Gabriel Menezes, Project Manager at ABCAR – the Brazilian Automotive Recyclers Association, looks at how it was in the auto recycling industry in Brazil when he started and how, according to him, aspects of these days remain the same and something that needs to be addressed so that auto recycling in Brazil can become more in line with other countries in the modern ways of recycling, especially when it comes to inventory software.
When I was a kid, I remember chasing a dog between wrecked cars and my father yelling at me, “beware of metal sheets!”. It was a time when oil spills were on the ground, cats lived in engine gears, and on-site toilets only had newspaper instead of toilet paper.
I could say that the Brazilian industry was like that a long time ago, but this is not true. Most of the facilities are now and have been operating similarly for a long time, far from computerised inventory systems, strong online sales, clear intern processes, environmental safety and good sustainable growth.
Since I started working at my father’s yard, I felt the need to change, as that way of working could no longer be viable. At the time, I was a 17-year-old trying to find a better production process for my father’s 30-year-old yard. I tried implementing several improvised inventory solutions, which were meant to be used on aftermarket auto parts stores, but this did not work. There was no specific salvage yard solution available.
Everything changed when I first went to the ARA annual convention, I had contact with car part company guys and an auto parts inventory software company, and I realised that the industry could only improve using specific design technology and equipment.
Since then, I started studying and designing software functionalities that matched Brazilian industry needs. I drew mobile app screens and doodled on a notebook during my industrial engineering university classes. The software needed to have a strong appeal, increase sales, have online integration with marketplaces, financial reports, and good support.
At 20-years-old, I partnered with a programmer, and we founded ‘VAAPT TECHNOLOGY AND CONSULTING FOR SALVAGE YARD’S’ and launched the first version of the software. My father’s yard was the ‘guinea pig’, not only for the software but for process standardisation studies. After several months of work, we came up with a full solution, including software and consulting. We not only had software made for the salvage yard, but we can also provide help and knowledge of how to implement it.
Two years on, we have 150 clients using our software and serving consulting services inside three operations. One of these is the biggest yards in operation in Brazil; with more than 10,000 cars in stock, they employed 20 new personnel to manually insert stock product information (including images and prices) into the system; a new process has been fully implemented. Their cars get fully dismantled, and more than 250 parts are removed, cleaned, photographed in photo booths, priced and put online through their website and through Mercado livre (south America eBay). My company acts on hiring, training, building the right inventory infrastructure, equipment installation and team management for the client.
Our company is growing, and there is still an enormous field to grow with more than 3000 yards in operation in Brazil. We have set our goals for this year, and we are working on it to continue expansion.
The Brazilian auto recycling industry is gaining momentum from a competitive perspective; big companies are moving towards better inventory management, strong online sales via marketplaces and better customer satisfaction. Our work is to improve an industry that, for me, is like a lost gold mine – the more you dig, the more treasures you will find!
If you would like to contact Gabriel, please email him at – firstname.lastname@example.org.