Auto Recycling World recently caught up with the Automotive Recyclers Association’s Executive Director, Sandy Blalock, discusses the potential effects on the auto recycling industry from post-COVID, the cost of living crisis, parts supply issues and the uptake of EVs.
Sandy, COVID is in our rearview mirror; the supply chain issue continues, and a cost of living crisis is looming. What changes have these factors, if any, brought to the auto recycling industry?
All of these factors will affect auto recyclers, not only in their daily businesses but long term. We all know that supply chain issues have been good for the professional automotive recycler who was ready to step in and fill those shortages with quality and affordable parts and components. Auto recyclers must continue to improve the quality of parts they resell in order to maintain a high level of confidence in our ability to fulfil orders and meet the needs of our customers.
The cost of living increases is usually good for our industry as people have less to spend, they look for sales and deals that we can give them.
At the recent ATF Professional conference in the UK, ‘collaboration’ was the word that resounded with many of the presenters. Do you see this happening in the US? Are current and recent events making many of those in the automobile industry understand the value of auto recycling? And are you seeing more opportunities to engage with them?
Collaboration will be essential in moving forward as we will need to work with others to ensure we have access to assure our industry has a competitive edge in today’s rapidly changing marketplace by expanding market opportunities, acquiring exclusive business intelligence, removing market barriers, building supply chain connections, and harnessing innovation.
Are we at a moment where it is a time to shine?
We have been in that moment to shine for the last two years, and we need to make sure that everything we learned does not go to waste by slipping back into bad habits when business, as usual, comes back. Those that stepped up to fill the shortages and did it in a highly professional manner will continue to grow and prosper. Recyclers know what they must do, and it will take time and investment in our businesses to continue to grow and maintain all that we have gained since 2020.
With many positives surrounding the industry and its importance coming to the fore, as auto recyclers, what is paramount to maintaining this momentum and ensuring those they are engaging with feel confident to interact with the industry?
Continue to shine, and don’t fall back into bad habits. Engage with others who are as motivated as you to collaborate in the best interests of our industry as well as the customers we serve. Never stop learning because growth will stop at that point in time. We are evolving as an industry faster than ever before. Rely on your associations and groups to keep you up to date on education and resources.
Over the coming years, electric vehicles will become more prevalent; what conversations are you currently having to ensure auto recyclers attain their role when it comes to recycling these vehicles?
We are engaged with anybody and everybody in the EV space from the OEMs, battery recyclers and businesses in the repurpose and reman markets, I-CAR, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NAATBatt, several National Labs, Suppliers Partnership for the environment and others, as they emerge into the market space.
We are most concerned with making sure that auto recyclers have education, information and resources readily available to them.