Revolutionizing the Maintenance & Service Industry

Service & maintenance involve a host of complex tasks which, when executed correctly means. The car service industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the auto business. Car services are an increasing draw for both SME and enterprise companies alike.

Anupama Nair


With customers becoming more analytical about their automobile buying choices and millennial buying trends only making things difficult, companies are driven to take a closer look at after-sales service. In fact, a study conducted by CSI (Customer Service Index) revealed that an increasing number of potential buyers place a significantly high premium on after-sales service and customer satisfaction.

Bringing about this change, however, is easier said than done. The service industry, especially in India, faces a few significant challenges.

  • Trust

Although customers are looking for new ways to experience the joy of owning a car, a majority of the population shies away from trusting the car service industry. This is because the car service industry has a reputation for being unreliable and less trustworthy. Enterprises that begin offering car services must overcome the lack of trust among customers.

  • Bad Reputation

Like many other sectors, the car service industry has a bad reputation among consumers. Consumers often associate car services with subpar work, stiff penalties, and hidden fees. They also fear that a car service provider might not show up for an appointment. As a result, large numbers of customers are hesitant to use car services. This is a huge challenge for any fast-growing company in the sector because car services are all about convenience.

  • Operational Challenges

In a sector where most of the work is carried out manually, using physical tools in a semi-organized manner, ensuring quality is an uphill climb. More often than not, the biggest challenge is the inability to measure quality. Service standards are set, and SOPs (standard operating procedures) are drawn up and revised frequently. But there is no way to ensure that these standards are being met, apart from enlisting additional manpower to manually monitor processes.

  • Difficulty in Hiring & Training

The car service sector is informal and regulated, making it difficult to track performance and manage people in a formal way. Companies are also finding training and development a hassle. While initial training can be standardized, identifying and employing re-training strategies to ensure maximum efficiency is near impossible.

Taking a step back and looking at the major challenges in the industry, there appears a clear standout in terms of a solution. This is the ability to measure performance and ensure standards are met. Here’s what measurability can achieve:

  • Ensuring operational challenges are overcome by measuring performance, identifying bottlenecks, and improving operating procedures based on results
  • Trust and reliability can be built with customers by maintaining and sharing accurate service records. Customers can be reassured that all activities were carried out to the best of standards.
  • Accountability can be brought about by collecting and sharing clear metrics on the performance of tasks.
  • Training and retraining activities can be planned based on each individual’s performance and the general efficiency of the entire sample of workers. Managers could also choose to gamify efficiency by providing bonuses based on performance reports.

Meet Astra

Astra is Vicara’s motion-technology-based solution that improves the efficiency of maintenance & repair operations through accurate analytics. Data is collected for all activities performed, it is matched up to the standard, and the collated information is presented to managers and stakeholders via a visual dashboard.

Let’s take a closer look at how it works.

  1. Motion sensors are added to commonly used tools such as wrenches, jacks, and more
  2. The sensors collect data on actions performed, their accuracy, idle time, and time taken for execution
  3. It can also accurately measure and confirm how well the repair actions matched the standards
  4. Data collected from sensors are constantly shared via the cloud
  5. Floor managers and decision-makers can see live data on performance through an interactive dashboard

What can you do on the dashboard?

  • Reports can be generated for each individual employee to identify issues. Re-training activities can be planned accordingly.
  • Reports for the group can show the activities that are bringing about points of inefficiency as a whole. These processes can either be changed, or training can be planned for the entire employee roster.
  • Custom reports can also be created to share with customers where necessary. This allows you to maintain transparency with customers and builds a sense of trust.
  • Data collected over time can be used to identify bottlenecks in efficiency. These can be solved by introducing newer and better processes.
  • Efficiency and work data can be used to pick out star performers. Managers can then plan rewards or bonuses. This can improve job satisfaction and the need to perform better.

Can One Solution Do it all?

Astra has been deployed across India, in the service centres of India’s leading car manufacturer. The tool was modified and improved in phases, based on the results coming in from the initial implementation.

The project revolved around building a productivity tracking solution for Maruti Service centres, using which they could track, monitor and optimise the working styles of their technicians while they perform various tasks involved in servicing or maintenance of automobiles.

It also involved developing a system that would allow the managers at the service centers to perform a check on the technicians, as to whether the maintenance activities performed by them matched the actions/movements that were illustrated in the service manual.

Now, Astra is live in several service centres, providing meaningful and accurate data to its end users.

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