Automotive storage solutions that keep the country moving

Take a proactive approach to combat
the perils of economic

Economic uncertainty has reached a level that is, arguably, at its worst since World War Two. Amid a shrinking economy, the Bank of England has announced it expects the UK to go into recession this autumn, with the effects lasting throughout 2023.

Double-digit inflation is expected to peak this autumn, interest rates have just had their biggest hike for 27 years and the energy price cap is predicted to top £4,200 by January 2023. Add in variables such as Brexit, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and a shortage of microchips; the outlook is unlike anything most people have experienced in their lifetime.

The car market, both new and used, is no exception to the turmoil. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the overall market for new cars has shrunk by 12 per cent in 2022, with only the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) breaking the mould.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, says, “The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than lockdown. Electric vehicle demand continues to be the one bright spot, as more electric cars than ever take to the road, but while this growth is welcome it is not yet enough to offset weak overall volumes, which has huge implications for fleet renewal and our ability to meet overall carbon reduction targets.

‘With motorists facing rising fuel costs, however, the switch to an electric car makes ever more sense and the industry is working hard to improve supply and prioritise deliveries of these new technologies given the savings they can afford drivers.”

Mr Hawes’ organisation has also revealed the UK’s used car market fell by almost 19 per cent in Q2 of 2022, while first half transactions were down 8.3% on last year and the used car market is now -12.8% year to date behind pre-pandemic 2019.

Future-proofing your parts department

Through adversity comes opportunity and mitigating against variables that are controllable could provide a glint of optimism.

Paul Booth and Lee Satloka of Linco Automotive Limited have more than 50 years of automotive aftermarket experience between them. Their Oldham-based company holds approved shelving and racking supplier status for 11 of the top 25 motor groups in the UK, operating domestic and commercial vehicle dealerships for brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

The pair make it their company’s mission to provide future-proof, tailored storage solutions that optimise their customers’ valued resources of space, stock and time, while increasing efficiency – and profitability – in the process.

Here, Managing Director Paul and Sales Director Lee examine three ways in which a dealership, or a large independent motor trader, can protect itself from the ill winds of economic uncertainty.

1. Stock profiles

Businesses and individuals alike are well accustomed to the convenience of speedy delivery for anything from car parts to home appliances.

But as the cost of fuel increases and delivery costs rise with them, dealership and garage parts departments are turning to larger stock profiles that hold larger quantities of goods to help reduce costs and keep vehicle turnaround efficient. Having an agile parts storage solution that can adapt to varying stock profiles as required is a simple but solid future proofing measure that any parts department can take.

Paul Booth: “Efficient and effective storage all about how you configure and optimise it within your workshop footprint and that’s our expertise. That’s what sets us apart from everyone else. Anyone can fill a room with racking, but when they walk away from it, will it work efficiently? We have a formula of storage density per square metre, and once we calculate that, we can identify how much space a client will need to be efficient.”

Linco Automotive is a specialist partner with SSI Schaefer, one of the world’s leading storage manufacturers. Its shelving and racking systems are specifically designed for the automotive aftermarket sector, and benefit from galvanised steel components that are both strong and durable, thanks to a protective coating that stops corrosion. Critically, it is easily adjusted – there are no nuts, bolts or screws – and is totally scalable and adapts with your stock profile, making it completely user-friendly and future-proof.

Lee Satloka: “The ability to store a healthy stock of parts is essential for efficiency. Without it, technicians face costly delays and turnaround times are slow. It was once considered that a parts department was the poor relation in a dealership, but in actual fact, a well organised and well-run parts department is the second strongest profit centre behind the workshop, with sales coming in third.”

Industrial shelving in warehouse

2. Electric vehicles

As we have already heard from the SMMT, sales of EVs are the one bright spot when it comes to the current car market. More than a fifth of new registrations in the first half of 2022 were EVs, and in an overall market that shrank by 12%, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 56% to 115,250.

It’s evidence of how quickly British motorists are adopting EVs, even in the extremely distorted marketplace still suffering from all the aforementioned woes.

Paul Booth: “There’s a common misconception that you don’t need as many parts for electric vehicles because they don’t have a combustion engine with all its moving parts.

“However, to be EV-ready, parts departments need a dedicated area to store EV parts. Those vehicles still have to be serviced so parts departments need to find additional space for line items such as handles, switches, wheels, brakes and tyres, many of which have their own storage needs and which have to be kept separate to parts for the conventional combustion engine.”

At Linco automotive, our consultancy, design, supply and installation services are highly valued by our large and high-profile customer base. The specialist advice, designs and project management we provide optimises their storage space and helps them to operate efficiently and cost effectively. No two needs or solutions are identical, so we apply years of industry knowledge and experience to tailor bespoke solutions using anything from shelving and racking to mezzanine floors and partitions.

That experience and expertise is invaluable for a business configuring its storage needs to cater for EV and traditional vehicles within its existing footprint, and it could even remove the possibility of a costly relocation exercise of finding and adapting new premises.

And it should also be remembered, that even if a model is discontinued, parts have to be available for 12 years after, so the likelihood of replacing parts for older petrol and diesel cars with EV parts is minimal for the near future at least.

Electric cars

3. Changing business models

Linco Automotive is known for its exceptional track record for delivering projects of varying sizes across the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Europe.

During their extensive business travel, Paul and Lee have seen evidence that an older model of dealership structure once popular in the 1970s is making a revival, borne of economic necessity; and that is the multi-franchise site.

There are examples of this model dotted around the UK, where motor groups are consolidating brands under one roof to limit the costs of running multiple sites, making savings on property, rent, energy and staffing.

Lee Satloka: “Congestion charges may be another reason they are adopting this approach – relocating out of congestion charge zones to avoid the associated costs of not only their own vehicles coming and going, but those of their customers too.”

The concept of a multi-franchise site requires great care, especially the meticulous planning and design of its parts and service departments to cater for the variety of marques and vehicles sharing a single site.

Paul Booth: Linco Automotive has all the solutions under one roof. We have extensive experience of working on projects from their inception to the grand opening. We attend site surveys and meetings, submit innovative, bespoke, competitively priced proposals and produce scaled drawings. Our expertise also means we can make quick, real-time revisions on-site should the need arise.

“We’re also exceptionally proud of our personable approach, which means we can integrate seamlessly with wider project teams, while our proactive and agile approach to project management ensures our installations are delivered on time, on budget and to our exceptional standards.”

Despite the fact that many car manufacturers share common components that are essentially identical except for serial numbers or logos, internal manufacturer auditing requires that stock purchased for one brand, even if identical, needs to be stored completely separately from other brand parts.

Customer browsing car in dealership showroom

Get a grip of the future

At the risk of repeating a cliché, failing to plan is planning to fail, particularly in these unprecedented times. But by adopting a proactive approach, parts departments can ensure their business models remain viable, effective and adaptable to take advantage of the opportunities here and now, and on the horizon.

Linco Automotive operates purely in the automotive storage sector. The tailor-made solutions we provide are based on incomparable knowledge, experience and expertise gathered over 50-plus years in the automotive storage sector. As a business fully immersed in the industry, we understand the needs of customers, the challenges they face and how best to service them.

For more information, give us a call us on 0333 577 2595, or email us at:

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