Support Those Who Support Us! It Just Makes Sense

May 1, 2021 | Industry

By Sandy Blalock • ARA Executive Director

As we get nearer to having our in-person events, I realized something that to me is so important:  Professional auto recyclers should do business with those vendors and suppliers who support our industry. Many of our industry partners believed in ARA so much they did not waver to support our virtual event. We have vendors in just about every segment of the industry that – without hesitation – support their state and national associations by exhibiting, sponsoring, advertising, and training. It makes absolutely no sense to me why we would give our hard-earned money to those who only show up at our doors when they need us. 

Most state associations and ARA do their due diligence to assure that strategic industry partners bring value and savings to our members. As specific areas of both the supplier and buyer businesses work together, this trusting relationship allows both parties to better understand the inner workings of the other. In some cases, both parties will be able to adapt their own business practices and operations to better accommodate the other, and that can lead to further efficiencies, operational advantages and savings.

The consolidation of the supply chain may allow buyers and sellers to reduce the number of suppliers they buy or purchase from – streamlining the buying and selling process and making budgeting and accounting a far simpler task. A successful supplier relationship program will often create a trusting partnership between a buyer and a supplier. I think this is key in today’s modern auto recycling facility.

As an established supplier relationship develops, communication improves. Suppliers gain a more complete understanding of the businesses they serve, allowing them to meet the recyclers’ needs more effectively. Delays in the supply chain will decrease, and the flow of operations will greatly improve. And when issues in the ordering process do arise, the healthy working relationship between supplier and buyer will make such issues easier to resolve.

A huge problem has grown exponentially with the value of catalytic converters and an enormous uptick in catalytic converter theft that has not left our industry untouched. Everywhere you look someone is buying and/or selling catalytic converters. I often wonder with all the awesome vendors buying catalytic converters, why recyclers would continue to do business with third-party buyers that do not support our industry. I know that for many the attraction of being paid cash for your cores and cats is often hard to pass up, but remember this person buying from you today is going to be selling to someone and making money that rightfully belongs to you, not to mention they may also be buying from those who have illegally obtained the converters, thus promoting theft.

Another issue is that ARA tracked more than 40 bills in states related to catalytic converter theft as well as who can sell and buy them. Some of those bills have passed and, in some states, it may now be illegal for you to sell catalytic converters to anyone who does not have a brick-and-mortar business and/or permit to buy cores and cats. 

ARA has always and will continue to support law enforcement and their efforts to successfully prosecute catalytic converter theft. As an industry, we do not want to support an underground business just because they offer that attractive quick cash payment. It really is our duty to support the companies that care enough to show up, sponsor and give back to recyclers, including many who so generously donated thousands of dollars to our Recycler COVID-19 Relief Fund that directly benefitted ARA members, as well as our state affiliates in 2020.

Do you need help finding a vendor who supports and gives back? Please visit the Automotive Recycling Online Buyers Guide at

or you can also see the many supporters in the ARA’s official publication Automotive Recycling™, Auto Recycler’s Toolbox® and your state association newsletters. I hope that each of you reading this will wisely choose to work with companies that give back to the industry we all love.

Stay safe and don’t forget to mark your calendars for ARA’s 78th Annual Convention and Expo in Dallas, Texas on November 10-13th. Hope to see y’all there! 

Reach Sandy Blalock at Share your thoughts pertaining to the advancement of professional automotive recycling. Your letter could be published in an upcoming issue.

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