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How The Salvage and Recycling Industry Uses Data


How The Salvage and Recycling Industry Uses Data

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David Hughes, e2e Data Analyst, explains the role of data in the salvage industry

As the UK’s largest salvage and recycling network, serving the insurance and fleet industries for more than 35 years, made up of independent professional salvage agents nationwide, e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] has access to a wealth of data.

My job as a Data Analyst is to interrogate that data and turn it into valuable insights for the e2e management team, our members and our clients. I look at everything from the incident on the road that is the catalyst for the vehicle becoming a total loss, through salvage categorisation and all the way to the ultimate outcome. This may be the vehicle sold on our auction site,, dismantled for reclaimed parts or crushed and declared destroyed with the DVLA.

Every last tiny detail is important in producing the big data picture. The skill is then in breaking down the big picture and creating data cuts which generate information that can add real value. I’ve heard it said you can never have too much data. While I agree in principle, it is easy to overwhelm an organisation so that it is swimming in a sea of data without the resource or clarity to prioritise actions and desired outcomes as a result.  More later on presenting data in bite-size chunks!

e2e’s rich dataset can be flexed to provide detailed insights into any business area, which enables the management team to make informed decisions and key personnel to analyse their departmental functions against KPIs.  For example, over the months of the pandemic, the various lockdowns have led to reduced traffic on the roads and decreased total loss claims volumes. Throughout this period our data has been invaluable for scaling and targeting our operations and resources. We were able to keep a tight focus and collaborate with clients and members to map service against needs and resources jointly, whilst prioritising key workers.  

Our data insights provide an up-to-date and nationwide overview of network activity and regional market variations from our network members’ perspective. We also use our data to keep members informed on situation dynamics as instructions occur, which supports their salvage and recycling operations. The network’s data resources and analytics are naturally more extensive than those of individual members, and this holistic insight adds real value to their businesses. It also helps us refine best practices on a continuing basis.

Our clients have varied and evolving areas of key interest in the insights from our dataThese might include us reporting on: salvage category split, geographical incidents, seasonal data, manufacturer data and auction data, depending on the client’s business needs at any given time.  As one might expect, given this is our area of expertise, our data capture for salvage is much more extensive than our clients, and identifying patterns and trends can inform clients on options and support proactivity. This could be from helping to ensure they get the best returns on their total loss vehicles to identifying areas of inefficiencyMarket trends and patterns also present opportunities to feedback insight internally across their businesses, e.g. to their insurance underwriters, repair networks, or fleet buyers, which helps them plan future activity at strategic and operational levels.   

In addition to our BAU data analytics activities, we also conduct bespoke data projects. Here we might use data dashboards to present numerous bitesize chunks of information to stakeholders. Behind the highlights on the dashboard front page lie many avenues of data tables and graphics that tell their own story. So a total loss dashboard could start by presenting a list of Top 10 manufacturers by total loss volumes. Behind that would be presented the Top 10 models from one manufacturer selected from the list, and then, applying more granular criteria still, analysis of the Top model from that manufacturer. The latter could be sorted by, e.g. salvage category, average PAV, differences between colours, engine types/size and regional differences. When you add a comparison against all other client performances (aggregated and anonymised, of course), it provides for some very real and interesting insights.  

e2e has refined its systems over many years to ensure the data captured is both timely and accurate. When you have access to the breadth and quality of historic data available in e2e, and the in-house data analytics expertise, you also have access to a crystal ball!  When it comes to modelling future events, we build models which can extrapolate trending data in all business areas.  Unfortunately, sharing these with you would be to give away some of our competitive advantage but rest assured we see some very exciting developments on the horizon, and in particular in relation to reclaimed parts.  

The use of data in the salvage industry might surprise some. However, like any industry, data analytics makes us smarter and more efficient, as it provides evidence that supports our position as strategic, professional partners rather than a transactional service.  Our industry is evolving rapidly and in line with those of our clients; far from looking for a finishing line, we excel at embracing change and investing in innovation.  It’s great to dream big, but it’s even greater when those dreams are underpinned by evidence derived from data.  And finally, I believe that to be a good data analyst you need to be able to apply science and creativity…did I mention I also play in a jazz band! 

David Hughes | Data Analyst Collector | e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management

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