Stephan Otto, GT Motive : Intelligence in repair and maintenance process automation
Stephan Otto is a German-born automotive engineer with experience at Ford and Mercedes. He has an IT background too, which led to his interest in bringing the two domains together. Stephan Otto is now Senior Director International Business of GT Motive, everywhere except Spain, Portugal and France, and is based in Switzerland.
“GT Motive is a 43 year old family company, originally from Spain. Its founder was an insurance assessor who realised that the Spanish market did not have any repair standards, so he set up his own company to rectify this, to aggregate and publish repair information”, opens Stephan Otto our discussion. “At the beginning of this century, a new, truly international database of repair and manufacturer repair information was established. It covers all European markets, centrally driven but with a tailor made localized approach to each market, as you can’t just cut and paste from one market to another.”
So you work with and for leasing and rental companies?
Stephan Otto: “Yes, along with insurance companies, and this is why we have to have the best in class database, because the leasing community demands this for automating its processes as much as possible. We offer two main services: firstly, claims management solutions for insurances and experts, where we are obviously in competition with other companies. And secondly there is SMR, because we have not just repair, but maintenance data as well, what is a nice to have for the leasing industry. Having both collision data and mechanical data in one database is unique. That’s why many of the leading fleet ad leasing companies trust on us, as we guarantee our data quality on a very high level.”
Give us a specific example of where your database helps.
Stephan Otto: “We provide the cost information for all of the repair operation on a very precise level, taking into account that not every operation is duplicated in every repair: our system knows that if you take a wheel off to repair the brakes, you don’t put it back and then take it off again to repair something else in the same area. But the manufacturers’ instructions say ‘take the wheel off’ for both operations, which would be double the labour cost! Our system is intelligent, it knows the wheel is already off… We call this ‘overlap’ operations”.
Don’t the manufacturers change the parts and prices regularly…?
Stephan Otto: “Yes they do, and that is why we update our database on a daily basis for some parts, and weekly for others, monthly at the absolute limit. The leasing industry wanted us to do this. It started when the leasing companies started taking a real interest in running costs and they wanted to automate the process between them and the suppliers to have maximum transparency. With our data and tools, the leasing companies can check on parts and labour costs, making sure they are paying the right money according to the manufacturer, and that the work that is being done is correct. And this also enables the leasing companies to work out a realistic fee for their clients.”
What about purchased large fleets?
Stephan Otto: “A fleet for us is someone who manages the cars, so we can just as easily provide the similar services to a purchased fleet – the financial background of the fleet is not relevant to us. We have also never seen a fleet which is too small for us to deal with. We believe we save 8 to 10% on an average service bill.”
Do you have other services?
Stephan Otto: “And on top of all this, we have created a workflow platform to provide an interface between the leasing company and the workshop. Sometimes we sell this to leasing companies, sometimes they set up their own. And there is a third level of service: some companies want our systems and they also want us to manage the service for them. So we offer data, software and management.”
Stephan Otto: “We expect to be in every European country by the end of 2016, from Scandinavia in the north, to Portugal, Greece and Spain in the south, and the Czech Republic, Turkey and Poland in the east. When we go to a market, we take the manufacturer’s price information for that specific market. But we also ask the manufacturers and importers what they actually do in a particular case or market to make sure our information reflects precisely the repair information of the local market.”
Tell us how you deal with so much technological progress in cars.
Stephan Otto: “It makes things more complex, but we have a very flexible data structure which enables us to adapt our database to new technologies: we were the first to be able to include electric vehicles in our service. Honestly, I don’t see any technology arriving that we can’t deal with.”
What other areas do you see in the future?
Stephan Otto: “Telematics is another area where we are looking at what we can do in the future. The EU has not yet decided how to handle telematics data, because there are so many interests, so much different data. We focus on the vehicle, not the driver, so we will use the data coming from the car, about what needs doing. We will be involved in predictive repair costs estimating for fleets, in partnership with telematics providers.”