What is eSpares all about
Who Owns eSpares?
Partsfinder Ltd trading as eSpares is 100% owned by Alcam Family Trust. Keith Tressler is a trustee of the Alcam Family Trust and is also the Managing Director of Partsfinder Ltd. There is no ownership stake held by any other third party, insurer or parts company and eSpares is a registered Trademark.
Partsfinder Ltd was purchased from Andrew Asher in 2004. Andrew completed the original software development and when it was taken over by the current owners, there was no business being transacted on the site.
At the time of purchase, Keith was the Managing Director of a motor vehicle claims management company that was responsible for managing the repair process for vehicle insurance claims on a nationwide basis. This business managed a significant number of motor vehicle claims and the reason behind purchasing Partsfinder Ltd was to allow integration of the parts procurement process within this management company. The concept was a simple one, to conduct business through a central online platform, find parts simply and effectively, and be able to record spend on parts and make process efficiency gains.
In practice, this was a big challenge. The original platform purchased did not quite deliver what we were looking for and it immediately required changes to be made. Suppliers needed to be found to supply parts for prospective purchasers of parts and we needed panel repairers to support the platform to procure their parts.
In the Beginning
IT personnel were found and engaged to continue development of the site. Sales and marketing personnel were put on the ground to visit suppliers throughout New Zealand, with a view to sign them on to supply parts for parts requests and panelbeaters were asked to purchase parts online for managed repairs.
Suppliers were reasonably receptive from the outset. However, convincing the panel industry to support online procurement was not easy for a whole host of reasons. One of the most basic barriers was simply that computers were not used to a large extent within their businesses at that time. On top of that, we were still finding our own way developing software to suit our purpose. Needless to say, the initial take-up was not great although we persisted with continued development of the site as we believed in the overall concept and benefits for all parties concerned.
2005 flew by and during 2006, we started to gain some momentum and usage of the eSpares site was on the up. Later in 2006, the insurance claims management business contract ended and eSpares was essentially left standing on our own two feet. Very importantly, a number of panel users the claims management company had introduced to eSpares stayed and continued to support eSpares. Many of these users still use eSpares today. We appreciate their business and ideas for improvement, with some of these users having supported us since 2004.
Focus on Insurance Business
Rightly or wrongly, from 2004 through 2008, we focused almost all of our attention on the insurance market as we believed e-procurement could provide significant efficiency gains in this business.
Many hours, weeks and actually years passed, presenting our business case time and time again to insurers located in New Zealand. The indications were very promising but signing an agreement was ever elusive.
General Automotive Repair Industry
Automotive repairers began to find eSpares and simply started using our service and we became talked about and used within this industry. With the benefit of hindsight, we became too one-dimensional focused on the insurance business, when on our doorstep were automotive garages finding eSpares and using our services. Late in 2007, I recall having a telephone discussion with Darryn Crothall from SAM Workshop Management Systems Ltd. It immediately became apparent that we had some common ground and after a short meeting, it became obvious that we could conduct business together.
After a very short period of discussions and planning, we reached an agreement in early 2008 to integrate eSpares parts finding service within SAM software.
This immediately introduced eSpares to users of New Zealand’s premier software provider to the automotive and related industry. SAM currently supports 3,000 business locations and almost 9,000 users across a range of industry sectors every day.
This was a huge boost for us, being able to reach an agreement so quickly, followed by a simple and effective implementation of the agreed plan. I can’t speak more highly of Darryn Crothall from SAM for giving us the opportunity to work alongside him and allow eSpares to provide a part finding platform to all of their customers.
Ongoing Software Development
Of course, while we were focusing on trying to generate sales and higher use of our site over this period, we continued to develop the eSpares site, as we continue to do today.
Our software development was hugely challenging for us having had no experience in this area. We soon found that we needed to have a full time technology specialist working within our business and someone that could continually enhance our on-line services.
Eric is still working with us today having worked for eSpares on a full time basis since 2006.
Having concluded the integration work with SAM, another opportunity appeared which would radically improve the time it took to place a request and give our suppliers improved vehicle identification information so they could quote more accurately.
We met with the guys from Motorweb Services and after a couple of meetings we signed an agreement with them to download Basic Vehicle Information (BVI) data into the eSpares system, early in 2009. This meant that users requesting parts could enter their vehicle registration into the eSpares site, we would retrieve the BVI from the NZTA database via Motorweb Services automatically. This was a huge leap forward as we were instantly able to obtain vehicle details, including chassis and engine numbers and other relevant information online. This was a hit with our users and we continue to use Motorweb Services to obtain this information today.
Greg and Chris at Motorweb Services were great to deal with and continue to be.
Insurance Industry Breakthrough
Late in 2009, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vero NZ Ltd to become a preferred e-procurement system. eSpares is still one of only two external providers within their business.
Collision repairers working with Vero were able to use eSpares to procure parts. This provided eSpares with another great opportunity to conduct business within the insurance market.
Success at Last?
We had made significant development progress to the site, some key alliances and we are set to hit the ground running. What we had learnt about the automotive industry is that change does not happen quickly. 5 or 6 years ago the industry wasn’t ready to freely engage with technology and use it in their business on a day to day basis. More recently, technology used in the workshops has improved greatly, but old habits seem hard to break at times. But there is change now and nearly everyone uses the internet today in their business.
The cost of continually developing the site was not a cheap exercise and between 2005 and 2009, it would sometimes seem like two steps forward and one back.
Were we still on the right track?
In 2010, we decided to continue the ongoing development of eSpares. We had many ideas that we wished to introduce, and these would allow us to become More Than Just a Parts Finding business.
Amidst the global financial crisis, we met George from Debtor Info, the leading credit services company. What we particularly liked about their services was that part of their credit management facilities allows vendors to update information about overdue debtors. We believed that their services could assist suppliers and trade users at very little cost and to help manage their cash flow.
Accordingly, we have integrated links within our system for our users to support Debtorinfo.
The following 2 years have been spent refocusing a lot of our energy into continual development of eSpares.
In October 2011, we were able to post up the new look eSpares that includes many new features for our users. A lot of the new features were based on feedback from our loyal users and we are now in a position to say that we are not only a parts-finding service but more than that.
Right now, the most recent upgrades have been accepted very well by users and we are seeing growth in all areas of our business. This new version of eSpares provided a portal for us to promote our services to the public users to find their parts and to utilise our significant database in the automotive and panel industry to fit the parts that they may have found on eSpares.
It has been fantastic to see so many public users utilising eSpares.
Where To From Here?
Our focus is still on the ongoing site development and growth to achieve a real return on investment.
It is a numbers game for us as we operate on thin margins and to continue that growth, we recognise that we need to have a business that provides a service that users want, they can rely on and enjoy using.
Over the next year or so we will focus on marketing our services, building more brand awareness and letting people know about eSpares and what we are all about.
- To be the best in the business at what we do.
- To be more than just a parts finding business.
- To build enduring relationships.
- To provide leading edge technology solutions.
Our Core Values
- To conduct business in a manner that promotes a high quality of service and professionalism.
- To act with respect and integrity.
- To respect our users’ and our associates’ needs and value being open and honest.
- To act fairly and responsibly in respect of confidentiality.
- To provide excellent service and communicate effectively.
- To encourage feed-back aimed at enhancing our service and maintaining exceptionally high standards.
Managing Director – Keith Tressler
Keith is the Managing Director of Partsfinder Ltd trading as eSpares.
Keith is married to Judith and they have two teenage boys. One is attending Waikato University and the other, currently in his last year at college, also plans to attend Waikato University in 2013.
Keith grew up in the Whakatane area and after leaving high school, completed a motorcycle engineering apprenticeship and thereafter held numerous positions within that industry, Workshop Management, Sales Management and Shop Manager. Keith moved into other automotive industry sectors including general motor vehicle repairs, heavy machinery repairs and held various management positions within these sectors.
During that time, he was keenly involved in motorcycle racing and motor performance enhancement and suspension and frame modification.
During the 1980s, Keith became involved in a drystock development farm which lead to him becoming involved in a large scale angora goat breeding operation. This farm was one of the very first to conduct embryo transplants. This was a successful venture and Keith sold out of that business in 1986.
In 1988, he became involved in the insurance motor assessing business and soon thereafter became a shareholder within the company, Combined Bay Assessors Ltd, and he is still the managing director of that business currently along with holding a managing director position with Partsfinder Ltd trading as eSpares.
Keith is a dedicated family person and his interests involve almost all sports, rugby and motor racing in particular, he still manages to ride a motorcross bike occasionally at this stage.
Technology Manager – Eric Atkin
Eric has been with us since 2006 and he continues to be involved in the day to day technical aspects of the business and oversees ongoing development of the site.
Phone: 07 3463214
Administration Manager - Heather Mead
Heather has also been involved in the business since 2006 providing administration services and making sure we meet compliance obligations and payments on time.
Phone: 07 3463214
We are positive about the future, the global financial crisis is not yet over but I am sure we will come through that over time and things will change from this event.
We are passionate about our business and the services that we are able to provide and we are committed to continuing to develop the site for our users and to grow our business.
If you are interested in utilising our services, it is free to find parts, simply go to the eSpares home page and start your part request.
If you want to become a supplier or are interested in learning more about becoming a supplier on eSpares, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are opportunities for specialist suppliers to participate in eSpares along with general parts suppliers for all makes and models of vehicles.
There is also the opportunity to advertise on eSpares to promote your business whether you are directly related to the automotive industry or otherwise. Email us about advertising opportunities.
Lastly I would like to personally thank everyone who has, and continues to, support eSpares including purchasers, suppliers, staff and associates. Without your support we would not have a business.
Phone: 07 3463214
Motor Trade Association
SAM Workshop Management
Vero Insurance Ltd
Motorweb Services Ltd
100% Kiwi Owned – More than just a parts finding service.