And that’s why Team PRP invited Darren Huggins, the Collision Director for the Van Tuyl Auto Group, an organization that operates 37 collision centers located at auto dealerships nationwide. The main question posed to Huggins was “What Do Body Shops Want and Need from Parts Recyclers?” The discussion was moderated by Stacy Bartnik, Team PRP’s executive director and a 24-year veteran of the collision industry.
The purpose of the presentation was to start a dialog between Team PRP’s recyclers and a company that uses a wide range of recycled parts, and that’s why Bartnik was pleased to get Huggins at the organization’s conference. “Darren is straight forward, so I knew we’d get the truth, without a lot of posturing,” Bartnik explained. “By picking his brain and accessing all of his knowledge and experience, our members were able to learn a lot from his perspective. We truly appreciate him taking the time to attend our conference and answer all our questions.”
In brief, Huggins cited the three things every body shop in the country wants from any parts supplier, let alone a recycler. “It comes down to timely delivery, quality and warranty,” Huggins said. “Honest, transparency and follow-through are what we want and expect on each and every order. It comes down to common sense, but to implement these things on a consistent basis, that’s the challenge. It’s all about performance and in the end you’re only as good as your last delivery.”
Honesty and taking responsibility for the entire process from the moment the phone rings to when the part is installed is essential, because every misstep or unfulfilled promise can greatly affect the daily life of a body shop. “Just tell us the facts and don’t mislead us, is all we ask,” Huggins said. “If you don’t have the part—tell us. If your delivery is going to be late—just tell us. If you say three days or less, we expect three days or less. Things come up and we’re aware of that. But, when there’s no communication, that’s when the problems begin.”
Shops are always under the gun and being judged by their insurance partners, so parts that fit the bill and fit the car are more vital than ever, Huggins said. “Cycle times are everything now, so if you’re going to slow me down because I can’t get a particular part when my tech is ready to install it, now we have problems. Customer Service Indexes are gospel now, and if a late delivery is preventing me from doing a good job, it’s not good.”
In the end, Huggins said it’s all about performance and accountability. “Do whatever it takes, because all that matters. Step up and think about the customer first and you’ll get a ton of business from the collision industry. We’re a loyal group, so if you get it done and build a good rapport with us, we’ll look to you for more and more parts. It’s like any vendor-client relationship—trust builds over time and if you can show consistency and establish a good track record—you’re in!”
When it comes to the condition and the overall quality of any part, Huggins said fit and form are paramount. “If you’re sending me a dirty part and I have to clean it, that’s a red flag. If you say it’s going to fit and it doesn’t, there’s another red flag. If we need an entire assembly and not all of the parts (like clips for instance) are there, that’s flag #3. Having the knowledge to know the cars and the parts required is a big deal. Our collision centers work on literally hundreds of different vehicles every month, so the recycler need s to know the parts that they sell and what cars they go on. Our people are very knowledgeable, but in the end it’s on you.”
The Van Tuyl Auto Group purchases recycled parts on many of its repairs and respects the value of an organization such as Team PRP. “We use a ton of recycled parts and we try to source as many as we can,” Huggins said. “We normally get three quotes for parts, comparing the OE vs. the aftermarket vs. the recyclers, and in the end we usually come up with a mix. We’ve built great relationships with Team PRP recyclers over the years and I have firsthand experience working with American Auto Salvage here in Dallas. Team PRP is a world-class organization and we’re happy to be working with them. We’re all about strategic partnerships, because we know we can’t do it all on our own.”
Team PRP was formed when a small group of auto parts recyclers from Texas, Arizona and Minnesota in 2000, for the purpose of strengthening their role in the market and providing a series of warranties and other assurances body shops can take advantage of and benefit from. After starting with just 16 locations, Team PRP now consists of 134 independently-owned recyclers, covering every state in the Union and maintaining a combined inventory of approximately five million parts, with 60 percent consisting of collision parts. Each member of the team has been added over the years by invitation-only, after adhering to a stringent series of requirements and illustrating its ability to follow the group’s precepts.