Shaping the future  

Top event in Wembley: STAHLGRUBER and other European subsidiaries at the LKQ Europe management conference

LKQ Europe invited 250 of its top managers to a future-oriented management conference at the start of July in Wembley. Common strategies included the primary goal of the European automotive after-market market leaders for car and commercial vehicle spare parts. The future success of garage customers in the changing environment of the independent parts market should be safeguarded. LKQ Europe looks back on an inspiring and successful event.Wembley seemed to be the best location for the first European management conference - after all, it’s symbolic in many ways: it stands for team spirit, championship and the Champions League, but more than that, it’s also the place where LKQ’s European success story began in 2011.

Joe Holsten, current chairman and first LKQ Corporation CEO and Nick Zarcone, current CEO, took part in the event as honoured guests and set a strong, motivating pace. Important LKQ Europe business partners such as Schaeffler, Hella, Mahle, Varta and many more appeared at the conference as sponsors, sending a clear signal in terms of esteem.  

Recognising change and preparing for necessary developments - these were some of the key messages at the event. This was tied to Charles Darwin’s discovery that it’s not the strongest, biggest or most intelligent of a species that survives, but those who respond best to change.

How should long-term trends and clearly observed market trends be implemented and used in a way that brings about improvement for LKQ’s client offering? Another important key question at the conference. Examples of these trends include market consolidation, vehicle manufacturer strategies, online trading, a growing shortage of qualified mechanics and vehicle data processing, including technology that extends from autonomous driving to electric cars.

John Quinn, LKQ Europe CEO, emphasised the need to embrace change: “It is certain that we can’t assume that the coming years will be like the past, because things are changing faster than ever.” We have to anticipate these opportunities and act. We all need to recognise the urgent need for adaptation and change, because it gives LKQ a big opportunity to actively shape the independent parts market to the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Conference attendees agreed that the main key to success is to focus even more on customers and to help them to understand and navigate the changing environment.

Arnd Franz, LKQ Europe COO, sees the solution as a kind of complete package. “We have to offer our garage customers everything they need to have a successful business: service, support, equipment and training for the new areas that have sprung up from technological change. As LKQ, we have to grow in order to achieve the economies of scale needed and to be able to offer our customers solutions to ensure they stay competitive. We have to support them with logistical networks and allow them to be flexible and fast when dealing with customers. We also have to equip them with brands and concepts that drivers know and can rely on.”

Nick Zarcone, LKQ Corporation CEO, made a clear appeal to senior executives in his talk. It’s a fact that supporting employees in the future is just as vital as supporting customers: “We have to recruit the best talent that embodies our values. And we have to help our employees manage the change mentioned whilst at the same time putting customers first.”

Joe Holsten, LKQ Corporation co-founder and Chairman of the Board, emphasised trust in his statement. Joe’s message was particularly apt as LKQ unites the best companies in the industry, each with its own culture, to achieve the next level of development together as ‘one LKQ’. “Trust is the key to management. The trust in ourselves, our suppliers, in top management and the trust that our customers place in us. And we have to earn this trust every single day,” Joe Holsten says.

About LKQ Europe:
LKQ Europe, a subsidiary of LKQ Corporation, is Europe’s leading distributor of spare vehicle parts for cars, commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles. With more than 27,000 employees in 21 European countries, LKQ Europe regularly supports 700,000 customers through its network of 1,100 branches. The company achieved revenue of around EUR 4.6 billion in 2018. As a whole, this subsidiary of the American LKQ Corporation is the leading distributor of spare parts in Europe’s automotive after-market. It is represented regionally by the renowned groups Euro Car Parts, Sator Group, Rhiag Group, Elit, AutoKelly and STAHLGRUBER Group, as well as recycling specialists Atracco. LKQ also holds a minority shareholding in the listed company Mekonomen, which is headquartered in Sweden.