On Friday 21st of June, I received an email from NSF International that shocked me. It read;
“After careful evaluation, NSF International has decided to exit the Automotive Parts Certification business and most affiliated automotive certification and registration programs to focus on programs and services that are more directly aligned with our long-term, strategic vision for the organization.”
Over the past 6 years, I have been a strong advocate for the various NSF programs. I have written many articles about the opportunities independent certification presents the automotive parts industry. I have also worked closely with NSF in Australia, New Zealand and more recently, through an assignment with eBay, in the UK. When I found out that NSF was building an independent certification program for the automotive recycling industry four years ago, I thought that it was the break the industry needed, a way for professional auto recyclers to stand out, build better businesses and be truly differentiated.
As I read the press release from NSF, I must say that my first reaction was that all the work we had put into what was a truly independent and robust certification program had all been wasted. That the effort and investment so many leaders in the industry had made in having their businesses undergo the audits and complete their corrective actions to finally meet the criteria and become NSF Certified, were all for nothing.
It became clear within hours that I was wrong. Today, unlike even (as little as) three years ago, leaders in the industry understand the importance of an independent certification program. Within minutes of the announcement, I had received emails from the UK and was on the phone with the ARA in the USA only hours later. The message from around the world was clear;
“We cannot let this get in the way of what we have started and the journey the industry has begun. Chris, we need to find a solution and ensure that an independent certification program is available for those in the industry that want to go above and beyond. A program that is recognised and embraced by insurers (and other corporates) who want to use more recycled parts in their repairs”
Where to now?
The famous proverb “One man’s loss is another man’s gain” rings loud and clear for me. NSF has laid a strong foundation and we, as an industry, now understand the critical importance of an independent certification program.
There are times to take direction and other times to direct. The industry needs direction and it is incumbent on the leaders of the industry, those who have been elected to represent the broader industry to lead and create the future strategic direction. It is time for the industry associations to stand tall, strong and lead the way – and they are.
We are only a week out from the NSF announcement. Through the effort and commitment of the likes of the Auto Recyclers Association in the USA, the Vehicle Recyclers Association and even eBay in the UK (who have committed time, effort and a considerable investment into developing and implementing an independent recycler certification program), I am confident that we will find a solution, and quickly!
To those that have been certified to date here in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, including PAMs Auto (USA), Paradise Auto Parts, ASV Euro Car Parts Sydney, Grant Walker Parts, Dodsons PartsWorld and APR, congratulations for meeting these standards. You should be proud of the leadership position you have taken.
To the many that have begun the process to get their business ready to meet these strict, independently audited criteria, stay the course! I personally have seen first-hand the changes in each business and the process improvements derived from meeting the standards. An alternative solution will be made available in the very near future.
Stay tuned for further developments and as always, if you have any questions, or wish to discuss any of the above, please contact me on +61 411 743 560 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.