Copart is fully prepared for the winter ahead, thanks to their confidence in the proven power and capability of their emergency response strategy and market-leading mobile technology.
Phil Briggs, Director of Operation Centres, Transport and Engineering at Copart, tells us more…
How are you prepared for weather-related incidents that inevitably occur in the winter?
We’re fully prepared! We already have a well-established, fast, and effective emergency response strategy in place.
We have adopted UK emergency service techniques to create DIMES, our Dynamic Incident Management Escalation process, which includes experienced Catastrophe Response teams, who provide support in times of floods and other crisis situations, and our mobile Copart Response Unit.
What is the Copart Response Unit?
It’s essentially a mobile ‘pop-up’ office, which includes all the equipment needed to carry out all the necessary tasks at the scene of a flood or any other larger-scale incident. This reduces timescales and enables us to keep tight control over our customers’ vehicles.
How fast can you respond to crisis situations?
Our dedicated Catastrophe Response teams are always on standby and we have a range of mobile technology solutions with the capability to assess, image and process vehicles on-site. This means we can provide immediate response to minimise impact and disruption within the local community and rapidly resolve policyholder claims for our insurance customers.
We have already demonstrated our capabilities over the last 12 months with multiple collections of flood-damaged vehicles across England, Scotland, and Wales – each of which has averaged at over 100 vehicles per collection.
The combination of our DIMES process, extensive UK operational capacity and cutting-edge mobile receiving and imaging devices, meant that we were able to handle incoming vehicle volumes of over 3,000 a day last winter.
How large is Copart’s transport fleet?
Ongoing investment in all areas of our transport fleet is key to providing reduced cycle times and efficient service for our customers.
We’ve recently made significant investment into 150 new DAF and Volvo based purpose-built multi-car transporters and 42 new JCB loaders. This means Copart’s total owned UK wide logistics fleet is stronger than ever before with over 400 vehicles.
We’ve also just invested into additional single car transporters to tackle more challenging vehicle collections from inner-city and rural areas of the country where there are often restrictions on LGV access. These will be deployed across some of our larger nationwide Operation Centres by November.
How much does tech play a part in your transport fleet?
It plays a huge part. We’ve been installing connected technology across our transporter fleet – an integrated solution which combines a fleet management telematics platform and connected cameras for all-round visibility.
This will be particularly useful to us during the winter season, as when our driver arrives at the location, we will be able to see a live view of the scene and conditions the transporter is facing and allowing our transport experts to plan accordingly.
We’ve also invested in additional dynamic route scheduling software. This will enable us to optimise the availability and location of our transporter fleet alongside real-time road data and plan the most effective routes for our drivers.
Copart’s fleet is being fitted with connected forward, rear and side-facing vehicle cameras, side sensors and left-turn warning alarms.
How do you maintain rapid response across the UK?
We have a vast network of experienced Copart Operation Centres, located strategically across the UK. Our storage capacity is unrivalled with our sites in Bristol and Sandwich alone providing over 100 acres.
So, alongside our 400-strong transport fleet, we keep our services moving efficiently across all areas of the country.
We also benefit from the fact that we own all 15 UK Operation Centres and those who work there are Copart employees. That means we can manage any peaks in demand through centrally controlled decisions and have the flexibility to divert vehicles to another Copart Operation Centre if needed.
Are you planning to build more Operation Centres in the future?
We will continue to make significant investment into land acquisition, and the extension and improvement of our existing Operation Centres, to meet growing demand from customers and further strengthen our UK wide storage capacity.
Our ongoing commitment to optimising and acquiring land means we can continue to provide rapid response and unrivalled storage capacity. This is especially important throughout the winter months, as we can respond immediately to local flood incidents, support affected communities by recovering vehicles in a short timeframe and keep costs low for our insurance customers.
What other preparations have you been making ahead of the winter?
Throughout the summer and autumn, we’ve been making many improvements in our Operation Centres, including additional CCTV and security and upgrades to our storage areas, all of which will enhance and improve the protection of our customers’ assets.
We’ve also increased our levels of permanent manpower in our Operation Centres to avoid the use of temporary staff in winter. This means we have more skilled and experienced permanent Copart employees looking after our customers and their vehicles.
Is a potential second wave of COVID-19 likely to impact on your operations this winter?
As we’ve done since the start of the pandemic, we will continue to provide our essential services to the insurance sector, while ensuring we have the necessary measures in place to protect employees working in our Operation Centres.
Our specialist function teams that support operations are already enabled to work remotely and continue to do so effectively. In addition, all our UK critical IT systems are cloud-based and are supported by Copart in both the United States and in India.
We’ve developed a completely contactless digital journey for our sellers and buyers; from apps to arrange collections and deliveries, through to digital vehicle documentation and online payment options. This has allowed us to continue operating safely throughout the pandemic.
So, when large volumes of vehicles come into our Operation Centres following a crisis, we have the all the necessary digital services in place to process these vehicles quickly, which means faster sales returns for our sellers. We offer a nationwide delivery service, or we have over 10,000 collection slots available each week, which our buyers can book online using our Copart Transportation App.
Customers can rest assured that Copart is bigger, better, and stronger than ever…and it will be business as usual, whatever potential challenges lie ahead this winter!