Auto Recycling World speaks to Michelle Paris Hermann, Manager of an SME specializing in automotive recycling at Paris Recyclage Automobile, in France, about her company’s history and operation, the challenges of the industry and the benefits of being part of a union.
A bit of company history
Paris Recyclage Automobile was created in 1977, the year of my birth, by my father.
As a child, I played in the hulks, and as a teenager, I drove around the company for hours. As the Druid of Asterix and Obelix would say (heroes of a well-known comic book in France): I “fell into it” when I was little!
However, working in the company has never been obvious to me. In 1999, my father needed a secretary for a temporary job; I went there swearing to myself that it would ONLY be for six months, and I’m still there!
Because, to sum up, it is a job in which you never get bored.
At the end of the 2000s, my little brother joined us, and in 2009, we bought the company.
The Paris Recyclage Automobile operation
The recycling activity is doing well, prices are high, and we have invested in a press and a shovel. Our latest turnover has increased by 7%.
- 22% of the turnover concerns the recycling of the material (= scrap metal)
- 5% renovation (reconditioning) for external markets
- 8% local mechanics
- 36% of the resale of vehicles to professionals
- 17% online sales
- 12% on counter sales for local customers
However, we must not forget to look further; the regulatory changes are coming by 2024 and will impact our supplies, not to mention the efforts to be made to adapt to the treatment of hybrid and electric vehicles which are put forward on the French market.
As I said a little earlier: you never get bored.
The major challenge of the profession is the necessity to adapt; over the past ten years, I would say that the main challenge has been the digital shift in online sales. And currently, the shift toward hybrid and electric vehicles still requires technical adaptations in our companies.
The problem that arises in the short term concerns the cost of transporting the parts: these are often bulky items, but transport professionals apply a rate in relation to the volume of the packages and not in relation to the weight of the package. This will significantly increase the costs and therefore slow down the sales that are unfolding.
Before COVID-19, they were less demanding.
I got involved in my union, MOBILIANS (ex CNPA), because I want to be as close as possible to information and benefit from the relationship that this induces; we have been a member since the 1980s; it’s imprinted in my DNA!
The advantages of being a member of Mobilians
It seems impossible to me to practice a profession seriously without being supervised and guided by a professional union: to be an entrepreneur today in France, you have to be able to multi-task: financial director, human resources director, commercial, Community manager, and more.
They are there to help us understand legislation, defend us if necessary and give us the keys to make decisions last; The union is an essential support for the entrepreneur.
By getting involved in my union, I am more aware of the news (I think you will have understood that I am quite curious by nature), and this allows me to have contact with my counterparts, which is a source of both personal and professional enrichment.
And sometimes, getting out of your business allows you to gain height and realize that, ultimately, there is nothing to complain about.