The reman times are a-changin
- December 20, 2018
The trend away from car ownership will have a massive impact on the automotive reman industry. ReMaTec’s Niels Klarenbeek urges remanufacturers to treat this as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
There is a silent revolution going on in the streets of Amsterdam. Tourists and business travellers have always been used to being cautious of the many cyclists riding the streets. But next time you’re in the city, you should direct your attention to the colour of the bicycles’ tyres: I’m 99% sure that you will find numerous cyclists with a distinctive blue front tyre. These are bicycles owned by a mobility service company called Swapfiets (‘Swap Bicycle’).
Swapfiets riders do not own their bike, they pay a monthly subscription (starting from €15 per month). If the bike is damaged or stolen (yes, it still occasionally happens) the Swapfiets app on your smartphone will point you to the nearest replacement centre – which is often a local bicycle repair shop. At no extra cost, the bike is replaced by another one and off you go.
Swapfiets is immensely popular among students and millennials. They don’t care so much about possessions and are used to having a subscription for just about everything. If you pay a monthly fee to Netflix, Dropbox, Spotify, razor blade suppliers (really!) then why not pay one for a bike that never lets you down? The fact that the annual subscription of €180 is more expensive than a reliable second-hand bike from the bike shop seems to be collectively neglected. I hear you think: ‘Why is this Dutch bike story relevant to remanufacturing?’ The answer is simple. If a generation of smart, well-educated early adopters is used to not owning a bike and not bothering about possessions, do you expect them to buy a car as soon as they have a driver’s licence? Of course not. Shared car services are just the beginning. If you’re stuck in traffic it doesn’t matter whether you drive a luxurious sports car or a small budget sedan. You just want to get from A to B. This development will change the narrative about the automotive industry. If drivers do not own their cars, vehicles are owned by vehicle manufacturers and their financial leasing subsidiaries.
This will have a massive impact on the automotive remanufacturing industry. Core returns would be just standard practice, not a challenge. The independent aftermarket could be decimated as vehicle manufacturers would control production, fleet management and vehicle maintenance – as well as operational data. Core suppliers and independent remanufacturers should find their own niche or start allying themselves with original equipment manufacturers to work as a contracted remanufacturer. ReMaTec events are attended by dozens of famous brands and their reman programme managers. Manufacturers of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, buses and even non-road moving machinery - they’re all there; looking for latest trends and developments; looking for new partnership and alliances; looking for product improvements based on the remanufacturers’ expert knowledge of their parts and components. So stand out from your competition and get into a dialogue! There are plenty of opportunities ahead. Another niche may be found in new remanufacturing industries. The upcoming ReMaTec 2019 event at RAI Amsterdam will feature the International Forum on Wind Turbine Remanufacturing. Wind power experts such as wind turbine manufacturers, asset owners, plus operation and maintenance providers will gather at ReMaTec to learn from frontrunners in the automotive reman industry. With a growing European installed base of wind turbines - 43% of them are older than 10 years - there is a massive opportunity for remanufacturing. The reman world is changing and ReMaTec strives to be at the forefront of these new opportunities.