LKQ, Keystone’s wholesale distribution prospers in Northwest
Renton, Wash.—LKQ and Keystone Automotive continue to grow business in the Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington region, said Cory Anderson, general manager of the joint operations. At its 100,000-square-foot Renton facility, parts move through the warehouse 24 hours a day from 5 a.m., Monday, to 10 a.m., Saturday morning, he said, noting that a part needed at an LKQ/Keystone facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, could be shipped from Redmond, Ore., on a company truck, pass through the Renton facility overnight and arrive across the border by 9 a.m. the following day. The Renton and Buckley facilities alone operate 42 various sized vehicles from tow trucks to delivery vans to car haulers, he said.
With 420 total employees at multiple locations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, Anderson said the Northwest operations service some 7,000 active accounts that range from collision and mechanical repair shops to parts stores and auto dealerships. Anderson, who worked for a dealership service department while in college and later spent 10 years with a Portland-based parts distributor, joined LKQ in Portland in 2009 with plans to move to Seattle in 2010 due to the LKQ acquisition of Walt & Vern’s recycling center in Buckley.
The 10-acre Buckley facility underwent a major renovation that lasted for almost three years under Anderson’s guidance, and in 2012 he added the Keystone Automotive Industries collision parts to his responsibilities. “In 2012, LKQ doubled the warehouse footprint to 100,000 square feet so we could stock recycled parts in the warehouse, side by side with the Keystone collision parts.” In addition, there is a separate Keystone Automotive Operations staff, our specialty business, and inventory in Renton that distributes aftermarket accessories, RV parts, and other products. “We utilize our entire space floor to ceiling, electronically controlling where each part is located.”
As business has expanded, so has the breath and depth of inventory at LKQ and Keystone, Anderson said, adding that the need for future expansion is always on the horizon.
While LKQ offers mechanical and collision repair parts, aftermarket collision repair parts, paint and related products, remanufactured engines, transmissions, axles, heads, and more, Anderson said collision-related parts remain the top selling products in the salvage arena, with bumpers, doors, fenders, hoods, paint products, and wheels on the aftermarket parts side.
“LKQ continues to increase product offerings, service levels, part quality, and more,” Anderson said. “As an example, LKQ Foster Auto Parts in Portland is continually changing to meet expectations, along with other LKQ and Keystone Automotive businesses nationally.
“LKQ’s business model is unparalleled to any parts competitor. It’s a one-stop shop with top service, expansive product offerings, electronic procurement, electronic ordering, and estimating systems integrations that set us apart,” he said.
A unique aspect within LKQ and Keystone is the position held by Mark Lovell, the Industry Relations Manager for the Northwest region, who said he has a collision industry background. After 15 years in the U.S. Navy, he worked in the commercial calibration industry and transitioned into the collision field where he worked as an estimator prior to becoming the marketing director for a large multi-store organization. His wife, a son, and a daughter are all involved in a collision business in Seattle.
Lovell joined LKQ in his position in early 2013 and said he works as a liaison with regional insurance clients, as well as LKQ/Keystone managers, business development representatives, customers, and trade groups. “Much of what I do involves education about the recycling and alternative parts segments of our industry to insurers, shops, and the trade in general. And we’re very involved with donating parts, especially sheet metal and plastic replacement parts, to schools and colleges with collision repair programs. We see great value in supporting these programs and future collision repairers.”
Active in the Automotive Service Association Northwest (ASA-NW), both Lovell and Anderson attend various ASA-NW functions. Lovell was also elected last year to the board of trustees of the Vehicle Maintenance Management Conference (VMMC) and presented a session on recycling at the March conference in Seattle.
Both Anderson and Lovell said the availability of an extensive inventory along with seasoned sales representatives are key factors in the ongoing success of LKQ and Keystone.
“Our dismantling operations work to minimize the need for landfills,” Lovell said, allowing for a greener environment, energy conservation, as well as creation of jobs. Anderson, who oversees the Buckley operation, said about 52 vehicles a month are processed at the facility. “All fluids are extracted from recycled vehicles and we utilize recycled fuel to operate our delivery vehicles and used oil to heat production shops.