OARA Convention returns with a bang for 2022.
On April 1-2, the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA), hosted its annual Convention and Trade Show at the Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale hotel and conference centre. For the first time since 2019, this was a real physical event, with onsite speaker sessions, workshops, networking, and a trade show. Attendees from both sides of the border were present and for those that were not able to make it, virtual sessions and highlights were also made available.
State of the industry
A lot has happened in the automotive recycling industry over the last two years and to kick things off, OARA Executive Director Steve Fletcher and Chairman Greg Woodbeck, presented an overview of the sector in their State of the Industry Address.
While the absence of physical events during the COVID-19 pandemic presented a challenge for many, from an association standpoint, Steve Fletcher noted that there were some benefits, such as the ability to interact with key industry players in different parts of the world in a single virtual meeting. As a result, significant progress has been made in terms of collaboration between stakeholders as well as growing awareness among government, OEMs and other sectors of the key role recyclers play in the automotive space.
Greg Woodbeck explained that while the current supply chain shortages have proved very problematic for some parts of the automotive ecosystem, as far as recyclers go, the current climate has provided lots of opportunities.
“We are seeing an increase in demand, and also an increase in the dollar amount on the same product, compared to what we saw two years ago,” said Woodbeck.
Also, because both OEM and new aftermarket parts are in short supply in many cases, insurers and collision repairers are turning more towards recyclers to obtain the components they need.
And while it is clearly a good time to be in the auto recycling industry, Woodbeck also stressed the importance of using the convention as a platform to reconnect and build relationships. “We’re here as a group to share, we’re here as a group to get better,” he stated.
A key highlight of this year’s convention was keynote sessions from Profit Team Consulting in the U.S.
The trio of Mike Kunkel, Rob Rainwater, and Lee Wormack, provided some very insightful information on a range of topics, including the right way to buy vehicles that will be in high demand and to set your budget accordingly. The team also looked at a simple (and very effective way) to analyze P&L statements as well as focusing on E-commerce opportunities and sales management basics to help grow your business.
There was also an interactive panel discussion from recyclers across North America that focused on How to Stay Positive in an upside-down world; and an address from Michael Kirwin from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), which provides a voice for millions of entrepreneurs and business operators across Canada.
There were additional sessions on managing profitable cores and catalytic converters from Paul D’Adamo at RAS Cores and an address from Amanda Morrison of URG on the importance of Re-evaluating, Re-thinking, and Re-inventing your business.
Steve Fletcher also provided a legislative update from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks related to end-of-life vehicles, while in the spirit of a true in-person event, there was an onsite fundraising initiative for OARA Employee Scholarships and an Industry Recognition Luncheon on April 2.
All in all, it was great to see so many people in the industry attend, connect, celebrate and learn about the opportunities and growth on offer in this vital sector of the circular economy.