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Unveiling Vehicle Recycling Secrets : How Sharing Competitive Advantages Boosts Success

This week's blog discusses whether or not a business benefits from sharing those attributes that help it outperform other businesses within the sector?

In business, your competitive advantage is what separates you from the rest of the field. In many sectors these attributes help you outperform others. Competitive advantage can be a process that helps you do something faster or better, a patented product, your approach to customer service, or a myriad of other factors. However, in making an effort not to reveal or share what you do uniquely or differently, do we stifle the widespread adoption of good practice?

Vault containing the secret Coca-Cola formula in Atlanta

I completely understand why Coca-Cola does not want to give away their competitive advantage. Their formula has been a closely guarded secret since 1891 and sharing the recipe for their uniquely tasting beverage would see their competitors cashing in by producing identical soft drinks that would inevitably undermine Coke's longstanding customer base.

However, the same cannot be said for the vehicle dismantling industry. By uncovering our recycling processes and sharing our secret formula within the wider vehicle recycling community, we are unlikely to damage our bottom line. That's because the challenge is not to win more customers, as there are more than enough to go around. Profits increase when your focus is on maximising productivity, efficiency, customer service and profit, not on keeping secrets. This is rarely achieved without regularly reviewing your current approaches and challenging yourself to see if things can be done better. It requires you to have you finger on the pulse of what's going on within the industry, looking at best practice, what has been tried and tested elsewhere, and deciding whether or not there is value in adopting or integrating other processes.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the challenges experienced across the sector are the same. Whether that be how we control the risk presented by ELV fires, how we integrate EVs into depollution activities, how we use IT to manage our inventory, or how we go about establishing relationships with specialist waste processors. The problems you face today have likely already been overcome by other businesses within the sector. So what's not to gain from reaching out? In fact, widespread best practice adoption across our sector will grow the capability of the sector as a whole.

What's the alternative? We can continue doing things independently, the same way we have always done them. The downside being that it's likely to limit growth - we are never looking to improve beyond what we have already achieved, and what we already know works. However, if we don't broaden our outlook and invite in other ideas or alternative methods, how can we expect to benefit from what has been tried and tested elsewhere? How do we benchmark the effectiveness of what we currently do against what may be done by others, when we are looking for the solution to a problem. And if we are not willing to invite others in to examine how we approach an activity, how do we know that our method is the most effective or efficient?

As they say, there's no such things as a free lunch, so it is likely that in order to learn how others are tackling an issue, you will have to fling the gates open on your own facility, and invite your peers in. They might learn something about your business but you will learn something about theirs. And that's no bad thing. Remember, for every good idea you give up to the competition, you're likely to receive two or more in return. Some people are already embracing this to great affect and reaping the benefits. Trailblazers like Charles Trent and Baxenden Car Breakers use social media to draw attention on car recycling challenges and how they tackle them.

Defining the gold standard within vehicle dismantling

ELV Training was built with adopted best practice in mind. That's why our training syllabus, is the only one to adhere to the National Occupational Standards. NOS provides the gold standard of performance from our sector and represents a consensus view and description of best practice from key stakeholders within the industry including VRA, BMRA and IMI. They are built by the industry for the industry. Unlike Coca-Cola, we are not in the business of protecting a 100 year old formula which defines us as unique. We are in the business of encouraging widespread adoption of best practice in order to work collectively, to safely and compliantly process vehicles that have reached the end of their working life.

So out-perform others within your sector by ensuring your business adopts the only accredited training syllabus built specifically for vehicle dismantling, and ensure that your staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to deliver your competitive advantage in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.



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