ABC Auto Parts, a fourth-generation business that opened in 1936, continues to flourish today under the experienced leadership of the Watson family—Jim Jr./Scrap; Jim III/General Manager; Mary Anne/CFO; Joseph/Business Development; Megan/Buyer; and Michael/Sales. Additionally, ABC employs more than 40 staff members including six salespeople.
Jim Watson III is an ARA and Auto & Truck Recyclers of Illinois (ATRI) past president and is currently a board member of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASPI). He also serves on the advisory board for the automotive Technology Department of Prairie State College. Joseph Watson is an ATRI past president and is still active on the board of directors.
With seven dismantling bays, the facility focuses primarily on vehicles that are three to eight years in age. They are Gold Seal certified, Illinois Green Car and ASE Parts Specialists.
Their commitment to high-quality, customer-centered standards has made ABC an exceptional fit with the Team PRP organization. As their brochure states, “We recognized that Team PRP members were the leading auto recyclers in the nation and we wanted them to be both our customers and vendors. What better way to grow than to embrace the highest level of performance and you have our commitment that we will exceed Team PRP’s guidelines at every level of our organization.”
Prompted, in part, by the new Team PRP Operations Guide, ABC decided to revamp their quality assurance program, upgrading from a 3-step quality control process to a 5-step quality assurance process. “The difference is that quality control focuses on the specific part being worked on or shipped. It is good because the part is inspected or tested three times to make sure it meets standards,” confirmed Avi Pelc, Team PRP Projects Consultant. “By comparison, a Quality Assurance program is process-focused by placing the responsibility for ensuring that the part is good on anyone and everyone from the moment the vehicle is purchased and inventoried to the point where the part is delivered.”
Specifically, the 5-steps of this process are, (1) Part condition, vehicle options and interchange are confirmed when inventorying, (2) Dismantler checks to make sure the part meets OE performance standards and then verifies the part ID to application, (3) Parts are checked again for flaws before being cleaned and imaged, (4) Every part’s condition is confirmed before being put in storage and, (5) Shipping and receiving inspects and images every part before packaging to make sure it is as described and verifies that part requested is the part that ships.
Located just 20 minutes south of downtown Chicago, ABC Auto Parts is considered one of the largest automotive recycling companies in the state of Illinois. Their business has long been recognized as an industry leader in automotive recycling.
Northwest Auto Parts, founded in 1955, was purchased in 1981 by Chuck Ossenkop. Unlike many automotive recycling business histories, Ossenkop had not been raised within a family recycling business; instead, he purchased this relatively small facility as a potentially promising opportunity to develop his own business.
In time, Ossenkop’s three sons joined with the company, making it a true family, full-service business which boasts state-of-the-art equipment, processing approximately 850 late model vehicles per year. Their facility is considered the leading “green” auto parts supplier in Alaska.
To secure future facility needs, the business has more recently purchased a one-acre lot and 6,500-square-foot building contiguous to their 15-acre property, completed an arduous process of re-zoning 5 acres of land contiguous to their property, and built a 2,400-square-foot building for engine storage.
Additionally, Northwest has continued to develop their core sales program with the help of the URG’s Reman Program. (In previous years, this was a profit center they struggled to find markets for due to our geographic location.) They are also exploring eBay sales by developing a program and assigning a dedicated employee to that effort.
The Ossenkop family is strongly committed to excellence and has achieved the highest environmental certification levels. They are also proud to be active community members involved in numerous local charitable associations.
Carolina Salvage, located in Rock Hill, SC, brings the knowledge and expertise of three generations of auto recycling experience to their customers and fellow recyclers. Since 1931, the Morris family has been a leader in automotive recycling services in South Carolina and the local region.
Owner, Neil Morris, is at the helm of the ever-expanding, full-service 37-acre facility, which is located 20 miles south of Charlotte, NC. Carolina further includes a scrap metal recycling business and a state-of-the-art U-Pull-It location.
Neil Morris was initially a silent partner at the facility; however, his business partner passed away unexpectedly in 2014 and Neil then made the decision to step in to lead the day-to-day operations.
John Grant, Carolina’s general manager since 2013—as well as Neil’s childhood friend—also brought a great wealth of experience, having worked many years in the collision repair industry. John is credited with streamlining many processes and procedures at Carolina, while at the same time, implementing greater efficiency throughout the organization.
Both have been strongly committed to updating and upgrading their entire operation at every level. Over the past three years, the average age of vehicles purchased has steadily been upgraded from about 14 years old to just over 9.5, and the number of vehicles purchased for parts sales has also increased.
Their four-step Quality Control procedures insure that parts are thoroughly checked prior to actual shipping. Great care is taken to follow industry best practices, providing high-quality parts at competitive pricing. The net result is greater acceptance of their parts in their market with steady revenue increases, and the share of wholesale sales increasing from about 60% to over 70% now.
Carolina nurtures a true culture of professionalism in which all employees work together harmoniously as a team. Each person is cross-trained and, therefore, knowledgeable about each aspect of their business, and this approach assists in improving part quality and service. They have also strengthened the experience of their staff by adding James McManus in sales with 35 years’ experience in auto recycling and Todd Bangert with over 20 years’ experience in administration and finance.
Having joined Team PRP, Carolina now is a full participant in the Team PRP trailer program, placing them within one-day of the core of Team PRP’s Mid-Atlantic members. The shipping/receiving area utilizes the latest technology to expedite incoming and outgoing packages. The final of the four-step quality assurance program is a final quality check in shipping and receiving to ensure that parts going out meet strict quality criteria.
The sales team consists of a sales manager and five salesmen, all of whom are knowledgeable in used auto and truck parts sales. In fact, every salesperson receives ongoing, bi-annual offsite training with Mike Kunkel and Bill Stevens of Profit Team
Involvement with a Counts Consulting group has been an integral part of their flourishing business. “Carolina Salvage has undergone a lot of changes over the last few years,” commented Chad Counts, consultant and co-owner of Counts Consulting. “They have been working very hard to overhaul the staff and the processes to prepare themselves to be of greater benefit to the Team PRP network, as well as to take advantage of the benefits afforded by Team PRP.”
Carolina Salvage is a member of ARA, the Carolina Auto Recyclers Association (CAR), URG, and iPART (a southern-based parts trading group).
Even though Carolina has been a member of Team PRP for only a couple of months, they benefit from years of trading with fellow Team PRP members, and new relationships are helping improve trade between them and the rest of Team PRP. Here are some comments from fellow Team PRP members:
Carolina Salvage has come a long way toward becoming a force with in our industry. They are founding and active member of IPART (Independent Professional Auto Recycling Team), a localized trading group. That being said, they understand the concept and advantages of doing business with in a trading group. They have a seasoned sales staff and their parts arrive on time and in the condition expected. Any issues that may arise from our day-to-day dealings are easily and professionally handled. Overall, doing business with Carolina Salvage has been a positive experience. – Dale Bevell, President, Wayne Auto Salvage, Inc.
Carolina Salvage has been a great addition to PRP. They have great communication and process orders in a timely manner!
– Andrew Maziasz, Knox Auto Parts
Carolina Salvage has been really helpful and nice. Every time I call, they are always professional…. They also have good prices and are willing to work with me if I need to adjust the price on a part. When I hit them up with repair time, they are quick on emailing credits—they are just ready to move forward. Great people and great company! – Alex Velasquez, Knox Auto Parts
I think they have turned the business around 100% over the past 3 years. They are good guys doing all the right things. They will be a great benefit to Team PRP. – Don Gravely, Gravely Auto Parts
Metro Auto Salvage, Inc in Lakeville, MN
Owners: Rick Lemke
How many acres do you occupy? Eight acres with a 24,240-square-foot warehouse
Number of vehicles process annually: N/A
Number of dismantling bays: N/A
Number of employees: 15
Company history: Family-owned business since 1973
How long have you been a Team PRP member? N/A
Industry affiliations: URG, ARA, ARM and AASP
What’s special about your company? Metro specializes in late model cars, minivans, crossovers, SUVs, 4x4s, and trucks
YouTube Video: Check out our company video.
Pete’s Auto & Truck Parts, Inc in Jenison, MI
Owners: Amber Kendrick
How many acres do you occupy? 8 acres for main site; 1 acre for sales office and warehouses. (The original building from the 1950s is now a dismantling operation with 2 bays. Our office/shipping and receiving building, and another dismantling building with 4 bays, are at the main location. Across the street and around the corner is where 4 of our 5 salespeople have their offices, and we have 3 warehouses.)
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately 2400
Number of dismantling bays: 6
Number of employees: Sales—5 (soon to be 6); Production—6 dismantlers, 1 loader operator, 1 crusher, 1 wh stocker, 2 parts pullers, 5 shippers; Other—4 delivery drivers, 3.5 managers, 1 inventory, 1.5 purchasing, 2 office, and 1 Pete Elenbaas, head of common sense, weed killing, copper harvesting and extraordinary projects
Company history: Third generation business, started in 1956.
How long have you been a Team PRP member? Nine years. We were in the original “Midwest Automotive Group” that started the runner service in Michigan/Illinois/Ohio/Kentucky. Then Pete’s helped create the “Heartland PRP” group, which was eventually folded into the larger regional group.
Industry affiliations: ARA, Auto Recyclers of Michigan
What’s special about your company? At Pete’s, our incredible team is what sets us apart. We have a great mix of experienced veterans and fresh new perspectives! Valuing each and every position in our company, we seek out people that are a great fit for their specific job and love what they do. Our four-person management team is very close—we each run our own departments, but converge for weekly meetings to set goals and evaluate performance. Pete’s has been a “supply” yard for decades; our best customers are recyclers and we treat them that way. We strive to keep yard lead times at 4 hours or less, and dismantle at 24 hours or less, so we can pull parts quickly and get them on the runner or other trucks quickly—time is money!
Benzeen Auto Parts in Rancho Cordova, CA
Owners: George Trunyan, CEO
How many acres do you occupy? Approximately 2.5 acres including yard and office space.
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately Approximately “450 and counting!”
Number of dismantling bays: 5
Number of employees: 7 in Sales; 19 in Production; Delivery drivers/others—coming soon
Company history: Business started in 2010
How long have you been a Team PRP member? Just over one year as of December 2015
Industry affiliations: BBB (Accredited with A+ Rating); ARA; State of California Auto Dismantlers Association (SCADA); URG
What’s special about your company?“We have excelled in the auto parts category for many years now, but we haven’t limited ourselves to just that. Benzeen Auto Parts, formerly TLS, focuses on customer service and quality OEM parts with the same priority. This is just one of many things that differentiate us from the rest of the industry. We have expanded to offer parts for BMW, MERCEDES-BENZ, AUDI, LAND ROVER, PORSCHE, TOYOTA AND LEXUS, making Benzeen more than just a new name…. We are constantly finding new ways to provide our customers with more, which is what makes us stand out from the rest of the industry.”
United Auto Recyclers in Omaha, Nebraska
Owners: David and Anne Hansen
How many acres do you occupy? 24 acres — United Auto has 8 warehouse with over 50,000 square feet of part storage and over 1,500 cars in stock at all times.
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately 2,900
Number of dismantling bays: 10
Number of employees: 11 in Sales; 21 in Production; 10 Delivery drivers/others
Company history: Second generation business started in 1977
How long have you been a Team PRP member? About 20 years
Industry affiliations: URG, ARA, ARI-NE
What’s special about your company?“United Auto Recyclers has been family owned and operated since 1977. We our continuously changing our facilities and processes to meet the industry’s ever changing needs. Our goal is to process more vehicles and quality parts efficiently to meet our customers’ needs in a timely fashion.”
aaa Auto Parts in Minnesota
Owners: Chris Anderson, Pete Anderson, and Amy Schulz
How many acres do you occupy? 60 acres on 2 sites (headquarters in Rosemount, MN with 2nd location in East Bethel, MN)
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately 1500
Number of dismantling bays: 6
Number of employees: 8 in Sales; 9 inside and 5 outside in Production; 7 drivers; 1 QC; 3 warehouse; 3 shipping and receiving LTL freight and common carriers
Company history: Business began in 1983. aaa auto parts is located just outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and has been in business for 33 years. Jerry Anderson founded aaa Auto Salvage in 1983 with a few vehicles left over from his father’s auto body repair shop (Phil’s Auto Body). In 2008; Jerry’s son Pete Anderson, his daughter Amy Schulz, along with Jerry’s nephew Chris Anderson, took over, modified the name slightly to aaa auto parts, and began our second generation of ownership. aaa is the sales outlet for reconditioned wheels produced by the A-Condition Wheel Company. ACW reconditions aluminum wheels on site at our Rosemount facility.
How long have you been a Team PRP member? 24 months in February
Industry affiliations: URG, ARA, ARM
What’s special about your company?“Our Minnesota winters! The cold and snow not only brings us a busy crash season, but difficult working conditions for our staff. We believe that we have a great staff that works hard and efficiently in each of the four seasons in Minnesota. When the temperature range can be -50*F in the winters to 100*F in our humid summers, they do their best to keep our growing family business a viable workplace for 53 employees and counting. A quality recycled part is ‘accurately described, not perfect.’ We strive to deliver those quality recycled parts to all of our customers. We are in our Team PRP infancy and have experienced nothing but outstanding benefits since joining PRP in February 2015! Thanks to all the members for the support and business relationships you have provided.”
Automotive Parts Solutions in St. Cloud, MN
Owners: Aaron Miller and Jason Miller
How many acres do you occupy? 15 acres
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately 1200
Number of dismantling bays: 3
Number of employees: 5 in Sales; 10 in Production; 4 Delivery drivers/others
Company history: Business began in 1999
How long have you been a Team PRP member? 10 years
Industry affiliations: URG, ARA, RPEP, ARM
What’s special about your company? “We excel at providing quality parts on time, as promised. Our customers can depend on us for consistent quality, professionalism and service. We ship over 50% of our parts, nationwide, mechanical, sheet metal or glass we can get it to you as described and on time. We were one of the first URG 8000 Certified auto recyclers in the United States and have built our organization on these best practices.”
Owners: Joe Bessler
How many acres do you occupy? 14 acres for our full serve; 20 acres for our u-pull operation
Number of vehicles process annually: Approximately 3500
Number of dismantling bays: 12
Number of employees: 11 in Sales; 15 in Production; 28 Delivery drivers/others
Company history: Business began in 1985
How long have you been a Team PRP member? 7 years
Industry affiliations: Joe and Tom Bessler are both past members of the board for Team PRP and John Bessler is a current member of the board. Tom is currently a member of the PRP Training Committee. Both Joe and Tom have both served on the board for URG in the past. Joe has participated with ARA, dealing with governmental regulation, and has been to Washington D.C. on several occasions. John also served as a regional representative for ARA.
What’s special about your company? “Bessler Auto Parts is a family-owned and -operated company, that has always been on the leading edge of change within the auto recycling industry. The Bessler family takes pride in the industry, and our success, within an ever-changing business. Bessler Auto Parts lives by the rule that we trust our partners and customers, and their success is our success. Treat others the way you want to be treated is the Golden Rule, and this is a rule that the Bessler family does their absolute best to live by.”