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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Green Parts - Claims Canada Magazine

At a recent Breakfast Summit on Recycled Parts held in Toronto, three key stakeholder groups – recyclers, insurers and repairers – came together to discuss areas of mutual concern and mutual opportunities. The Summit started an inter-industry dialogue that will begin to pay dividends for the stakeholders, and more importantly for the motoring public and the environment.

Total-loss vehicle claims are a lose-lose situation for everybody involved. They can result in higher claims payouts for the insurer and lost business for the collision repair industry. And it has been shown time and time again that policyholder satisfaction declines when their car is totaled. As these totals continue to rise at an alarming rate, it’s in everyone’s best interest to reverse the trend. Now, more than ever, recycled parts can have a greater role to play in saving a vehicle, and getting it repaired.

Re-using quality vehicle parts is also the ultimate environmental choice. No other product on earth is recycled more than an automobile. Not only does it keep a flood of dangerous toxins from being released into our ground, air and water, it prevents unnecessary use of valuable landfill. Re-using parts also reduces the need for new products to be manufactured and that saves energy and resources and reduces harmful emissions that result from the manufacturing process.

By incorporating more recycled parts into your repair plans, you’ll support a recycling industry that reclaims over 12 million vehicles across North America annually. It’s incumbent on every industry to be responsible stewards of the earth, ensuring a sustainable future for all of us.

But putting a greater focus on recycled parts is more than simply being a good corporate citizen or meeting KPI targets. It’s a smart business decision. By significantly reducing the cost of parts, we should all see a drop in the number of write-offs and non-repaired vehicles.

‘Like, Kind, Quality’ Assurance
One clear advantage of using recycled parts over aftermarket parts is the perfect fit. It is unmatched because you’re getting the original OEM parts made specifically for the year, make and model of that vehicle. That means the original specifications and the right performance.

Today’s reputable auto recyclers ensure there are no unpleasant surprises when you’re ordering recycled parts and do their best to make the process easy and efficient.

During dismantling, every part is inspected and only those that meet strict guidelines and tolerances are offered for resale. Mechanical parts are tested to ensure they’re in proper working condition.

When each component is dismantled for re-use, it is assigned an industry-wide interchange number that identifies which vehicle, model and type it fits. The part is then tagged with a bar code or inventory number, and then entered into a computerized inventory management system. With the click of a mouse, recyclers know what they have in stock and where it's warehoused so they can locate it in seconds. A sophisticated parts locator network connects the inventory data of hundreds of auto recyclers across the country, so if your local recycler doesn’t have the part you need, they will know where to get it.

Body panels and mechanical parts are carefully graded, using a standard set of codes that tells you the condition of the part in detail, including the mileage of the vehicle it came from and a description of any minor damage that might be present. These standards, developed by the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) have been adopted on an international scale and are built in to the inventory systems of all recyclers. Standard cut line diagrams and inclusions in part assemblies help clarify what you are getting when you order. You’ll know exactly what to expect before it arrives at the shop so there are no delays in getting the repair out the door.

As an industry, recyclers are working toward greater detail and uniformity in descriptive language and the addition of 3D imaging in their inventory databases as well as improvements to online ordering tools to make procuring recycled parts as easy as other alternatives going forward.

Auto recyclers also play a key role in the responsible disposition of salvaged vehicles, which in turn creates the inventory of parts to make available to insurers and repairers – a full circle of service that is beneficial to all.

Use Your Local Recycler As A Valuable Resource
While it’s relatively easy to source parts online, the adjusters who have had the most success using more recycled parts have typically forged strategic relationships with a few key parts advisors at their best local recyclers. Not only do these people make it simple, fast and painless to source and order the exact recycled part that’s right for any vehicle; they lend their knowledge and expertise as a broader resource. With a quick phone call, they can go far beyond merely filling an order for parts, and provide advice on all of the collateral parts you might need to go with it to complete your repair plan, many you might not have considered. Using recycled trim kits, door assemblies, radiators, mechanical parts, glass, window motors, light assemblies etc. can often make the difference between a viable repair and a total loss.

The Greening of the Consumer 

In days gone by, many consumers would be reluctant to use “salvage” parts in their repairs. In order to address the issue, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and their various provincial associations embarked on a significant consumer-focused marketing campaign to re-brand used parts as “Recycled Green Parts”, clearly communicating both the environmental and economic benefits to the general public. In addition, ARC has been instrumental in encouraging, and now mandating, the use of the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers, developed with Environment Canada.

This increased brand awareness and dramatic improvement in environmental operations, combined with a fundamental societal shift in “green” consumer behavior has made the use of “Green Parts” not only palatable to most, but desirable. These days, not only do people appreciate being offered a greener alternative in everything they purchase... they expect it. And when they’re rewarded with lower costs and fewer total losses, the payback in customer loyalty can be astounding.

You can find a certified auto recycler near you by accessing the Member roster on the ARC web site at

by Steven Fletcher, Managing Director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC)

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