Our sister title, Professional Motor Mechanic, recently visited Soham-based remanufacturer, Ivor Searle, to ﬁnd out about its unique approach to engine remanufacturing. Here, Commercial Director, David Eszenyi, provides an insight into the company’s long history and promising future.
Q. Could you give us some details about Ivor Searle’s history and the company today?
David Eszenyi (DE): “It’s always been a family-run business. Colin Searle, son of the company’s founder, is the current Chairman and has been for the past 50 years. Under Colin’s chairmanship, Ivor Searle has built up an enviable reputation for producing OE quality products that are respected across the automotive industry.
“In 1983, the company moved to a purpose-built 10,000sqft facility. Colin felt that the way forward was to produce remanufactured engines to be held in stock for next day delivery, something the remanufacturing market needed at the time. We’ve developed this business model for all our remanufactured products and the company has since flourished.
“We like to think that, because of this family aspect to the business, the working environment appeals to apprentices. For this reason, we generally find that staff recruitment and retention is rarely a problem – a claim that cannot be made for other parts of the automotive industry.
“These days, apprentices who have just come out of college don’t have the skills to remanufacture an engine. It requires knowing how to disassemble an engine into its constituent parts, clean each of those parts and then assess whether it is in a suitable state to be remanufactured. After that, parts need machining, grinding, boring, honing and finally, reassembling. This is not always taught at college, so we do all the training ourselves, in-house.
“These skills are very particular to the remanufacturing industry, which means that once someone has been trained, they tend to stay with us because they are so specialised. As you can probably imagine, this ethos provides a comforting work environment for our employees, which is a point of pride for us and a key benefit for those employed in a family business.
Q. How was 2016 for Ivor Searle?
DE: “It was a good year. Overall, the business remained in a strong position. We saw our turbocharger and gearbox remanufacturing really get a firm hold in the market last year. Apart from that, our efforts have gone into launching and raising awareness of our new website and ecatalogue system.”
Q. What were the company’s plans coming into 2017?
DE: “We really want to develop our presence in the European market by speeding up the delivery time to Europe. Next day capability from the UK would be ideal or via a stock location on the continent, as this will increase sales in this area – a part of the business that is really expanding. That’s the general direction we’re headed and it looks a promising one.”
Q. What does it mean for a part to be remanufactured?
DE: “To remanufacture a part is to bring it back to OE quality when it is not working as it should. At Ivor Searle, we primarily focus on engines, this being the area in which we have based our foundation, but these days we also remanufacture cylinder heads, turbos and gearboxes.”
Q. You say ‘back to OE quality’; whatdo you mean by this and what sort of assurances can you give?
DE: “Every engine that comes through is remanufactured to stringent specifications. We both meet and exceed ISO 9001:2008 and BS AU257:2002, the latter being the code of practice defined by the BSI (British Standards Institution). These criteria are crucial to our operation, and serve to reassure customers that the engine they get from us will perfectly suit its purpose and match OE quality.”
Q. Where do these parts come from?
DE: “They can come from a number of sources. The majority are ordered by motor factors, who would order an engine for a specific vehicle, and we would give them a newly remanufactured one in return for the one they are replacing. The old engine would then go through the remanufacturing process itself.
“We also source from large salvage companies, so that we have a way of replacing engine parts that cannot be remanufactured. The engines we receive all have some form of malfunction, as you might expect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be written off. Most can be remanufactured, but occasionally a part may be so damaged that it is beyond repair.”
Q. What makes Ivor Searle the place to go for remanufactured engines?
DE: “I would say our history, our reputation for technical excellence and our customer service. The team has built up decades of expertise and knowledge. We have few competitors and to start up an operation now would require an enormous amount of time and effort, not to mention some very, very deep pockets.
“Ivor Searle has succeeded because we have a foundation of expertise going back 70 years or so. Not only that but we have collected a huge encyclopaedia of engine specifications. That kind of resource is invaluable and would be near impossible to replicate. When it comes to engine remanufacturing, Ivor Searle is unrivalled.”