reached a milestone in the recovery of Defective Takata Airbags; The successful recovery and destruction of 500K airbags. We don’t know how many of that amount could have resulted in death or serious injury. More importantly, it recognizes the efforts our industry has put forth to ensure the driving public that Auto Recyclers … Read more

Navigating the Transition — In Family-Owned Business

To many of us, succession planning has a direct application to our family-owned companies. For example, we need to resolve how we address ownership considerations versus management and operating considerations. Situations in which ownership and operations or management responsibilities are vested in the same people can be devastating to a family or closely held corporation … Read more

The Advantages of Doing More in Less Time

Of course, we only have a limited amount of time; it’s not something we can get more of, so we better learn to do more with the time we have. In the business world, there are two main reasons to hone the skill of valuing and managing your time: Lower Stress and Better Quality of … Read more

Operating Budgets

The calendar is clicking off the months and we find that fall is in the air. Fall means a lot of different things to people. From a business standpoint, this is the time of the year that our thought process needs to start looking towards the coming year. October starts the 4th and final quarter … Read more

Know Your Customer (KYC) in Converter Recycling

Who are you really doing business with? Corruption. Bribery. Fraud. Money laundering. Illegal financing or activities (e.g., funding terrorism). Companies of all sizes and in all industries, including automotive recycling, can benefit from knowing your customer or client and avoid working with untrustworthy or illegal companies. Every article I write is committed to educating you … Read more

Quality is Job One

The Importance of Consistency in your Process In previous articles, we covered sales basics, employees, and inventory. We will now talk about your procedures and processes and how doing these things properly can lead to a quality product and top-notch customer service. First, ask yourself this question: Which people in your company are involved in … Read more

How to get an MBA

Most everyone remembers Dave Thomas who was the Founder of Wendy’s. We see his successful fast-food stores everywhere. However, some people do not know the complete story of Dave Thomas. Dave Thomas may have become a wealthy man, but he was born an orphan and was adopted at 6 weeks of age. This gracious man, … Read more

Boost Airbag Bounty Revenue with External Labor

Throughout Paul’s amazing 29 years in the automotive recycling industry, he has never seen issues concerning labor become as prominent as today. During our travels, we are constantly hearing the same mantra “It’s hard to attract and retain good employees.” This shortage of labor not only affects larger recyclers, but also the Mom & Pop … Read more

Live Your Life & Forget Your Age

On May 7th, 2019, stem cells were injected into my right leg. I had been living with severe pain for two to three years and consulted with eleven doctors from various ends of the healthcare market in the last 16 months. To my chagrin, I’ve seen more doctors than some people see in a lifetime. … Read more

Announcement: Non-Bounty NHTSA Alerts

YMM System based on Year, Make Model — Focus on BMW, Dodge/Chrysler, VW/Audi The RAS Bounty program for defective Takata Airbags is based on VIN verification of vehicles by the Recycler. We provide the tools and software to verify those VIN’s against our recall buyback database. The industry is to be applauded for a significant … Read more

Get A Higher Price For Your Wheels

When a recycler does not identify the Hollander Interchange part number for a wheel, often that wheel ends up underpriced. Instead of being sold to a remanufacturer, a specialty wholesaler, or on eBay for $30-50, it’s sold as scrap for a meager $18. The problem is that identifying the Hollander Interchange part number for a … Read more

Continuing Your Education

Converter Processor, Smelter, and Refiner? Does It Matter To Me? Our mantra at United Catalyst Corporation is Getting You the Most from Your Converters with A Process You Can Trust. It is more than a slogan. It is our mission. It is our brand promise. It is what gives our work meaning. Every article I … Read more

3 Sales Calls Your Team Should Be Making

Is your tenured sales staff continually looking for new sales opportunities? Are they working to grow their book of customers? They need to be! After having spoken with dozens of sales managers and yard owners, an area that frequently gets “back-burnered” by a seasoned sales team is outbound calling. Here are three calls they need … Read more

Making Money in Your Sleep…With Metals?

The economics of running a scrap yard have been less than ideal with the drops in demand driven by political and nonpolitical issues. What is ideal however, is the value of the licensed land to conduct metal recycling operations. Many of our clients are finding they can make just as much money leasing their properties … Read more

My Favorite Author

Perhaps, after finishing book #40 by my favorite author, I would find it less desirable than the other 39. Not so! I’m still enamored with his writings and must admit that Max Lucado is still my favorite author with #40, Unshakable Hope. Purchased by my daughter, it was presented for Father’s Day. Not only is … Read more

Ransomware: Hacked & Jacked

At 3:30 on Sunday, July 7, I was ready to leave after working all day. At this moment, I saw on my server screen what turned out to be one of my worst nightmares. It said all of my files had been encrypted. After making a few calls, one of them being to the person … Read more

Steel May Be Depressed

Even as steel continues to dip another 3.4% over the last two weeks or 27% since peaking in late March, scrap catalytic converter values continue to rise with the strength of the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs). Palladium itself up over $200 since last month rising for a fifth straight week as of the writing of … Read more

Celebrating 70 Years!

A&A Midwest is celebrating our 70th anniversary throughout 2019. Started by Aaron and Alex Stolberg in 1949 from very humble beginnings. Today A&A is the industry leader in Engine and Transmission core supply as well as OEM type replacement parts and automotive recycling. A&A started out with a narrow focus of selling engines to engine … Read more

The Good Employee

Nothing is more valuable that a good employee. They show up on time, they do what is expected of them, and they solve more problems than they create. Good employees are eager to improve and are willing to make the effort to learn. They are respected and trusted not only by their employer, but also … Read more

My Memory Trick

Everyone thinks I never forget or miss anything. Boy, do I have them fooled. I have a terrible memory. In the earlier days, I propped it up with a pocket notepad. Today, it’s my iPhone. I send myself an email every time I think of something that needs a look, an action, or a follow … Read more

Ain’t no Cure for the Summertime Blues

In the 1960’s song “Summertime Blues”, a son laments about all the things he wants to do over the Summer like going on a date, taking out the family car for a Sunday ride, or taking a fun vacation. Each time he is chastised for either not working hard enough, being too young to vote, … Read more

Employees — A Company’s Best Asset

While this will show up on any Balance Sheet or Financial Statement as an expense, your company’s most valuable asset is your people. They represent your company and project an image of who you are and what you do. This image and perception can be either positive or negative. The employees in your company make … Read more

Summertime Projects

As it happened this time a year ago, summer has started again. With every summer, banners with graduation notices and well-wishes can be seen at entrances to subdivisions. As with most years, I can truly say I attended multiple graduations for children of my good friends and family. This year alone, I attended two kindergarten … Read more

Owning the Space by Creating Value

If you search for “automotive recycler” in your zip code area, what would show up? There are two spaces that you want. The first is the one to the right side of the screen that shows the name of a company, its location, hours, link to directions and its website. The second is on the … Read more

Yes, I Smile at Strangers

Last month while attending URG, you probably heard Michael Clay, the speaker that did a presentation on how to use social media correctly to make money. There aren’t many guru’s comparable to Mike because he’s an expert in SEO, “on-web” design, and digital marketing plans. Others may feel they measure up to his ability…but they … Read more

The 4 Ps of Converter Recycling Profitability

At our company, United Catalyst Corporation, we have a mantra, it is Getting the Most from Your Converters with A Process You Can Trust. It is as simple as four Ps; a Process you can trust; a Program you can trust; a Partner you can trust; and the Power of education. A Process You Can … Read more

Focus on the Customer

Focusing on the customer is almost always the right place to start. Whenever you are thinking about changes in strategy, marketing, or other policies that could affect the customer, try to error on the side of doing what benefits your customers. When the customer wins, you will likely win. In 1978, when I opened, we … Read more

Focus on Fundamentals: Core Competencies

In my role with ARA as a mentor, I created some basic instructions for Recyclers that I am mentoring. After looking at this first one, I said to myself, “This is something that is relevant and of use to all recyclers, myself included.” I think that we all from time to time need to focus … Read more

How to Grow your Automotive Recycling Business

Customer Experience ­— Outperform the Competition How sensitive or aware are your customers to the price of your parts? Most of us have the experience of looking at the costs of a product and its impact on our buying decisions. This is especially true on our first purchase with a vendor. But my experience and … Read more

Your ARA Past, Present & Future

I’m back at work here after attending the ARA Legislative Summit and Hill Day, and this got me to thinking about our association, its history, where it is now, and where it is going. 75 years is indeed a long time for an association to have survived. Even back in the earliest days of automobiles, … Read more

The Future of Auto Catalyst, Hybrid Batteries & Fuel Cells

For nearly thirty years the automotive industry has been talking about hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cells without producing a very large market to date. Emission standards across the globe are becoming increasingly stricter. What does this mean for converter, hybrid battery, and fuel cell recycling? The Future is More Complex The tightening emission standards … Read more

Thinking Out of the Box

After blocking and tackling (another in this series), you have to think out of the box to stay ahead of the competition and the industry in general. Here are a few ways to stimulate your out-of-the-box thinking: Read, read, and then read more. Your competitors aren’t doing it, so they don’t know what they don’t … Read more

Do You Have What it Takes?

Having come back from Northlake Auto Recyclers in Hammond, Indiana, I bet you’re wondering if it snowed while I was there. I was prepared for it, but thank God, it didn’t. Here’s what I discovered. Northlake Auto Recyclers is run by Marty Hollingshead, the new Secretary on the board of ARA. In the past, Marty … Read more

Great Speakers set for URG

URG’s Theme for 2019 is “Expand the Possibilities”. Their premier conference is slated for April 11th – 13th in the inviting, sunny and warm state of Florida. Leave behind snow and cold weather for tourism of Orlando to hear the best speakers in our industry. I’m quite certain you’re familiar with speakers like, Ryan Falco … Read more

Understanding Metal Price Spreads

Palladium has been on a historical run the past two months to as high as $1553 toz. But why don’t we receive the published bid or spot price for metal that we are selling today? Two Reasons for A Metal Price Spread Bullion vs. Sponge When precious metal is refined from catalyst it is not … Read more

On the Fly Training

I travel extensively and one of the things that I notice everyplace I travel to is the number of help wanted signs that I see on seemingly every business. The unemployment rate in the world is at an all-time low. This has created problems for the auto recycler as we have struggled to find good … Read more

Make Sure Your Sales Team is Capturing Warranty Sales

I recently started to train a team of salespeople, at a medium sized yard, in a major metropolitan area. During an initial analysis of untapped profit centers, I was surprised to find zero warranty sales from the previous 90 days. Most of us know the importance of taking advantage of these sales, here are some … Read more

You Simply Must Have Modern Computer Skills

I am always amazed at the quality of computer skills those that are looking for work have, or don’t have. We use Excel a lot and test for it when hiring. Most applicants say their skills are rusty, but in reality can’t even create a simple 9-cell spreadsheet. What amazes me even more is that … Read more