We can all do more for the remanufacturing sector if we are prepared to work together, says Volker Schittenhelm. And look at the success that collaboration has already brought to the industry…
Oriental wisdom says: working alone means ‘adding’ – but collaborating means ‘multiplying’.
That is the original sense and purpose of every federation. And it is more or less practiced by the national members of FIRM and also among FIRM members themselves - otherwise, our activities would not have led to success. Meanwhile, collaboration has reached a second level: FIRM has global connections with engine reman associations in New Zealand, South African, Brazil and North America. And that’s not all. With regard to automotive remanufacturing, FIRM works very closely with APRA Europe (through lobbying activities and through its relationship with ReMaTec, et cetera), and thus with APRA in general. Even China is part of our network. That has led to the success of publishing our automotive reman definitions two years ago - and also to a general understanding of automotive reman at political level.
But it is very important to have new targets on the screen and to match them! Our industry must sit down and tie up the package of wishes that we have with the list of possibilities that the politicians can help us with. From FIRM’s side, the wish list looks as follows (not just focused on engine reman and in no particular order):
- Promote existing automotive reman definition and extend to non-automotive industries
- Tax reduction for reman products
- Alignment of the so-called ‘core tax’ (add-on, flat rate tax for remanufactured products) in the European Union – or, better still, abolition of that tax to create global reman competitiveness
- Establish a job profile of ‘automotive remanufacturer/general remanufacturer’
- Support universities to establish remanufacturing degree programmes
- Evaluate ‘information package reman’ that helps market participants, especially smaller companies, to get financial support – especially from investors
- Highlight intellectual property issues relating to remanufacturing that need to be resolved, e.g. remanufactured items containing patented components and brand names of OEMs that have been remanufactured by a third party
- Reman quotas instead of existing recycling quotas in the framework of the end-of-life vehicle guideline
- Design4Reman: products should be designed and produced in a way to easier reman at the end of their first life cycle
- Reman products to be regarded as good as new parts and not as ‘used’
The next challenge is to match all our wish lists and promote them in Brussels.
But take this into consideration: more and more specialists and media are speaking about the circular economy where automotive reman is just one big part among other segments like industrial reman, IT, aerospace, wind power, medical healthcare, toner & cartridges and so on.
Our industry and its representatives and lobbyists must discuss and decide whether to speak with an automotive reman voice (covering engine reman) or whether it would be better with the ‘circular economy’ voice, where the automotive reman industry could contribute big figures on turnover, employment and CO2 reduction.
Do we have a chance to match our all activities? Should we add - or multiply?