Automotive retail leader
As the auto industry in Australia overall is struggling with a sluggish economy, one automotive retail and services player is going from strength to strength. Inchcape Australia (“Inchcape”) is a leading player in the automotive services sector operating in the distribution, retail and logistics markets with over 1100 employees across Australia.
Part of the London based Inchcape PLC, the company retails vehicles from the Subaru, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Kia stables. Through its subsidiary AutoNexus, Inchcape provides vehicle and premium parts delivery services.
Accelerating a modern automotive retail operation
Growing what was already an established, mature business meant Inchcape needed to find efficiencies, by identifying and removing bottlenecks in business processes.
One such process that needed streamlining was Inchcape’s vehicles’ valuation process. When customers traded in used cars, the vehicle valuation process was to have the sales person perform a check and write key information on a pre-formatted pad. This handwritten note was then used by administration staff to transcribe and enter the data into the company database.
As a manual process, this created multiple points where the valuation data integrity could be compromised. For example, critical information such as Vehicle Information Numbers (VIN) would be incorrectly recorded in the database due to bad handwriting on the trade appraisal pad.
There was also room for quickening the process which, from manually recording vehicle condition to it being typed out and uploaded into the database, would take upwards of 30 minutes.
Further, often when the wholesale trade team (located at a different site) was contacted for its input towards a vehicle’s valuation, the only information they received about the condition of a car was a verbal description of its physical state and other factors such as age and mileage. This led to incorrect vehicle valuations, as what was reported differed from what actually was.
Inchcape was looking for a solution that would allow a single point data capture and entry when recording the key information for a vehicle being evaluated. “The ideal was where the sales person doing the valuation would record the data on a mobile device, as well as capturing images and videos, that would provide an objective and unbiased perspective on the condition of the vehicle”, says Martin Hayes, Business Relations Manager at Inchcape.
“In our search for such a solution, we came across Netresult in New Zealand.”
A neat meshing of gears
“Netresult had an existing product that they easily configured to our specifications. They produced an exceptional system that allowed data, including photos and videos of the vehicle to be captured by the salesperson (performing the valuation) using an iPhone or an iPad.”
This information is immediately synced with the company database and an email alert sent out to all related personnel in the company (including the wholesale team), informing them that a vehicle appraisal had been completed. They can download the information on their respective devices to view photos and the related description, and subsequently place a price on the car on the basis of actually being able to see its physical condition.
“Netresult’s AutoCheck system ensured that 100 per cent of the valuations were recorded in the company database and that the integrity of the data being recorded was not compromised”, says Martin.
“Where it took upwards of 30 minutes of back and forth between multiple entities within the organisation when evaluating a vehicle, the whole process now takes less than 10. The wholesale team and other managers also have up to date visibility on the volume and types of valuations that are being entered into the system on a daily basis.
In comparison to the system we had, AutoCheck now gives us a far more practical and streamlined solution. The reliability of the data being captured is backed up by photographic evidence of the state of the car. It has made everybody’s job so much easier.”
When Inchcape went out looking for solutions that may fit their needs, there were none except AutoCheck that came close to meeting the required specifications. Now Inchcape has the most advanced and efficient vehicle inspection process in Australia. The company is on track to save in excess of 900 resource hours on a per annum basis.
“The AutoCheck implementation has changed the way we do business and given us a definite competitive advantage over the rest of the industry. Instead of a ‘behind closed doors’ sort of negotiation on what the car is worth, it is done with complete transparency. It gives our customers confidence in the fairness of the trade and presents our company as one that is innovative. If they want a copy of the valuation, we can print it off for them straight from the system, with our logo on it”, he says.
What the future holds
From the beginning Netresult could offer more than Inchcape wanted or could even envisage using at the time with the AutoCheck solution, says Martin. “It had everything we wanted, and then more.”
Apart from using AutoCheck for evaluating trade-in cars, it is now also being used to manage staff cars and capture vehicle status when they’re returned to base by staff members and when they leave again.
“We’re currently working with Netresult to further develop the existing system to incorporate an auctioneering module and build our own app, which will replace the current system of having the wholesale buyers come into the yard for car inspections and then having them participate in a silent auction”.
About Netresult Mobility
Netresult Mobility is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner which provides mobile computing solutions to help all parts of the vehicle supply chain, from wholesale financers right through to consumers, improve the speed and quality of their decisions about vehicles. Our mobile solutions are aimed at addressing inefficiencies and providing you with competitive advantage. We adopt a low risk approach to developing and providing solutions by only using proven technology and ‘best practice’ project management methodologies.
|Client name||Inchcape Retail, one of Australia's largest automotive services players|
|Challenge||Streamlining a labour-intensive, manual, paper-based inspection and valuation process|
|Solution||AutoCheck - Netresult's mobile vehicle inspection solution|
|Outcome||A fast, easy, transparent and efficient inspection and valuation process across the company|