ARA Road Trip



DH Systems attended the UK Recyclers Road Trip in USA for the ARA Annual Conference in Baltimore, the road trip took place from 24th – 31st October. It was a great chance to see how US recyclers operate and learn more about their dismantling, parts, distribution and storage. The trip gave us a fantastic opportunity to network and meet US recyclers and also some UK auto recyclers. At the ARA Convention, there was the chance to hear from great speakers and trainers and opportunities to learn of new products and services. There were lots of educational sessions and the ability to visit with hundreds of automotive recycling companies.

What did we get up to?

On the first day we arrived in Boston and got ourselves settled in before an early rise Monday morning where we visited Roberston’s yard in Wareham MA, we got a great trip around the yard and the dealership including some welcoming beer!





On day 3 we drove to Middletown CT to visit Bishops which is set in a stunning New England scenery and to top it off they also had cakes and snacks for us. After Bishops we headed to Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts right in the middle of town, which is nice and compact and makes good use of space – they had some pizza and grinders for us arriving. We then drove to King of Prussia which is the worlds largest shopping centre, past New York City and down the New Jersey Turnpike.





On day 4 we visited Chuck’s Auto Salvage where we were welcomed with a sign outside, we had a good look around the yard and offices. They are a friendly bunch and we had the chance to sample some local food. We then started the drive to Baltimore to register for the ARA.




On Thursday we attended several seminars at the ARA on marketing and the future of the industry. We also visited the show floor and had the opportunity to meet and network with people on the stands. On the Friday we went to a few more seminars and attended the trade show where we got to do further networking. We had a lovely evening meal and awards ceremony where Jason Cross at FAB Recycling won ARA member of the year and Allen Prebble won the ARA Presidents award – congratulations!

Dave still plugged into the matrix








On the last day of ARA convention, we attended some great morning seminars then participated in the ARA power play meet and greet in Market St Baltimore where there was plenty of free beer and food! On Sunday we had a lazy morning brunch at Hard Rock Café then a fantastic trip around Baltimore’s National Aquarium before heading to the airport to fly back to Edinburgh and arrived back to the office at 11am Monday.


Who came with us to ARA?

With us on our road trip was our Managing Director Dave Harcourt, our General Manager and Head of Web Development Steve Robbins and our Head of Special Projects Hugh Leslie.

Get to know Hélder


We have recently welcomed our new Web Developer, Hélder Lopes who joined us back in May. Hélder’s role includes maintaining existing websites, creating new customer websites and developing new technology for all of our websites. Hélder had been living and working in Portugal and has only just moved to Edinburgh. The thing he is most looking forward to is to continue learning and improving his skills as well as adapting to a new reality and getting used to the Scottish accent!

What do you do in your spare time: I like to go for a walk/run, watch a movie and go out with friends.

What is your favourite food?  “Bacalhau com Natas” which is a Portuguese dish, and Pizza of course (lovely Fridays).

Favourite colour:  Blue as my football club – Futebol Clube do Porto


Update from our apprentices


Laura, Jason and Imogen are now half way through their 12 month apprenticeship programme with QA Apprenticeships. They have each been working on new projects and assignments as well as attending their training courses to enable them to pass their apprenticeships at the end of this year. We have caught up with our three apprentices to see what they have been getting up to.


Since our last catch up in February I have been continuing to take care of our social media accounts, updating our website, producing our monthly newsletters and writing news stories. I have introduced our new monthly ‘Get to know…’ article, where we interview a member of staff and write a news story on them to give our customers the chance to learn more about the people behind DH Systems. We recently attended BVSF Annual AGM which I helped prepare for by sending out email communications, posts on social media and I also prepared a presentation. I have recently got our company’s LinkedIn page up and running, which will now feature all of our latest news stories and updates.

All 4 weeks of my training courses with QA have now been completed, I recently did my Google Analytics, email marketing, social media marketing and web development courses. During these courses I learned how to use analytics to accurately measure a websites performance and improve it. I learned how to use email marketing to build and service a high quality community that gets us results and also learned how to write compelling, persuasive content and reach the correct audience. The web development course gave me an understanding of how HTML, CSS and Javascript work and gave me an insight on coding. On the social media marketing course I was taught how to build a targeted fanbase, how to sell more of our products and services through social networks and how to engage with our customers.

I am currently working towards CARS EXPO which we will be attending in July. I am creating presentations, writing content, designing graphics and creating a new brochure for us this year. I am continuing to write weekly news stories, monthly newsletters and posting daily on social media to keep you all updated. I’m looking forward to completing the work for CARS and seeing it all come together on the day.

Below are some screenshots showing the work I have done.

Our ‘Get to know’ articles


Our new, updated LinkedIn page.  Follow us 





The main project I am focusing on at the moment is EZ Parts, it is still currently being developed as I am trying to make it as efficient as possible. I have been continuing to develop EZ Parts, adding features and fixing bugs to make things easier to use. I have recently added a webcam feature which allows users to take pictures of customers with a standard USB webcam to act as a form of identification. 

I have recently completed my HTML, CSS, Javascript and ASP.NET level 3 course. The course was mainly spent creating different types of web pages with HTML and utilizing CSS and Javascript to give the pages extra functionality. We also used ASP.NET to create a more fully functional site, this included multiple pages that had to follow the same design and feature different information.

I am looking forward to seeing EZ Parts launch to customers to gain feedback on my work and to see how the customers are actually using the program. This will help me work more on the programme to tailor it to customers in a way that I can’t currently do in the office.

Here are some screenshots of Jason’s work on EZ Parts.






For the past few weeks, the main project I’ve been working on is a website for our upcoming application EZ-Parts. This is a responsive website that I’ve made from scratch, making this my first big project where I’ve done it all by myself. Between working on this, I’ve been doing smaller tasks whenever they come through, such as adding our client’s social media links to their websites and updating our own website to have up-to-date information on our policies, as well as keeping up with our employees on our meet the team page. I’ve also recently helped implement re-director pages, which are being used with social media to make it easier for clients to upload vehicles to their pages. I have recently created a page for Car Transplants that tells the history of their company which I’m really proud of. We went for a tile design featuring real photos of Car Transplants’ employees and sites, and facts and figures about the company.

Since February I have done two training courses – PHP Fundamentals and PHP Advanced. PHP Fundamentals was a course that focused on the basics of coding with PHP, and also went over how to use MySQL to connect to a database. The following course, PHP Advanced, was targeted at learning how to use PHP as an object oriented language. We then did some work on control management systems including WordPress and Drupal, and there was also more in-depth teaching about using SQL databases.

I’m looking forward to getting the EZ-Parts site finished and getting to view the final product, and seeing it in use once the application is ready for release. I’m also looking forward to working more on client’s sites and adding new features and such when they are needed, as this makes me feel as if the work I’m doing really makes life easier for our clients.

Below are some screenshots of work Imogen has done.

Car Transplants ‘facts’ page


Social media links added to Motorhog’s site11

Contact page on EZ Parts


Get to know our newest employee Kelly


DH Systems welcomes our newest member of the team, Kelly Sinclair. Kelly will be taking care of our Accounts and Administration, her role includes dealing with incoming and outgoing payments, payroll administration, booking staff travel and she will also be assisting customers with general queries. During her time at DH Systems, Kelly is most looking forward to getting to know the team better.

Kelly has previously worked a few summers in Ibiza and has sat next to Howard Donald (of Take That fame) on a plane once!

A few questions for Kelly…

What do you like to do in your spare time? Drink gin, travel, talk myself out of going to the gym.

Pets:  No pets, although my daughter asks for this to change DAILY.

Favourite film: Hairspray (Ricky Lake version only).

We are looking forward to getting to know Kelly and having her as part of the DH team.

Goodbye Duncan



This week was Duncan’s last week with DH Systems after joining our team as our Support Analyst for almost two years, he’s now on a journey to full manhood, who knows how many roads he’ll have to walk down, of course he could just hurry up and pass his driving test and he could speed this up.

To celebrate Duncan leaving us, and after checking his pockets, the team went out on Saturday to a Flaming Grill pub where Duncan managed to fail not one, but two of the food challenges.

A few words from Dunc.

” My time at DH Systems has been great, I’ve gained valuable experience in the IT field dealing with all sorts of impossible tasks! I’ve also enhanced my customer service skills by dealing with DH’s clients that are all over the UK, some of which I’ve became friends with. I hope I’ve left my mark at DH and I won’t be forgotten about, and you can all reminisce about my stories of my questionable youth.

Pizza Friday will be missed, there is no doubt about that, but I won’t miss the trains that are always running late or when there’s 400 people crammed into a carriage that’s only been designed for 100 people.  I will miss travelling in the toilet to avoid buying a ticket.

I wish everybody at DH Systems the best going forwards, from the new apprentices to all the developers and the big cheese at the top – Dave. I have no doubts there will be an increase in clients and existing clients upgrading to the .NET system to keep everybody busy and wages going up (and Dave’s luxurious skiing trips). Thanks for putting up with my s**t for the last 21 months.”

We wish Duncan good luck and all the best in his new role.

Some pictures from Saturday…

du       duncan 2 duncan 3      dunca n 4


Get to Know Graeme


The next member of staff we have chosen to question for our ‘Get to know…’ articles, is Graeme, so let’s learn more about him. Graeme joined DH Systems almost 8 months ago, as our Documentation and Training Manager. Before joining us back in August 2015, he worked for the Scottish Prison Service. Now a day in the life of Graeme consists of keeping online “User Guides” up-to-date and providing on-site training for customers when required.

Outside of work, Graeme spends his time playing most sports. In the winter he plays squash and in the Summer he enjoys playing golf, hill-walking and touring around Scotland. He has recently been selected to play for Scotland at Squash in the next month’s Masters Home Internationals.

What is the best part of your job?

The variety of work; learning new skills; watching DH Systems’ products evolve, adapt to technological changes and improve; the opportunity to travel across the UK visiting customers for training.

What is your favourite film?

The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption.

What is your favourite song?

Too difficult to choose… “Losing my Religion” by REM or “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin… plus many, many more.

Interesting fact: Graeme used to live in Gabon, Africa.

Here are a few pictures of Graeme…

bbq1           saints1

CWG1               Brae2

Pets of DH Systems


Can you guess which pet belongs to which one of our DH Systems team members?

419px-Paw-print.svgScroll down for the answers…


















Imogen attends ‘Girls in Tech’ session at Microsoft


Our apprentice Web Developer Imogen, attends  ‘Girls in Tech’ session, at Microsoft’s headquarters in Edinburgh. This is the first session following the recent launch of the ‘Girls into Digital World’ programme run by Skills Development Scotland. This programme was developed to give girls an understanding of the opportunities they have to begin a career in digital technology and allows them to meet inspirational women in tech.

The kick-off session consisted of a speed-networking style event and gave a group of girls from various schools the chance to speak to tech apprentices and understand the different routes to start a digital career. They also had the chance to network with women who are role models in the tech world.

Imogen was joined by Cristina at QA along with two other QA Apprentices and spent the day speaking to students about her Web Developer apprenticeship and explained what we do here at DH Systems. She discussed how she works within our company and gave the students advice on why she thinks taking an apprenticeship is a great way to start a career in tech. At the end of the session the apprentices answered questions from the students and spoke about their different experiences in their roles. There was also some free pizza enjoyed by all!

Here are some pictures from the session…

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Imogen meets Annabelle Ewing


This week is Scottish Modern Apprenticeship week 2016 and as part of this, Skills Development Scotland have launched a ‘Girls into Digital World’ programme. Girls into Digital World has been developed to show girls that a career in digital technology is something they can consider and see as an option. The programme gives them a taste of a what a day in the life of a technology professional is like and also allows them to take the opportunity to meet women who are inspirations in the tech world.

Our apprentice Web Developer Imogen Anderson was invited by Cristina Comas at QA Apprenticeships to go along to attend the session at Microsoft’s Scottish Headquarters. Imogen and a group of female apprentices were there to answer any questions from High School students who have an interest in beginning a career in Digital Technology.

Each of the apprentices spoke about why they chose to do an apprenticeship and what they are enjoying in their current roles. They discussed the different options the students have when leaving school, the barriers faced as females in the industry and why girls are less likely to take computing in school. Imogen also got the opportunity to meet Annabelle Ewing, the Minister of Youth and Women’s Employment in the Scottish Government. Annabelle spent some time asking the apprentices and students questions to get to know them more.

The session was a success and Imogen enjoyed getting to hear about other apprentice’s work and helping the High School students feel more at ease about embarking on their career in Digital Technology.

Here are some pictures from the day!

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Annabelle Ewing, Minister of Youth and Women’s Employment.


imogen and apprentices

Two of QA’s Apprentices, our Web Developer Imogen and Cristina from QA.


A&I Annabelle Ewing and Imogen

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Steve’s 6th Year With DH Systems!



On 25th February, 6 years ago, our General Manager and Head of Web Development, Steve Robbins joined the DH Systems team. In the past 6 years we have achieved a lot at DH Systems including creating our very first auction site which was launched by Steve. You can see some of our achievements above, including the amount of vehicles sold at auction, the amount of bids, the amount of emails we have sent, how many page views we have had and the most popular vehicle makes, all in the past 6 years.

Congratulations on your 6th year with DH Systems Steve and thank you for all your hard work!