ASV Euro Car Parts chat with their CEO, Vic Soghomonian to discuss what has changed in 2020 with Covid-19 and how the team at ASV are continuing to service the automotive industry.
Image source: www.asv.com.au
What are you observing about the automotive industry? What are the direct impacts that you are witnessing first hand?
Predominantly there has been a chain reaction in the automotive industry. What we are currently seeing is that a lot of customers and end-users are focusing on essentials and not doing the extras such as upgrading to what is considered premium or luxury add ons or fixes. Understandably, people are more cautious about how they spend their money at a time like this.
An example of this is a customer who came in last week and had damaged the front fender. He wasn’t worried about fixing the superficial damage. He purchased the headlight for safety which cost him about $250. Ordinarily, a customer like this would more than likely spend $400 to fix the guard as well. People want to spend only what they have to.
But equally, we are finding that the customers who do come to our branch for a spare part are buying rather than shopping around and then returning for the best-priced part. In this climate, if 20 people walk in, 18 walk out with a part. Previously, only about 65% people would buy during that first visit.
Genuine customers are still buying car parts. There is still a need to keep cars serviced and running.
Of course, we have also noticed that because there are a lot less cars on the roads, there are a lot less accidents and incidents. Panel beaters are quieter so less parts are required for repairs. This is great news for insurers as they will be paying out a lot less in claims. It would be great to see these savings passed on to customers from the insurance companies.
Supply chains for car parts across the world have been impacted by Covid-19. How has ASV been able to ensure stock of parts for customers?
We have national branches, sufficiently stocked up and we have good reserves. Most other auto recyclers wouldn’t have the stock levels that we have. They operate on brokering parts through the auto recycling software program Pinnacle after the order has been placed. But at ASV we have all of the parts in stock on hand as well as access to Pinnacle should it be required.
This means that the ASV prices can be more affordable than our competitors as we have the part in stock and we have it available without sourcing it through Pinnacle from another auto recycler.
To ensure our stock levels for our customers here in Australia remain, we have paused exporting at large volumes. We want to keep our high-quality parts here, available for our Australian market.
You mentioned you are working on a solution for customers who need to get their car serviced but cannot safely leave their house or are reluctant to let someone else drive their car? Can you tell us more about that now?
Yes. We are proud to be innovating. We are Australian and innovation is what we do. We are excited to announce that we have just bought a brand new, large flatbed truck to offer our customers the best possible service and experience.
We can now offer free pick up and drop off from our service centres for our customers. No one will sit in your car or drive your car. The car can be driven straight onto the flatbed and then taken to get the work completed and then returned.
We want to offer our customers that extra service. No one else will sit in your car, no one will drive your car. It is safe for everyone.
What else has ASV done to adapt to the changes brought on from Covid-19?
We have asked all of our staff to be prepared to adapt and pick up where we might ordinarily have hired someone for that role, e.g. we have not replaced our forklift driver who recently retired. Instead, our qualified staff with their forklift licence have been asked to pick up this task in shifts, even if driving isn’t one of their normal day to day tasks.
We have increased our logistics to ensure that we can safely and quickly deliver parts to our customers across the country. It’s all about speed and reliability at the moment, we get it and want our customers to know that this is our highest priority.
As an essential service, where a lot of staff still need to be on-site and cannot work from home, what have you implemented across the business to ensure the safety of your staff and customers?
First and foremost our staff, their families and our customers’ health and wellbeing is our priority.
We offer a contactless delivery to all of our customers, and as above, we can now pick up and collect your vehicles without having to drive them.
While we have also set up as many staff as possible to work from home, in the branches, we are of course all practising social distancing. All of our branches and delivery vehicles are equipped with sanitizer and cleaning products. We have also increased our cleaning in our branches with more frequent cleans.