How it's done
Dealers pay a core charge on each new part bought from Ford to replace a damaged one. When the original damaged part is returned to Ford, the dealer gets the money from the core charge back – operating exactly like bottle return systems do in some parts of the United States.
To collect the damaged and broken parts from dealers, Ford works with distributors strategically located around the country, such as RMP Powertrain Solutions of Brownstown Township, Mich. The 35,000-square-foot center serves as the central collection point for Ford dealers in Southeast Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
Ford uses a proprietary system involving bar codes and scanners to keep track of every single part collected. Once collected, each part is evaluated for either recycling or remanufacturing potential.Parts recycled are sent to third-party processors and the raw material is resold. When parts are remanufactured, they are cleaned, machined and tested to meet Ford quality standards. Like the raw material that comes from recycling, the parts that are remanufactured can then be sold or used in new applications. In the rare instances when recycling or remanufacturing is not an option, Ford ensures proper disposal. Goering says that whether parts are recycled or remanufactured, the Core Recovery Program has been profitable for Ford – and that it could grow even more. "As the vehicle population grows, so does our business," she says. "We are always considering the business case for different products, which is quite a task when you think about the sheer quantity and complexity of the parts going into today's vehicles." RMP's Rick Rutenbar, warehouse manager, says he hopes to be part of the program's continued evolution. "We have definitely seen an increase in the amount of parts we are picking up," he says. "We've had to hire additional workers and add more hours to adjust to the rapid growth in the number of parts we are picking up."