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Audatex starts new journey

Audatex UK has invested £5m in developing an AudaNet platform with the aim of providing a central hub for all its package of software solutions used by bodyshops and insurers.

The Reading-based business is also doubling its professional services team to around 20 people, and they will work in the field demonstrating the features of the whole range of products available to bodyshops.

And AudaExpress, another system just launched, enables bodyshop and insurer customer-facing staff to gain immediate access to information about the claim, in order to keep vehicle owners informed of their repair.

Paul Tucker, managing director, describes his products as now offering a complete “claims journey” for companies in the accident repair sector.

AudaWorkstation will be shut down next September. This means that by then, all repairers using the system must migrate to the new AudaEnterprise estimating package. Tucker says migration is “running ahead of schedule” and he hopes all 3,500 bodyshops will come on board. Already 40% of estimates by volume are going through the new system.

Bodyshops will need to have a reasonably modern PC and Broadband internet connection to use AudaEnterprise, but Tucker says they will receive improvements in efficiency and speed of claims processing in return. In his promotional brochure for AudaEnterprise is a testimonial from Neil Kirk, managing director of Howard Basford, who says he’s saved £3,000 per year in call costs and line rental.

Pressed on the issue of repairers’ complaints about the quality of information provided by Audatex’s estimating systems, Tucker says he is unaware of any instances but insists the company would act on all feedback.

“We’re very happy with the accuracy of the data supplied from vehicle manufacturers,” he adds. “If there were anomalies they would be fixed. There’s a process already in place for repairers to report back to Audatex and we would then report back to the manufacturer.”

Bodyshops have access to a helpdesk team of around 20 people, and the Audatex Industry Forum was started earlier this year for trade associations to consult with the software house.

He says repairers using Audatex products need to do their part in making sure their own estimators are skilled and are working correctly. “One of the things I push for is more investment in training. Audatex offers a series of training courses through our AudaSkills package to help the repairer, no matter what their level of expertise,” he adds.

He suggests that many bodyshops would benefit from benchmarking. This enables managers to assess their estimators’ performance against an industry-agreed estimate. Any anomalies which result can be used to identify any training needs for a particular candidate.

One addition being launched in January which Tucker says will help is AudaVin. This is an automated vehicle identification system, using DVLA data, which allows an estimator to input either a vehicle’s registration number of VIN number. This will help bodyshops avoid delays making estimates on the wrong model of vehicle and ordering the wrong parts.

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