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"The voice of the customer is central"

Company / Interview

July 20, 2023

"The voice of the customer is central"

Providing best-in-class service to our customers is what LKQ Europe has committed to. As a customer-centric organization, the voice of our customers is essential and important to our decision-making process; it is ultimately the key to success. Alex Gelbcke, Chief Executive Officer LKQ Benelux-France, underlines the importance of the voice of customers with hand how it is lived in his region.



What is your background/career history?

In short: I am a car guy. I have a Business Management Engineer degree and am working now for more than 25 years in the automotive aftermarket sector. I spent 18 years on the supplier side at Tenneco, where I held various functions and concluded my track record in the company as Vice-President EMEA. I then moved to the distribution side in the motorcycle industry, and worked four years at Bihr as CEO. After that, I joined LKQ Benelux-France, where I held the CEO position for the last three years.


Being a car guy, you probably enjoy speedy decisions. How would you describe your management style?

First and foremost I am a big believer in the strength of the team and therefore I am entirely up for collaborative management. I believe decisions thought through and made together, are much more powerful than decision made singlehandedly. I want to bring together strong individuals who bring value to the company. It is rather about combining expertise, and not being the expert at everything myself. I very much value an inclusive management style and aim to be open and approachable. All employees should feel valued for their contribution.


What would you say to someone who has just started working at LKQ Benelux-France?

We are the fastest growing company in the region. Since the acquisition by LKQ in 2013, we have multiplied the size of the company by a factor of four, close to five. Our ambition is to be the most reliable partner in the automotive aftermarket. We are leader in the Netherlands and Belgium, and aiming to become the leader in France. This also means we guide and support our customers through changes in the market. For our employees we want to become the ‘employer of choice’, and offer a workplace where people are happy to work, and where they can grow in a safe environment.


How does the LKQ Europe customer in your region differ from the customer in other parts of Europe, if at all?

The voice of the customer is central to our decision-making process. We have brought our service to a very high standard in order to drive loyalty and stickiness. Our claim across the region is to place LKQ as the best supplier for any customer that wants to be successful in this industry. We achieve this through a win-win culture: we will not win at the expense of customers; but we are all winning together, with our customers and with their customers. This is our mentality, and I am very proud of this. Today, our customers buy on average more than 80% of their needs from us and we are working on offering them 100% of their needs.


How important is sustainability to LKQ Benelux-France and how are you putting it into practice in your region?

For me sustainability is no obligation but comes from the heart. A great example is our Central Distribution Center in Berkel en Rodenrijs, a modern 50,000m2 warehouse with more than 8,500 solar panels. This allows us to run fully autonomous and even give energy back to the grid, as the building has been optimized to low electricity consumption, with more natural light and automatic motion sensor lights. It was rewarded with the BREEAM Excellent Certificate, saving almost 1,000 tons of CO2 every year. Additionally we raise awareness for the topic and launched an Energy Saving Competition for our 3,000 colleagues in the region to come up with ideas. We will all need to work on this important topic together. As we are following a holistic sustainability approach at LKQ besides the environment we are also supporting our people and the communities we operate in. In this regard we set up various activities to support charities and engage our employees to participate.


What do you consider the greatest opportunities for LKQ Europe in your region?

LKQ’s roots lay in the salvage industry contributing to a circular economy. In Europe we have just started with that, for example with our latest acquisition of the Dutch Rhenoy group. We will become a true leading sustainable player when we can offer the full circle: parts distribution, recycling/ remanufacturing and salvage.


What is your message to the other parts of LKQ Europe?

The automotive aftermarket has changed less over the last 70 years, than what change will come within the next ten years. It will be key to cope with new technologies, with new types of ownership around fleets, around vehicles, the intermediaries – only the strongest and most adaptable players will be able to address it. LKQ is in a leading position to cope, and nobody is close to us. Together, with our people, our know-how, our economies of scale, our volumes and our global footprint, we have the power to stay ahead of the curve.


If you could name just one attribute or characteristic from LKQ Benelux-France that is noticeable in the overall company culture what would it be?

Our entrepreneurial spirit. All companies which we have welcomed in our region over the last couple of years own a this entrepreneurship. And, we are proactively working every day to maintain that and to embracing change. This is what is differentiating us from other players. It is making us go the extra mile and outperform others.


What is your favourite European travel destination?

Personally I very much enjoy Portugal, the landscape, the people, the food. Professionally I am drawn to the city of Zug in Switzerland (laughing).


How do you say ‘Keeping you moving’ in your mother tongue?

Since we have two major languages in our region... In French: LKQ vous garde en mouvement ; and for the Dutch speaking colleagues: LKQ houdt je in beweging.

Media contact LKQ Europe

LKQ communications


T +41 41 884 84 84

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LKQ Europe GmbH
Zählerweg 10
6300 Zug