3 January, 2020
“The future is already being automated, and it’s enabled by AI”
Uber, whose AI is so central to its business model that employees “…don’t even think about it anymore,” is betting big on self-driving cars driving down costs. As their core driver of competitiveness, it stands to reason that if Artificial Intelligence is smart enough to drive a car it can surely help the shop owner who doubles as its sole mechanic. Our previous entry explored how AI will impact the manufacturing and distribution of auto parts, but what about the businesses that purchase and use them on a daily basis?
For service centers doing everything they can to move jobs out of the bays and customers through their doors, activities that add value or increase average ticket prices can fall by the wayside. “Advances in computing power will give machines abilities once reserved for humans—the ability to understand and organize unstructured data such as photos and speech, to recognize patterns, and to learn from past experiences how to improve future performance.” For busy shops, AI has the potential to make up for any material or manpower shortage they may have.
“The number of automotive companies deploying AI at scale has grown from 7% in 2017 to 10% today, with OEMs generally making better progress than suppliers or dealers.”
The automotive service industry has a “…heavy reliance on experience [that] makes it difficult to replace a highly skilled operator at retirement. Since variations in operators’ qualifications can affect not only performance but also profits, AI’s ability to preserve, improve, and standardize knowledge is all the more important.” One shop activity that breeds complacency is parts ordering. Often, purchasers must rely on multiple solutions to check availability, fitment, and price, thus making the average time to order anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes. Fold in independent distributors selling differing part numbers for the same products and you have a recipe for confusion. For businesses who rely on repairing products composed of thirty-thousand plus parts, an incorrect order can result not only in unexpected delays, but loss of business and a damaged reputation.
Rather than scrolling through seemingly endless vehicle trim levels and engine choices for the necessary part, Artificial Intelligence tailored to the automotive industry can do the heavy lifting while simultaneously providing instant insight into beneficial pricing and return probability. Should a specific part be prone to returns or premature failure, AI can alert the service writer during the estimate creation phase, saving precious time. With its advanced reaction time, visibility into the ecosystem and intrinsic precision, AI can quickly diagnose vehicle problems, find parts for the best price and earliest availability, even automatically recommend substitutions should a set profit margin not be met.
By eliminating human disruption and continuously adapting through sophisticated machine learning algorithms, as Uber and other tech giants do, service centers who deploy AI solutions will be able to do far more with much less. Simply put, it’s the perfect employee.
Learn more about SHIFTMobility’s vision for the future of automotive technology here.