PMF speaks to Tom Curtis, Sales Director at Shaftec, to ascertain how the company has developed in the 10 years since he first walked through its doors.
Q. Please describe your role at Shaftec.
Tom Curtis (TC): My role at Shaftec is Sales Director. I make sure that I engage with everyone in the team on a regular basis. Ideas come from everywhere, and my team’s input is always welcome. On a daily basis, I communicate with the sales team, data analysts, our General Manager, Operations Manager, and the accounts department. My day-to-day job involves looking after pricing, monitoring buying group terms and conditions, analysing data, and examining margin analysis.
I’m also responsible for looking for new business opportunities, so I make it my business to regularly meet with buying groups and motor factor owners.
Q. Since you started at the company, how has it progressed as a parts manufacturer?
TC: I joined the company in July 2010, when our turnover was around £5 million. Today, it’s grown to around £12.5 million.
Since consolidating the business, we now operate from under one roof in the centre of Birmingham’s industrial district – serving the UK and Europe.
In the past two years, we’ve significantly invested in new machinery, installing, for example, a shot blasting machine and machinery for EPS. We also have a Mobile EPS Diagnostic machine that reads and clears fault codes on all electric steering components, meaning we can virginalise the parts for fitment on various models.
Flex ray is the big new project we are currently working on. In essence, this is a bit like going from broadband to fibre, and is basically intercommunications through all electronic parts via the cars own mini ‘ethernet’.
Q. Talk us through Shaftec’s infrastructure (e.g. its facilities, warehouse, etc.).
TC: To consolidate our national production facilities, we acquired the current building in the centre of Birmingham’s industrial region in Hockley in August 2014, and from January 2015, everything has been run out of here. Remanufacturing everything under one roof allows us better control and is significantly more efficient. As business has grown – inside the UK and across Europe – we’ve had to grow with it! In 2018, we added a mezzanine floor, with the business now operating from a 50,000ftÇ site.
Q. Obviously, a major part of Shaftec’s offering is its remanufacturing services. Please discuss this offering, and the importance of remanufacturing.
TC: Top quality remanufacturing is not a poorer substitute for new, and sensibly, the remanufacture of automotive parts continues to grow as a global business. This method offers a more efficient use of energy and resources, and it’s often the only aftermarket alternative to keep older vehicles on the road. By offering remanufactured products, Shaftec provides a vital service and creates sustainability.
At Shaftec, we offer a variety of parts, from fast-moving to niche references, and by keeping a close eye on build costs, we’re able to remain competitive, whilst being confident that we’re providing a quality product.
In remanufacturing, the part must be completely disassembled, cleaned and examined for wear and breakage. Worn out, missing or non-functioning components are replaced with new or rebuilt components. Electrical parts, for example, frequently need rewinding or rewiring. After the work is done, the part is reassembled and tested for compliance with performance specifications.
Q. Are there any other emerging trends within the automotive industry that have caught Shaftec’s eye?
TC: The main trend we continue to see at the moment is the growth in electric steering (EPS), which continues to increase through application levels and demand. It will not be long before EVs will be more prominent within the UK and European automotive aftermarkets.
In 2019, demand for our new-to-range electric steering parts far surpassed our traditional variants. We recognised the growth opportunities of EPS very early on, and knew that to remain competitive and secure growth, we had to develop in line with this and invest back into the business. Advances in technology increasingly widen the scope of components and systems suitable for remanufacture.
Q. Which of Shaftec’s products epitomises the company’s offering?
TC: As a remanufacturer, the Driveshaft is our quintessential product; it’s where we started and we offer the largest range in Europe, with more than 5,500 references. However, this year, it’s likely that we’ll sell more brake calipers!
Q. How do you see the company developing in the future?
TC: We are well established in the UK, so we are looking at strategies to expand our European business, which has seen a healthy growth over the past 18 months. We still haven’t scratched the surface in Europe and we are excited for our plans moving forward. We believe we have a good, solid and sustainable business model, with a focus on remanufacturing with integrity, efficiency and control.