Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
If that is the case, the vehicle inspection element of assessing, transporting and selling end-of-lease vehicles is insane!
Netresult Mobility has put this paper together to highlight the issues involved with vehicle inspection and generate discussion over potential solutions. There is no magic answer offered in this paper, but we believe a good first step is having all the various links in the chain discussing it.
Across markets like the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand the car sector is tough, margins are thin and pressure on costs is high. Therefore a simpler, saner approach to vehicle inspection, involving all the elements of the car disposal chain – lease companies, logistics organisations and disposal channels – would save time, reduce cost and deliver process improvements.
Advances in computer software and hardware make relatively simple, highly affordable technology solutions possible.
An inefficient and complicated, labour intensive, situation
A typical vehicle leasing company will be disposing of anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of vehicles annually. The same company will be moving in-life fleet on behalf of clients, possibly storing, valeting and returning vehicles to different drivers. These are involved processes, from initial notification to transportation to storage / servicing or the final disposal through a disposal channel – or maybe a disposal movement to change channel.
Each link in the vehicle movement chain has different aspirations from the inspection:
Leasing companies want to clearly identify any damage or missing parts and be able to quickly and easily assess a charge to the leasor for this. They need control on the vehicles location, movement contractor, and track ongoing vehicle condition through the entire process.
Logistics companies need to track the state / damage of a vehicle at each pick-up point. They need to clearly document existing damage at time of pickup and new damage at time of drop-off to determine when a vehicle was damaged, and then if necessary assign damage costs to any external contractors involved.
Disposal channels are focussed on identifying any smart repairs that need to be done to ready the vehicle for sale, and collect all required vehicle information necessary to list the vehicle. Ideally they need to understand the overall condition before they receive the vehicle.
How many inspections?
Typically a vehicle being moved, stored, valeted, safety checked and returned to the customer, will be the subject of around six different inspections. A vehicle at end of contract, and moved to a disposal channel, will be the subject of three different inspections.
None of these are based on previous inspections or visible throughout the entire logistics supply chain, slowing the process and increasing the possibility of errors being made. Today, even parcel companies track your parcel from dispatch through to delivery, all online, and despite the parcel being handled by many different people, locations and systems. Surely our fleet vehicles are of more worth than a parcel?
Surely there is a better way?
A more efficient, saner approach
There must be a way that Einstein would approve of? A single inspection that is maintained throughout the process, driving efficiencies right along the logistics chain.
Applying relevant technology makes the difference. Expensive, proprietary systems have been replaced by software available over the internet. Software that can be accessed by any computer with a browser, as well as mobile devices like smart phones, software that is more cost effective than paper!
So after a single inspection at the start of the process, (be that a disposal process or a movement requirement) each subsequent vehicle movement would simply need to conduct a quick check to confirm the original inspection was correct. With various types of primary inspections depending on the movement reason, subsequent inspection points are provided with the previous findings to confirm, add to, or upgrade the inspection to a greater level if required. Data is transferred directly to all relevant parties at each handover point, and a track of the vehicles location / movements and damage reports are visible to anyone with a need to see.
This ‘joined-up’ approach to vehicle inspection delivers huge benefits to all the links in the logistics chain.
End User customers would enjoy:
Confidence in the process, and knowledge that the inspections are consistent and accurate
A professional collection / delivery environment
Early knowledge of any chargeable items on the inspection
Leasing Companies would enjoy:
Confidence in the condition of a vehicle
Transparency on vehicle movements
Controlled logistics and vehicle collection / delivery
Cost savings in reduced administration
More efficient and timely charges to their customers
Logistics Companies would:
Have prior knowledge of where vehicles are so they can optimise resources
Waste less time at turn-around by simply confirming a leasing inspection
Know where the vehicles and drivers are
Have more transparency about vehicle state, reducing disputes
Be able to provide their customer and other interested parties with enhanced visibility, improved through the whole supply chain
The Disposal Channel would:
Have knowledge of vehicle condition prior to turn-up, ensuring efficient use of valeters and smart repairers
Increase the efficiency of processing the vehicles through to sale
Be able to post vehicle condition reports and pictures to the web prior to the vehicles arrival
Have confidence in the state of car prior to delivery
Get a vehicle listed faster and potentially into earlier sales
Smart Repairers and Valeting would:
Have early visibility of vehicle return date and time
Have knowledge of vehicle condition prior to turn-up, ensuring repair times can be scheduled
Be able to turn a vehicle round quickly – therefore streamlining the overall process and days in stock
Technology exists and is in use today that would transform the vehicle inspection process, reducing the time, effort and cost of disposing of end of lease vehicles, and creating efficiencies in the overall vehicle logistics supply chain that is unparalleled. Obviously it would take some co-operation amongst the various suppliers, but the benefits to all parties would deliver fantastic efficiencies and cost reductions, and feel a bit saner to everyone involved.
To continue quoting Mr Einstein:
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, and more complex. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.
How can you get started on streamlining your vehicle inspection process?
Reach an agreed inspection methodology with the other partners in your chain
Do an audit of technology platforms used by everyone in the chain i.e. what mobile and fix computing devices do they use with what software
Identify and quantify potential efficiency gains and direct cost savings across the whole process
Build a business case for introducing technology into the chain and get vendors to provide proposals.