Razvan Iliescu, President and CEO
There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc across multiple sectors. And the automotive industry is no exception. Last year, Europe’s top auto markets witnessed the decades’ biggest annual sales declines while new car registrations fell by about 25 percent. And from the initial look of it, many industry leaders believed that even 2021 would bear a similar fate. However, as it turns out, this year has already started showing rapid recovery for the European auto industry.
But all things considered, for the European automotive companies to make the most of their business retrieval and continue operating in a socially distanced world, they have to reimagine their entire operations. The current pandemic has brought forth a serious need to gain unprecedented virtual visibility of their entire automotive logistics, from inventory tracking and parts supply through to monitoring finished car delivery. “Only then can the automotive companies remotely cater to their prospective customers more proactively and move past the recovery curve,” says Razvan Iliescu, a reputed thought leader in the IT sector for the automotive industry and the president/CEO of Bell Gateway. Interestingly, Bell Gateway is currently playing a catalytic role for the same—‘the digitalisation of automobile supply chains.’
Drawing from its rich experience in the enterprise IT arena, Bell Gateway has developed an illustrated suite of automotive logistics management solutions that encompass different aspects of the supply chain like ordering, procurement, inventory, and dealer management. “Our cutting-edge logistics management solutions are arming automotive businesses with necessary tools that can open the door to virtual coordination with different suppliers and parts makers,” states Iliescu. Wheels™, for instance, is a revolutionary application by Bell Gateway that coordinates the entire car order process.
With Wheels, automotive companies can monitor and control the entire lifecycle of a car order, right from the order placement to last-mile delivery. Wheels extends its logistics management capabilities further with two distinct features, Eurobill and STEX. Eurobill is a modern application intended to handle auto invoicing processes for cars ordered through Wheels. Eurobill has the ability to manage and organise the car order invoices both logically and intuitively, based on predefined criteria, making the entire invoicing process easier. Similarly, STEX is a web-based auto spare parts inventory management tool within Wheels. Users can access STEX from anywhere, anytime, by simply entering their authentication data. This way, authorised individuals from the automobile company can easily verify detailed information regarding car spares stocks. Currently, Bell Gateway services seven European (including premiere automotive giants like Porche and Volkswagen), two automobile wholesalers/retailers, and over 200 dealers.
Porsche Ukraine, particularly, uses Bell Gateway’s custom vehicle logistic management app, LogiPic, to manage their large vehicle shipments much more efficiently. LogiPic is a two-component solution (web-based and mobile app for iOS and Android) that covers every step of vehicle logistics management. It features vehicle yard management, real-time location tracking, customisable action checklists, inventory report, and the ability to monitor their progression. Besides, LogiPic also digitalises the dealer-to-customer delivery process through digital signatures. Using this app, Porsche Ukraine successfully removes any compatibility bottlenecks and improves its overall workflow automation.
Strengthening the Used Car Market
While Bell Gateway is helping auto companies cater to the gradually increasing demand for new cars, they are also seeing the occasional supply chain disruption creating a demand for used cars in many countries. As Iliescu points out, the ongoing pandemic and subsequent awareness around personal hygiene are encouraging many consumers to purchase their own vehicles. But being on a tighter budget and having limited access to new cars, these consumers are turning to second-hand cars. And in most cases, they prefer to have the same buying experience as that of purchasing a new car. This new consumer trend requires automotive companies to also focus on their existing car’s buy-back and reselling capacities in addition to bringing new models to market. “And thus, automobile companies need a dedicated second-hand car management solution that can make this feat possible,” adds Iliescu. Driven by this idea, Bell Gateway has restructured its existing automotive logistics management solution to make provisions for used car trading as well. “We, therefore, can serve any automobile companies whether they are dealing in new cars or reselling older cars,” underscores Iliescu.
Moving ahead, Bell Gateway is poised to strengthen its solutions suite even further by developing more detailed mobile versions of its web-based applications. Adjacently, the company is working on cloud-based logistics management platforms with end-to-end visibility of cargo in automotive logistics. These systems can potentially help in tracking increasingly sensitive automotive parts across the globe. Together with that, Bell Gateway is also looking at more innovative ways of using IoT and AI technology to help automotive companies prepare for logistics risks based on changing real-time conditions. “These and other ongoing innovations at Bell Gateway will help drive forward automotive logistics into the future and help the industry navigate roads ahead more smoothly,” concludes Iliescu.