Andras Lorincz admits that his illustrious career in the automotive industry began purely by chance. “It’s really a big coincidence,” he says with a laugh.
“One of my very good old friends was working for one of the Romanian wholesalers and told me, ‘Look, I really enjoy this company – why don’t you start working with us?’”
Lorincz insisted he didn’t know anything about cars or spare parts, but his friend reassured him that they would teach him everything.
“We see that digitalization is playing a huge part; electrification is here.”
Two decades, and several companies later, Lorincz hasn’t looked back.
“I started from the bottom. I went from Customer Service to Sales Representative, then to Business Development, to Branch Manager, then to Sales Manager and then, finally, to CEO,” he explains. “So I would say that there are not many things in the wholesale business that I did not physically do. I have quite a vast experience of all aspects.”
In 2020, Lorincz joined LKQ Europe, a distributor of automotive aftermarket parts for cars, commercial vans and industrial vehicles, as CEO for their Central Eastern Europe region. LKQ Europe spans 20 countries, with 26,000 employees and 500,000 stocked parts. In Lorincz’s role, he manages more than 4,500 people.
While others may balk at such a figure, he says he feels blessed to be working with such an immense number of employees.
“I’m a very open, transparent and direct person and I think people realized this quite early,” he says. “They managed to open up to me from the beginning, even if it was only virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our relationship has grown.”
Going Above and Beyond
Lorincz says that LKQ Europe is constantly looking for new ways to help its customers, taking advantage of innovations and going above and beyond – not just at the time of purchase, but afterwards as well.
“Something very important, of which we are very proud, is that for us, delivering parts to the customers is not just a commercial relationship. We want to give them full solutions, which also includes giving workshop solutions,” he says.
“We are supporting many garage networks, which means that as well as the spare parts and equipment, we are giving them tools, technical training and the knowledge they need to work on the cars. It’s not a transactional relationship, it’s beyond that. We offer everything we can to make it a cohesive environment.”
“Delivering parts to the customers is not just a commercial relationship.”
In order to truly be the best in the business, LKQ Europe ensures that it’s utilizing experts across the board, not just from within its own organization, to truly build the entire ecosystem.
“Our USP [unique selling proposition] is that we understand every single field that we work in, how to translate that to best in class, and then to standardize it across the other countries to offer our customers the best service that we can,” he says.
Therefore, an integral part of the LKQ Europe machine is the more than 1,000 companies that make up their supplier network, from key players such as braking systems producer Brembo, to industrial design specialists ContiTech.
“Historically, because we are in the middle of the value chain of spare parts, we rely on very close cooperation with suppliers,” Lorincz explains. “Because it’s not only that we need to buy the parts from them to provide to our customers, it’s also about the other valuable things that suppliers can offer us, such as technical information and training.”
Lorincz emphasizes that through initiatives like annual strategic summits with important suppliers, a deeper level of partnership and understanding can be achieved, benefitting not just each company, but also the industry as a whole.
“We even go one level beyond that, with strategic think tanks with indirect as well as direct suppliers,” Lorincz says. “This year in Prague, we invited not only our spare parts suppliers, but also logistics providers and technology leaders in digitalization and electrification, to understand how we can work together and offer something to the industry.”
“People are our most important asset. We rely on our people to be at the forefront and to deliver the business for us.”
This is especially crucial, he explains, as the automotive industry evolves. “Fleets are getting bigger and bigger. We see that digitalization is playing a huge part; electrification is here, and then there are all the integrated services that we can provide around the car,” he says.
“We don’t want to do all these things on our own. We are working with all the suppliers that we have to understand how we can offer all of this together for our customers.”
A Continental Focus
Now, as LKQ Europe shifts its focus to improving logistics continent-wide, Lorincz says this development will only serve to make them more useful to customers. “We are a very customer-centric organization – and this isn’t just a nice logo. We listen to our customers and understand what their requirements are, and based on this, we are always adjusting our solutions to them,” he says.
“I believe that by having eight countries in the region, we need to think about logistics without borders to serve the customers from the best position that we can, rather than just looking from a country-to-country perspective.”
When it comes to LKQ Europe’s superpower, Lorincz believes that this diversity is ultimately what makes it as strong as it is. “I have the fortune to work with eight countries, which means eight languages more or less, and eight different cultures. That’s an asset for us since we can draw on all of this knowledge and diversity,” he says.
“And that comes back to the logo that we are always advertising; that people are our most important asset. We rely on our people to be at the forefront and to deliver the business for us.”
“We listen to our customers and understand what their requirements are.”
As a result, Lorincz sees it as his responsibility to empower employees to ensure they can do their job successfully. This includes offering opportunities to develop new skills, but he explains that his employees’ happiness at work matters, too.
“This transformation and this way of working is really important for me.”