The remanufacturing industry is in transition – and so is APRA itself. But reman’s place at the centre of the circular economy remains vital and smaller companies need more consideration, explains APRA Europe chairman Carsten Bücker.
Back in April, at the APRA European Remanufacturing Symposium in Birmingham, discussions focused on the status of the European remanufacturing industry as well as future challenges to market participants and to APRA itself. That some of these discussions were extremely contentious is testimony to the fact that the entire reman industry- as well as the association - is in a transitional phase. The European reman market is changing. On the one hand, corporate successors, acquisitions, mergers and investments are changing the face of the industry – and with it the member structure of the APRA. On the other hand, technology developments will define the qualification profile of employees in remanufacturing and service in a new way and will demand increasing and short term investments. This can be seen as an opportunity as well as a potential threat. Those market participants who can meet these requirements and implement appropriate solutions can substantially increase their market share - not only in the automotive business, but in particular also in the off-highway and the capital goods sector. On the political decision-making level, the ‘circular economy’ is being promoted, specifications are being drawn up and legislative initiatives are being submitted. Our association must actively be engaged in political lobbying - not only to specify political orientation, but also to prevent incorrect decisions on policy which would have disastrous effects on the international reman business. At the same time, all APRA board members agree that the top priority must be to put the interests of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) members stronger in the foreground: these member companies (mainly managed by their owners) represent the broad base of APRA and are the backbone of the entire industry. The needs and expectations of SMEs have been neglected in the past and will in the future see much more consideration.
New goals for APRA
In Birmingham it was decided to define the goals for APRA Europe in the next 12-18 months. The critical success factors to reach this goal have to be identified, the strategic basis for the alignment of APRA Europe Division on the future political, technological and economic challenges must be developed and finally a detailed implementation plan must be put together. All APRA board members work voluntarily and their first priority, of course, is to their own businesses. That means the entire board requires the active support of all association members – for example, in press activities, attracting new members, participation in events, transmission of market and technology information or participation in projects. One thing is certain: together APRA Europe has an excellent chance to establish itself as the European remanufacturing association and to ensure continued positive development of the remanufacturing industry in Europe.
Peter Bartel, chairman of APRA Europe for more than four years, has transformed the association to a widely-recognized remanufacturing specialist and an important partner of the major automobile associations through countless successful projects on the European political scene. Increased management responsibilities mean that he has no longer the necessary time to dedicate to APRA Europe and therefore he has vacated the chairman position. However, he will continue to work actively as a member of the board on current projects.