The company has ended field trials in which it has equipped staff tasked with collecting end-of-lease vehicles with latest generation PDA devices.
The collectors have been trained to use these handheld terminals, which have an in-built digital camera, to assess and record a vehicle’s damage ready for instant transfer to the company’s main servers, from which it will notify its clients of the necessary repairs and cost.
The inspection can be tailored to clients’ needs if they are experiencing a particular pattern of damage with vehicles.
“It will save a lot of time,” says Graham Howes, sales and marketing director at Inchcape Automotive. “It is more efficient, flexible and offers total control, in that as it is a scripted inspection the operator cannot miss an area because the system will prevent him from continuing the inspection.”
The next phase, says Howes, will be to incorporate Thatcham or Glassmatix estimating data on parts pricing to give leasing business an instant indication of the refurbishment costs.
He believes the PDA devices will provide more reassurance to clients of its Autograph Inspect and Collect service, as they can be monitor the status of their vehicle more easily.
“We wanted to be able to track the asset, and with the PDA we can triangulate its location like a mobile phone. This means we can know exactly where the PDA is, and therefore the operator with it and the vehicle he is with at any point so that our clients can be assured of the status of their assets,” says Howes.