Bart Ebben, Owner Director of BartEbben, a worldwide salvage car parts supplier, specialising in Citroen, DS, Peugeot cars and vans and based in the Netherlands, tells us about the history of his company and how his drive and passion for vehicle recycling has kept the business going strong 40 years on
The Early Days
“Who says BartEbben?” says Bart Ebben. Maybe this sounds strange, but more than 40 years ago, Bart Ebben Sr. turned his passion for Citroën into a company – BartEbben.
Even today, his passion, experience and skills flow into the company and the veins of his colleagues – At BartEbben, they love their work!
“The main focus is to bring back as many used parts as possible into our economy. For over 35 years BartEbben has been a member of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and was also one of the very first to develop a strategy around car dismantling / circular entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. And where the government has only in the last decade discovered the #green deal, at BartEbben this has always been the case – it is business as usual.”
The company started as a Citroën and DS specialist in the small city of Molenhoek, near Nijmegen, close to the German border. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Bart knew one thing: ‘always give 100% service, and you will get returning customers.’ At that time, a circular economy was a green field, but Bart Ebben, as a person, knew times would change since we have only one planet.
Because of the excellent service that BartEbben offered, indeed, more and more customers came back, and new customers came through word of mouth. More staff were employed, and because of this growth, the premises had to be expanded several times.
Peugeot – PSA – Going Digital
With the growing similarities between the Citroen and Peugeot models, Bart Ebben saw a new business opportunity. In the early nineties, the company began to take on Peugeot parts, and his visionary view paid off.
The company expanded further year by year, and more colleagues were employed. During this time, the auto recycling and the trading in second-hand parts side became much larger than what the workshop could handle. Bart Ebben, as always, an innovative entrepreneur, saw the importance of the first digital initiatives/developments. He started to use a tailor-made software programme to process dismantled parts straight into the BartEbben selling software so that the sales team could see directly on the phone which parts were in stock or on cars to be dismantled.
With the company being so close to the German border and with many (returning) customers from Germany, at the beginning of 1998, BartEbben launched (as one of the first in his industry) a ‘real website’ to increase their customer base globally. From then, BartEbben was available 24/7, but more importantly, many potential visitors from neighbouring Germany and all over the world were able to find him. And again this proved to be another ‘bullseye’ to expand the business further.
With their rapidly expanding business, it was decided to split up the activities and establish two companies: BartEbben Citroen Peugeot Parts and BartEbben Workshop. The brand, BartEbben has been proven to be an honest, innovative, future-oriented and green brand. Therefore, it was decided to keep the name BartEbben in both brands. Today this connection still nourishes the very first thought Bart Ebben had in 1978: ‘always give service when and where you can, and people will come back’.Now the workshop and the car part division often share their clients to provide maximum service.
Bart Sr’s daughter, Carmen, and her husband, Jan, are now running the car dealership with the workshop, and his son, Bart Jr., is running the car part company. Bart Sr said: “In both companies, we have a fantastic team supporting the family values.”
Looking To The Future
With a new generation steering the ship, Bart Ebben Sr is a little less involved in the operations and can spend more time mentoring colleagues and transferring his knowledge.
“For every company, people are always the most important ‘asset’ to make new developments for the future. As the company is expanding, the team of colleagues is increasing. People get new tasks, and new fields in the car dismantling are being developed. For instance, the dismantling of EV cars is becoming more and more important.”
Next to this development, a further digitalisation is being executed: At the end of 2020, a new webshop will be launched which will include a complete digital back-office working environment for the dismantling – sales/marketing department, suppliers & buyers, transport companies, partner companies and other companies in the BartEbben circular dismantling chain.
With the new possible digital channels and communication, more and more international enquiries are being received, not only from clients but also from companies who would like to partner with BartEbben. The company is always looking for new sourcing partners regarding PSA, Citroen and Peugeot car parts and younger cars for dismantling from these brands.
The future is looking bright for BartEbben.
If you would like to know more about BartEbben, please visit www.bartebben.com