SUSTAINABILITY IN THE AFTERMARKET
Tzanidakis George, Head of Logistics and distribution department
By definition, sustainable development meets the needs of the present without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own. Nowadays, it is indisputable that sustainability and the necessity for a more eco-friendly automotive environment have become quite a trend in the industry’s agenda. Companies all over the world are forced to adopt more and more sustainable ways to cope with their business. Regulations become stricter and stricter, especially in the EU, driving the automotive sector to manufacturing of vehicles with very low -or zero- emissions. It is also important to mention that this trend is not only driven by strict rules from governments, but also by the highly growing awareness among consumers. Aftermarket companies must adapt quickly and act promptly in this rapidly changing environment.
Viacar SA declares ready to face the future and its challenges. Every new technology brings fundamental changes in the industry. One of the major changes in our field can be described with one word: electrification. The gradual withdrawal of internal combustion engine and the development of new technologies will eventually bring new service and maintenance demands for cars. Electrical parts, a wide range of sensors and a variety of more environmentally friendly spare parts will be at the top on the order list of independent garages in the future. Building and strengthening alliances with manufacturers that lead the market in both OE and the aftermarket is a key strategy for Viacar SA. Producers such as BOSCH, DENSO, VALEO, etc., can provide innovative and reliable parts that suit different powertrains and ensure economic growth for the future.
It is very crucial for our companies to have access to this new field of business. We must endeavor to open the market. Organizations such as NEXUS must act quickly and open the discussion with the OES. It is a fact that owning and maintaining a modern technology car is yet quite expensive. Providing consumers more affordable and high-quality spare parts will prove to be more profitable not only for both OES but also for car manufacturers, as the demand for modern cars will grow higher. Viacar SA keeps track of the negotiations and latest developments in fora and committees inside the NEXUS community.
Viacar SA also puts effort internally into reducing its ecological footprint. A large investment in a high-tech, wireless WMS system has been made in order to minimize the use of paper during picking and packing processes. Information and data exchange within the company is achieved almost exclusively electronically. We promote the use of modern tablet devices and avoid extensive use of polluting materials. Electronic invoicing proved to be another effective way of saving resources and, at the end of the day, money…Meanwhile, Viacar SA works along with entities, in complete compliance with the law, for the protection of the environment. Recycling of used batteries and disposal of hazardous materials, such as lubricants, are carefully assigned to authorized cooperators.
Furthermore, continuous modernization of the fleet is considered to be very important. The company invests a lot of its budget in modern, eco-friendly and safe vehicles. Plans for acquisition of electrical vehicles and gradual replacement of the old fleet are already in process. Especially in the case of metropolitan cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, this may eventually become mandatory, following Paris’ and other big cities’ example.
One important area of sustainable economizing is remanufacturing. It is proved that remanufactured products require much less raw materials and much less energy to produce than newly manufactured products. In association with strategic suppliers (e.g. BOSCH), the core of parts that is worth to be remanufactured, such as steering pumps, starters, alternators, etc., is sent back to the factory in order to be remanufactured and to be sold again as brand new, fully functional spare parts. Replacing entire units is easy, fast and cost-efficient, leading to high customer satisfaction. Viacar SA intends to be more involved and run customer rewards programs that follow this strategy. For the aforementioned reasons, collaboration with more suppliers is required.
In conclusion, Viacar SA considers sustainability more a necessity rather than a set of regulations and restrictions. Sustainability is a major challenge, one that matters beyond individual companies. Aftermarket companies must embrace this new challenge with decisiveness and adaptability. This is the only way to ensure their profitability in the present and also gain a dominant position in the future.