Design for Roadside Repair

We are dedicated to working with our customers and helping them find cost savings in their businesses. We see this as a key benefit from our services and as something delivered beyond the simple working brief.

Rob Anstruther, Lead SERP Engineer, USE* Automotive
In 2008, while supporting a prestigious OEM client with SERP (Service Evaluation and Repair Process) Design for Service support, the UK Service Evolution team identified a roadside recovery project which in the long run would aid in reducing warranty spend and increase customer satisfaction for our client OEM’s customers.

The Challenge

Most new vehicles today are sold with a manufacturer’s warranty and options that range from added accessories, trade-in deals, cash-back, or roadside recovery assistance. Roadside recovery is part of the purchase of most automotive OEM vehicles, and full support is given throughout the warranty period for the vehicle.

In particular, for our client, roadside recoveries amount to a warranty cost, where roadside repairs do not. The initial cost for a recovery comes from the call-out and relay of the vehicle to the customer’s home or a local dealer, as well as the provision of a courtesy car. Thereafter our client will pay the warranty costs on the repair itself.
The Solution

In contrast, roadside repairs incur no relay costs, and no dealer repair costs. They generally deliver better customer satisfaction too because inconvenience for the customer is minimised.

Working with our client, the USE* SERP team saw this contrast as an opportunity.

The team laid out a ground plan to gather as much information as possible about the finer details of roadside recovery. Several meetings were set up between our client’s aftersales team, their suppliers for roadside assistance services, and ourselves. The first hurdle was to understand which repairs the recovery agents could currently complete by the roadside and which repairs they could not (due to access, time or other practical constraints).

From here the team went on to highlight all possible roadside repairs. The recovery suppliers completed and returned a questionnaire relating to each current or possible repair.  Both teams then prioritised viable roadside repairs as a basis for a Design for Roadside Repair strategy. This was partly achieved by cross-referencing several data sets of time, tool requirements, parts requirements, component locations and assessed practicality. Armed with this information it was possible to influence design changes with greater potency.

Its Benefits

The key objective and benefit from this process was a projected reduction in warranty spend for our client. Increasing the range of repairs that can be completed by the roadside decreases warranty spend, since the vehicle does not need to visit a dealer for repair, and because additional costs such as vehicle relay charges and courtesy car rental costs are avoided. And because the customer is not inconvenienced to the same extent, there are also benefits in terms of customer satisfaction.

In addition, the increase in roadside repair serviceability also had the direct effect of making the prioritised jobs quicker for a dealer repair also, contributing again to a lower warranty spend and a more competitive Cost of Ownership. In addition, the strategy has ensured that our client’s roadside recovery agents will require fewer parts and tools to support call outs - a further cost saving.

Our Achievements

In USE* we continually strive is to support our customers and show them that we care for their business. We do this by providing a dynamic and motivated team who continually improve and adapt the way they work, always gaining intelligent solutions to pertinent problems.
With the Design for Roadside Repair project we demonstrated this commitment, identifying new and exciting avenues for achieving warranty reduction for our client. By identifying this opportunity and gaining the results the UK Service Evolution (now USE*) team has instilled greater confidence with our client’s Product Development community, while also defining and implementing new service requirements for future client vehicles.

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