Partners in Customer Satisfaction
How providers of Green Recycled Parts® are helping collision repairers put green in their repairs and their pockets.
As a busy collision repair shop owner or manager, when the word “green” is mentioned, your first thought might be “show me the profits!” You might also think of new procedures to reduce shop hazards or waste. Possibly the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – come to mind. Yet, professional automotive recyclers want your first thought to be “Green Recycled Parts®.”
Just as collision repair professionals have focused their efforts over the past several years on cycle time, lean manufacturing methods and improved standard operating procedures – almost as a means of survival – so have automotive recyclers, your partners in repairs and providers of recycled auto parts.
Professional automotive recyclers understand the pressures that collision repairers experience from insurance providers, competition and consumers, not to mention the continual changes in design and materials in modern automotive manufacturing. They feel the same pressures.
Most auto recyclers – especially members of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and of state automotive recycling chapters – are continually looking to improve business relationships, customer service, warranties and their own cycle times to ensure an efficient vehicle repair process for the consumer.
The mandate for alternative parts to be written into insurance estimates is a significant opportunity for automotive recyclers. Yet, even with the requirements to use a certain amount of recycled auto parts to fulfill monthly insurance quotas, there is much competition in the industry for that targeted percentage of business.
Empowerment through partnership
Harnessing the power of synergetic relationships with the collision repair industry is a strong focus for members and leaders of the ARA and those in the elite Certified Automotive Recycler (CAR) and Gold Seal certification programs.
“When auto recyclers develop positive relationships with collision repair partners, business is a win-win for both – for many reasons. Ultimately, the consumer wins as well, through cost-effective solutions to car repairs and the environmental stewardship benefit that Green Recycled Parts® provide,” says Michael Wilson, ARA CEO.
“We want to build unified strategic efforts with leaders in the collision repair industry, especially with the rise and implementation of collision avoidance systems and autonomous vehicles,” says Wilson. “It is critical that repairers and automotive recyclers work together to ensure consumers have a right to the economic and environmental benefits of recycled OEM parts. Barriers and obstacles to recycled OEM parts reutilization must be eliminated, so that consumers who need repairs are able to get what they need quickly and efficiently, and still at an affordable price.”
One of ARA’s significant industry achievements to streamline processes was the creation of a unified standard and description of recycled auto parts. It acknowledged that all parties that are estimating, listing, selling, buying and installing recycled auto parts needed a common language represented by this standard. The old variances in language from company to company and industry to industry made it very hard to meet increasing customer expectations.
The ARA Recycled Parts Standards & Codes, developed within the ARA Interchange Committee in collaboration with parties interested in recycled automotive parts, interchange standards and recycling, and with direction from the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association, was officially approved in 1998. Now there is a way for quick and accurate communication about recycled auto parts. Support materials that followed the standard include the ARA Code of Ethics, Damage Locator for all standard car parts, ARA Wheel Grading Protocol, Airbag Protocol and ARA Parts Definition Standards.
Fast-forward to today, ARA has come a long way and now it is included in all parts search databases, and is representative of the way automotive recyclers describe their parts online. This example demonstrates how ARA proactively united to help the collision repair industry in efficiency.
The new used
Several years ago, ARA saw the opportunity to rebrand “used” auto parts to represent the truth about them. As collision repairers know, automotive recycling businesses are guided by the strictest environmental and professional regulations that are often intrusive to doing business. Yet, they prevail to become premier businesses in their communities.
As the oldest recycling industry in the world, professional automotive recyclers wanted to show consumers, regulators, politicians and industry partners the real value of recycled OEM auto parts as a $22 billion earth-friendly industry. Building upon the program’s momentum initiated by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, ARA developed the Green Recycled Parts® (GRP) brand that has now gone global as a registered trademark and the embodiment of recycled auto parts.
Why do collision repairers need to know about this? The GRP brand provides your customer assurance about “used” auto parts in a repair. Customer service teams can emphasize the smart environmental solution of Green Recycled Parts®, along with related cost-savings – and even with warranties, just as any other parts in the repair. After all, the consumer’s vehicle is already full of used parts; once off the new car lot, a vehicle is considered used. There is nothing different about Green Recycled Parts® than what they already have in their car, except that these parts have been inspected, cleaned and shipped with care to the collision repairer.
Gold Seal & Certified Auto Recyclers
ARA offers two member programs that certify efforts in environmental compliance, safety, customer service and more.
The ARA Gold Seal program, available only to those ARA members who have completed Certified Automotive Recycler (CAR) certification, ensures excellence in customer satisfaction through improved customer service, quality parts with accurate descriptions, reliable on-time deliveries and written product warranties. The program leads the automotive recycling industry by creating an environment dedicated to outstanding customer service. Gold Seal customer service goals are based on the highest professional and ethical business practices established and adhered to by “Best in Class” recyclers.
Feedback received through customer service inquiries, business analysis and adherence to Gold Seal standards demonstrate that a Gold Seal member’s performance continues to meet or exceed the expectations of their customers.
Established by ARA and with the Automotive Service Association’s support when it was launched, the program allows recyclers to join forces to take a proactive stance to improve quality and increase customer satisfaction.
The CAR program was created to produce a set of standards for general business practices, as well as environmental and safety issues, and to provide guidance for member facilities in adhering to these standards. This program is one of the cornerstones of the ARA as the facilities participating strive to provide quality service and parts for the professional automotive recycling industry.
As you build relationships with professional automotive recyclers, consider companies with these certifications to be among the cutting-edge.
Work together better
Eric Shulz, AAA Auto Salvage Inc., a full-service auto recycler in Rosemount, Minn., and a Gold Seal ARA member, says relationships with his collision repair partners have improved as he and his team strive for excellence. “Roughly 65 percent of our business is collision-related,” says Shulz. AAA Auto Salvage is a participant in the CAR, Gold Seal and Green Recycled Parts® programs. Shulz also serves as chairman of the ARA Gold Seal Committee.
“The CAR program is what pushed us along the right path for safety and environmental compliance. It builds a solid foundation so that you can work on creating an excellent customer experience, too. Gold Seal is all about making sure your customers are completely satisfied with no surprises on delivery. Gold Seal, while holding the auto recycler accountable to their customers through tools like the CSI program, is really about creating a service and quality culture within your organization.
“The GRP program is a great tool to help auto recyclers portray their parts in a little different light. I can’t tell you how many times I had someone at our facility say, ‘This isn’t anything like what my dad used to bring me to when I was a kid.’ That statement being said by someone in their 40s or 50s says to me that there is still room for improving our image,” says Shulz.
Positioned for partnership
“Leadership, productive business relationships, strong values and forward-thinking management teams are the qualities that will propel the automotive recycling business into the future,” says Ed MacDonald, ARA president. “Now, more than ever, it is the product quality, professional service and dedication to the client that will be the defining factors of success in business. And as an industry, we are certainly dedicated in serving our collision repair partners.”
The more both industries communicate their needs, the better business will be for both. “A mutual understanding of each other’s industries can go a long way to improving communications and meeting customer expectations. Training collaboration undoubtedly results in industry educational training tools,” says Virgina Whelan, executive director of the ARA Educational Foundation and founder of the ARA University. The ARA University platform provides more than 6,000 automotive recycling employees with education and training for increased job performance.
“Ultimately,” says Wilson, “professional automotive recyclers want to ensure an efficient vehicle repair process for the consumer and are committed to continue to build successful business models for the future of both industries.”
Reaffirming Green Recycled Parts® Use
Key reasons to be proud to use recycled OEM auto parts provided by professional automotive recyclers are:
• Cost-effectiveness of Green Recycled Parts®
• Environmental benefit (for use in marketing and customer communications)
• Industry dedication to timeliness of delivery parts from door to door
• Delivery of parts as promised, with accurate descriptions
• Certified Automotive Recyclers and Gold Seal companies as Best-in-Class providers of Green Recycled Parts® bring peace of mind and certified customer service experiences to the table. For information on CAR and Gold Seal programs, visit http://www.a-r-a.org/content.asp?contentid=755.