Global Ideas, Local Execution

Global Ideas, Local Execution
IRT events provide a unique, valuable and global perspective. (Photo: Steve Fletcher)

How different concepts from different countries can be beneficial to your business.

In May, I had the opportunity to be a part of the International Round Table (IRT) on Auto Recycling in Wymondham, Norfolk, UK.

Before the actual event got underway, we had a chance to get to know each other through a cocktail reception, breakfast and also an excursion where we got to visit local recyclers and see how they operate as well as some of the challenges and opportunities they face.

Better interaction

The benefit of these social gatherings is that when the roundtable starts, the group tends to be more comfortable when it comes to asking questions and interacting with each other.

And by visiting a facility and listening to a variety of speakers from the UK, attendees were able to get a good feel about what is currently happening in Britain and if any of these ideas or initiatives can be applied to the industry back here in North America.

In the UK, a major development has been the introduction of an illegal auto recycler awareness/compliance plan in which the recycling industry is working directly with Ebay, the Ministry of the Environment and local municipalities. The aim is to create a new set of standards about defining what a recycler is and how to enforce these rules.

Proactive approach

The UK is really taking a proactive approach with this and has a full-court press in terms of identifying illegal operations and over there, Ebay will not allow recyclers to upload or list used vehicle parts—not even to a category—unless each listing also includes the licence number of the business.

That’s a huge step, and it’s something we would like to explore here in Canada. Initiatives like this have the ability to break down barriers and create an environment of cooperation and collaboration where different sectors are able to work together and create something that benefits not just our industry but the circular economy as a whole.

In Australia, a model has been developed in which auto recyclers, collision repairers and insurers work together to help ensure that more total loss vehicles are able to get into the hands of recyclers, so collision repairers and insurers have better access to replacement parts and putting metrics in place to measure it all.

Both the Australian and UK examples serve to not only illustrate the impact that collaboration between different stakeholders can have but also that great ideas and strategies can be found the world over.

Looking outward

Sometimes it can be very easy to get caught up in what is only happening in your own backyard and not see how perhaps something initiated across the other side of the globe can be applied to your own market.

In some cases, other countries or regions might be four, five or even 10 years ahead of you in terms of certain operational aspects and legislative requirements. This can be hugely beneficial for the recyclers and associations in our own market willing to take them on.

Another key takeaway from these IRT meetings is that besides looking at different practices in different parts of the world and forging stronger relationships, being able to translate ideas into action is where the real benefits can be realized, so by the time we hold the next IRT meeting we’re able to see tangible results. Even if the steps may seem small from one meeting to the next, over time, if well-executed, they can gather considerable momentum. Something initiated this year could therefore have a major impact five to 10 years down the road.

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