Remanufacturing ‘the highest form of recycling’

Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, workshops. The automotive aftermarket industry is a complex ecosystem in which each actor is called upon to take actions for a more sustainable industry. What are the actions being taken by leading global manufacturers?

Robert Kirr, N! Executive Director Supplier Management, just back from the APRA European Symposium 2021 in Prague, shares his vision and knowledge in an interview for the NEXUS Automotive International blog, IN!SIGHT.

Tell us more about APRA, what is the link with sustainability?

Since 1941, APRA is the only global association that has been representing the interests of automotive remanufacturing companies. The association is composed of almost 600 members worldwide, primarily Tier-1 suppliers and independent remanufacturers, as well as core brokers.

The main core activity of APRA is to promote remanufacturing as an integral part of the circular economy. When talking about sustainability, we need to consider that remanufacturing is the highest form of recycling. APRA is supporting its members by liaising with institutions and companies and guiding the manufacturers supporting their business on this matter.

The symposium (November 30 to December 2) was a great opportunity to better understand the actions taken by APRA over the years and how the industry is reacting to those initiatives.

What was the outcome of the conference?

The speaker panel and the participants at the symposium were diverse and highly competent. There were remanufacturers, service providers and university representatives. All bringing their expertise in different fields: technology, environment, automotive aftermarket business. The challenge is to develop a system in which the environment is at the core of the strategy, without leaving apart all the main challenges our industry is facing but creating synergetic solutions from which anyone can benefit.

Electrification, for instance, is a major trend which is disrupting all the chain of our business. New products and solutions must be developed by the manufacturers and workshops have to adapt to new models. All under the lens of a more sustainable way of producing and distributing, including new ways of re-manufacturing.

It’s tricky and challenging but global manufacturers are ready for this change.

The really difficult part is for mid-sized manufacturing companies, who need more support at all levels.  

As global Executive Director Supplier Management at NEXUS, how do you see the N! Supplier community evolving in this direction?

Certainly, there’s an emergency for our industry and we have to accelerate the pace to see a real change in the way we produce, recycle and distribute spare parts. At the same time, I see more and more suppliers committed to make a real difference in our industry. Both at corporate level and production. At the APRA symposium I had the chance to learn more about actions taken by global manufacturers and I’m proud that these companies are part of the N! Community.

We also had the chance to represent our community during the symposium. NEXUS provided a keynote speech focusing on all the initiatives launched to support sustainability, from our active collaboration with the World Economic Forum on the circular car initiative, to internal corporate policies.

NEXUS is engaged and active in the fight for the climate and we can only benefit from the partnership with those companies and all those actors who really believe that a change is needed for the future of our business, our industry, and the world itself.