Copart UK Managing Director, Jane Pocock tells us how the industry leader in used and salvage car auctions online have handled the COVID-19 situation so far and what they will continue to do, in order to maintain the company’s smooth running.
We are certainly experiencing unprecedented times…but the word ‘unprecedented’ suggests being unprepared, and while of course, Copart was not expecting this pandemic, we’ve proven ourselves to be incredibly resilient and adaptable during it.
Deemed an essential service to the insurance industry, we had to react very quickly to the situation and ensure we could protect our people at the frontline while continuing to collect vehicles from around the country.
Having Operations Centres at 15 UK locations meant that we could keep our people social-distancing and operating safely; and we knew that in the event of a COVID-19 related issue at one of our locations, we could close it if necessary and disperse the vehicles to another.
Although we carried on collecting vehicles on behalf of our insurance customers, we took the difficult decision to close our Operations Centres to our Members. Normally, Members have the option to collect vehicles won at our online auctions, but in adherence with Government advice, we had to stop allowing access. What we did do very successfully, and continue to do, is focus our UK wide fleet towards deliveries, enabling our Members to continue buying.
We take the safety of our people very seriously and have invested in as much PPE as possible so that anyone in an exposed position is looked after. Our senior management team reviews the situation daily and we are communicating updates externally and internally. It’s been an incredible learning experience for us all and we’ve taken the opportunity to execute on our Business Continuity Plans, re-visit processes and improve our way of doing business.
As our processes are primarily digital and our ‘customer journey’ is a completely online experience, our customers experienced almost no disruption. At the frontline, we provided additional layers of protection for our people, adapted to contactless interactions where needed and switched to a delivery-only service for vehicles won at auction. Despite the wider crisis, a relatively smooth transition.
Many of our insurance customers have complimented us for how we have continued providing services – a testament to the Copart team. I’m incredibly proud of all the people that work at Copart for how they have carried on with such resilience.
Over 150 Head Office employees not directly involved in operational processes have reverted to remote working, which our IT team worked around the clock to facilitate within a single week.
Being a global business, we were already well practised at using technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and we’ve fully utilised these tools to communicate regularly with remote workers. Video technology has allowed us to be part of each other’s lives and even meet each other’s families. I certainly feel it’s made working relationships stronger and deeper in a period of our lives we will never forget.
Technology has played a huge role in helping us to continue operating throughout this period. On the ground, we’re a logistics business, but we’re also very much a tech business. From the moment we’re assigned a vehicle, it’s a digital journey. We have apps to arrange collections, vehicles are documented digitally, and they are sold via our online auction website. We even arrange delivery and collect payments online. We’ve always had innovative tech solutions, but we’ve taken the opportunity to accelerate the introduction of new projects to further support a fully contactless service for our customers, including our Transportation App which enables contactless processing and speeds up Total Loss decision making for insurers.
As for securing new business, we haven’t let the situation slow us down, but we’ve had to adapt our approach. Previously, we could engage with new customers in face to face visits to our Operations Centres, but with social distancing measures in place, we have quickly adapted to show the services we provide as a virtual journey.
As we have patented auction technology unique in our environment and a global buyer base, we can demonstrate that more effectively via video content; showing customers our technology and the size and scale of our facilities. It’s new and innovative and it’s got people thinking in a very different way.
In the future, I think Copart will stand out as a great example of managing a business through a significant crisis. Although we have shown our resilience through previous events, COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to demonstrate that Copart really is robust and adaptable in a crisis. True traits of a market leader and I’m proud of what we, like many of our customers, have achieved during COVID-19.
Visit Copart UK at www.copart.co.uk