Capgemini tackles data analytics with new automotive insights laboratory

Capgemini has launched a new Automotive Insights Laboratory, a virtual lab that will use Big Data and analytics to help car manufacturers anticipate customer behavior. The service, part of the company's AutomotiveConnect offering, has already helped OEM clients improve customer targeting, boost warranty claims predictions and increase sales. It also could potentially impact the way automakers approach service.

"The industry needs to improve its ability to combine intelligence about vehicles and consumers to produce insights that can be actioned. Companies should, for example, be able to predict when a consumer will be looking to change their car, and what sort of car they are likely to buy," said Kai Grambow, global head of automotive, Capgemini. "Companies need to start treating data like the new oil powering this industry. Like oil, data can be difficult to find and extract, but becomes a hugely valuable asset once refined."

The lab uses data from macroeconomic trends, geographic habits, social media, and information provided from the manufacturers themselves to improve the development of business strategies, define customer service offerings and identify new opportunities. According to Capgemini, the lab has helped clients improve consumer profiling and targeting, renewal and loyalty, and enhanced predictions for pricing, demand and warranty claims.

According to Nick Gill, chairman of the global automotive sector at Capgemini, the Insights Laboratory evolved out of discussion about the influx of customer and vehicle data now available to automakers, and how to make the best use of it. "We are collecting all of this data to get to know the customer better, and collecting all of this intelligence from the car," Gill says. "What are we going to do with all of this massive, big data that we are going to collect?"

Automakers can approach the company with specific questions or problems, and have their own data mapped to economic and socio-demographic data, along with industry data from Edmunds, JD Power, and other sources. "We've been able to find some amazing things for several clients," Gill says. "In an industry where a one or two percent change is significant, we can come up with solutions that can influence results by as much as 10 or 15 percent."

Among the benefits experienced by clients using the service: campaign revenue increased through four-fold improved customer targeting; a 10 percent cost reduction via smaller target group sizes; doubling the accuracy of warranty claims predictions; and doubling or tripling of sales conversions via up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

"You never have all of the data you want, but you often have more than you need," Gill says. "Many of our insights have come from public domain data. For example, we worked with an OEM on where to market electric vehicles. Just taking information about where people live, their environmental affinities, spending power, what types of houses they live in, all of these things influence the propensity for buying an electric vehicle. You can map that and not only say a certain type of person is likely to be a buyer, but you can focus on specific dealerships because of the qualities of the people living nearby."

So far, most of the projects have focused on the sales side: determining who might buy a new car, when they are likely to buy, and how much they would be willing to pay. Gill says that service is likely to be just as big an area of interest because it is a more predictable operation than sales.

"From the connected vehicle side, there are so many variables," Gill says. "If you have a problem, do you need to solve it immediately or defer it? You can develop some more menu-based services based on those client needs and consumer needs. There is a lot more we can do with the data on the service side that we are not doing today."

So far, telematics data has not played a large role, however. "There's actually very little communication between cars and hubs today," Gill says. "The insurance industry is probably doing more of it than the manufacturers. That's a wake-up call for the industry. I'm nervous that we may let the moment pass us by and other industries like insurance will seize the data opportunity ahead of us. Connected vehicles just aren't that connected today. Not many companies are leveraging that data a meaningful way."

The AutomotiveConnect line of offerings includes consulting, technology expertise and digital services. The Insights Laboratory is the key feature of the Connected Insights focus area, while the Connected Customer module helps manufacturers better segment their customers into the proper channels. The Connected Vehicle focus area keys in on telematics and consumer connectivity in the vehicle.

Gill says the auto industry will continue to grapple with data management as the number of vehicles on the road increases and the number of sensor points available expands.

"We're really at the beginning of a journey, and we're just now seeing what kinds of things we can do with the data," Gill says. "Most consumers are very happy these days to share data, as long as they trust the company and get a benefit from sharing the data. The industry can gain a deeper understanding of the customer and tailor services around that."


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Automotive Aftermarket Technology
News: Distribution
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Market Trend & Analysis
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<p>Capgemini has launched a new Automotive Insights Laboratory, a virtual lab that will use Big Data and analytics to help car manufacturers anticipate customer behavior. It also could potentially impact the way automakers approach service.</p>
<p>aftermarket, Capgemini, Automotive Insights Laboratory, Big Data, analytics, AutomotiveConnect, Kai Grambow, automotive service, warranty claims predictions</p>

Auto Care Association applauds FTC settlement with BMW on warranties

The Auto Care Association applauds the settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the MINI Division of BMW over its violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

As a result of official complaints to the FTC by the Auto Care Association and other organizations, the FTC has charged that BMW’s MINI Division violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers that BMW would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts and MINI dealers to perform maintenance and repair work. 



“It’s against the law for a dealer to refuse to honor a warranty just because someone else did maintenance or repairs on the car. As a result of this order, BMW will change its practices and give MINI owners information about their rights,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. 



The order also:

• bars BMW, in connection with the sale of any MINI Division good or service, from representing that to ensure a vehicle’s safe operation or maintain its value, owners must have routine maintenance performed only by MINI dealers or MINI centers, unless the representation is true and BMW can substantiate it with reliable scientific evidence; and

• requires BMW to provide affected MINI owners with information about their right to use third-party parts and service without voiding warranty coverage, unless BMW provides such parts or services for free.

“Our government affairs department has worked diligently to bring this matter before the FTC and, while it’s been long overdue, we are thrilled to see them finally take action against the clear-cut violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act perpetrated by BMW’s MINI Division,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “It is our hope that all vehicle manufacturers are now paying close attention to their communications with vehicle owners concerning their warranties.”

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act contains a provision that prohibits companies from requiring that consumers – in order to maintain their warranties – use specific brands of parts or specified service centers, unless the part or service is provided to the consumer without charge.


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Auto Care Association
<p>The&nbsp;Auto Care Association&nbsp;applauds the settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the MINI Division of BMW over its violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.</p>
<p>aftermarket,&nbsp;Auto Care Association, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, MINI Division of BMW, Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Kathleen Schmatz</p>

March 2015 ASE Question of the Month

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February 2015 ASE Question of the Month

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Arnott extends lifetime warranty to products sold in European Union

Arnott Air Suspension Products, a leader in aftermarket air suspension products and accessories, is extending its exclusive limited lifetime warranty to the European Union.

Effective January 1, 2015, all new and remanufactured air springs, air struts, shocks, and coil spring conversion kits sold in the European Union are backed by Arnott's Limited Lifetime Warranty. The move marks another milestone in the company's worldwide growth.

Less than one year ago, Arnott Air Suspension Products opened a sales and distribution facility in the Netherlands, dedicated to providing the European Union with local sales and support, faster shipping, payment and bank transfers in local currencies, and an easier way for the growing EU customer base to return and sell air suspension cores to Arnott.

"Arnott's Limited Lifetime Warranty provides European Union customers with even greater peace of mind and enhanced investment protection," said Todd Nash, Senior VP of Global Marketing and Sales. "Arnott's Limited Lifetime Warranty is one of the most impressive in the automotive marketplace, exceeding that of the Original Equipment." 

Arnott Air Suspension Products also supplies new air suspension compressors to the automotive aftermarket, and these units will continue to be backed by a limited two-year warranty wherever they are sold.


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International News
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Arnott Air Suspension Products
<p>Effective January 1, 2015,&nbsp;all&nbsp;new and remanufactured air springs, air struts, shocks, and coil spring conversion kits sold in the European Union are backed by Arnott&#39;s&nbsp;Limited Lifetime Warranty.</p>
<p>Arnott Air Suspension Products, aftermarket air suspension products, air springs, air struts, shocks, coil spring conversion kits, European Union</p>

January 2015 ASE Question of the Month

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ASE’s Winter 2015 testing session will mark the debut of a brand new program – the L3 Light Duty Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Specialist advanced certification. We gave you a sample of what to expect in last month’s ASE Question of the Month and thought we’d do a follow up this month to mark the event.

 

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A new ASE certification will become available in 2015 – the L3, or “Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist”. For testing, the L3 will use a Certified Reference Document rather than a composite vehicle as some other advanced automotive certifications do. Are you ready to add this new certification to your credentials? Let’s try a sample!

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November 2014 ASE Question of the Month

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The November issue is focused on maintenance and general repair. Considering the quality of the cars being produced today and the length of time most consumers are keeping their cars (U.S. fleet average age is nearing 12 years!), this “simple” topic isn’t as simple as it used to be.

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Warranty returns plague aftermarket industry

Last month I spent the better part of two weeks making calls, surfing parts websites and catalogs trying to find a power train control module (PCM) for a pretty common Chevrolet with a not so common PCM.

I finally found the part number I was looking for, had it shipped in from a vendor I don’t normally use, handed it off to my tech and received the bad news a few minutes later – the only PCM I could find – had been installed, was damaged and did not work.

This was an OE remanufactured part that came out of the box with greasy fingerprints all over it and obvious marks where the same hygiene-challenged individual had pried the connectors out of the PCM.  I am pretty sure it was used as a test part by an unenlightened, under-educated technician who did not use any diagnostic tools to decide that the “computer” was bad.

Most likely the displays on any scan tools in this shop that were made within 10 years of the vehicles production date were so dirty you could not have read them to recover a diagnostic trouble code.

You might think I am being particularly harsh, OK, guilty as charged, but it does take a special level of gorilla ineptitude to “brick” a brand new GM computer. Did our knuckle-dragging hero even know he had to install software on the PCM?

He certainly had no problem stuffing it back in the box and sending it back, apparently as a new return or a warranty that was not properly logged so that it did not fall into the hands of someone with the proper skill set to install it.

Maybe it did not go down like that at all but it was apparent that a professional technician did not interface with this particular part and that I was on the hunt again after losing two weeks.

It seems to me that this is the most pervasive problem that our industry faces and not just because it affects me. The crime had been committed before I bought the part. This issue affects the supply chain in an expensive way that ultimately lands on our customers. 

All of us along the supply chain are price takers. We buy the part from the supplier above us for the price the original manufacturer needed to cover costs, R&D, delivery and so on down the line until our customer buys it along with the service part of the transaction from us.

The more “warranty” returns that occur, particularly those that are not really warranty returns, the higher that manufacturer’s cost will go up.

Many parts suppliers have developed fantastic training programs to help repairers understand the process involved in reducing comebacks and warranties by performing the job right the first time. The problem is that the folks that really need to hear that are deaf to the message. In their limited experience the parts are just junk and if they put on an OE part it will solve their problem.

I teach a class for Gates Rubber Company, designed as an answer to high warranty rates on water pumps. When we first began the program I was teaching the class and had a tech that wanted to argue every point with me. He informed me that the water pumps were no good because the original had lasted 120,000 miles and the replacement didn’t even make it out of warranty.

I agreed to take his story back to Gates if he would answer a few questions so I would have the whole picture to show them how he had performed the service. He reluctantly agreed because he had 50 other people in the room glaring at him.  “OK,” I said, “The pump lasted 120K originally. Did it start out with a completely brand new cooling system?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Did it have brand new coolant,” I queried.

“Yes but that coolant is junk.”

“Do you routinely flush the cooling system and replace the coolant when you replace a water pump?”

“I just drain it, put the new water pump on and replace that junk coolant with regular antifreeze.”

There is no need to go much further with this line of questioning because you only have to do a little bit of web browsing to find all the articles that have been cranked out about mixing coolants, leaving old coolant and the debris in the system when replacing a component and the need for complete system service to return it to the condition that it will provide your customer with another 120K of reliability. Oh, by the way, the coolant is not junk, but if you mix it with other coolants or use it where it was not intended to be used, you might think it is.

So, I have given you a couple of common warranty failures or return parts issues. The reasons for the failures are documented and anyone who runs a shop that is successful knows that the uneducated are rapidly outnumbering the educated. The pace of innovation and vehicle specialization will continue and accelerate that trend. As an industry what are we to do?

There is a group of suppliers and concerned shops owners who are working on a plan that may help to at least keep those part change and return experts from damaging local parts store inventories and hopefully reduce costs up and down the supply chain by requiring an explanation of the circumstances behind the warranty claim.

The only loser I see in this scenario are the shipping folks who move parts multiple times that worked when they left the factory and still worked when they returned with greasy fingerprints all over them. 


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Article Categorization
Opinion | Commentary - Distribution
News: Distribution
Distribution News
Article Details
<p>I am pretty sure the&nbsp;part was used as a test part by an unenlightened, under-educated technician who did not use any diagnostic tools to decide that the &ldquo;computer&rdquo; was bad.</p>
<p>auto parts distribution, automotive aftermarket, Warranty returns, power train control module, technician training</p>
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