Recalls of defective parts in the automotive industry are a real problem for the entire automotive industry: not only tier companies and car manufacturers, but also importers and dealers. The main reason for this situation is frequently the scale and the complexity of the process – the longest recalls can go on for several years and affect millions of vehicles. However, there are suitable applications and IT solutions that can significantly accelerate the recall process.

Takata under fire

The largest and longest recall on the world has been the replacement of defective Takata airbags. These products have been installed in over 100 million vehicles of 24 brands worldwide, including, in particular, Mazda, Subaru, Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Ferrari and Toyota. Upon collision, the airbags explode, hurling metal shards around and causing serious injuries or even leads to fatalities. The recall began in 2016, and it is said that – with assistance of the governments of the parties concerned – it will continue at least until the end of 2019. For instance, the ACCC (The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) states that it will impose severe fines (up to USD 1.1 million per case) on manufacturers that do not prove by the end of 2020 that they have replaced all of the airbags in their vehicles.

– We encountered the problem of defective Takata airbags when working for an Australian client in 2017, which was forced to replace the airbags in approximately 300,000 vehicles. Considering the technological resources of our client, we prepared the Hicron Recall App, which enabled the client to replace the airbags several times faster and with the maximum possible precision. – says Janusz Wawrzyniak, Solution Architect in The Hicron Automotive and Logistics team.

Recall – what are the improvements?

During a conventional replacement, the car mechanic uses a suitable form to record the VIN, the serial number of the defective part could qualify the car for the recall and the serial number of the new part. Photographs of the repair procedure are attached to the form. After replacement, the driver can drive away, but this is not the end of the process. The dealer’s system administrator submits a request to its partner – the importer – where it describes the process, copying all information from the form and attaching a photo report. Based on the filled  document, the importer refunds the costs of repair or replacement to the auto shop. Errors may occur at every stage of this process – wrong photos may be attached or the serial number or the VIN may be copied incorrectly – all such errors extend the duration of the recall, generating extra costs. All this while there are thousands of drivers still waiting…

With the Hicron Recall App, our client does not have to use any paper forms. All information and photographs are recorded directly in an application integrated with the system. Most importantly, the VIN and serial number of the part can be scanned or entered manually, and the system warns the user if the entered number is incorrect. The administrator uses the data in the application when submitting the request for a refund of repair costs to the importer. There is no need to copy the data manually, verify them and check the photos.

Easier integration

The application has been developed in the advanced SAP Fiori environment, in accordance with the latest application design standards. It is integrated with the SAP system to enable online data transmission. The application has security systems and it runs on mobile devices (phones and tablets with the Android or iOS operating system).

Large-scale challenge

The case of Takata is not unique. In 2009–2010, a defect was found in over 9 million Toyota vehicles concerning a sticking accelerator pedal – the repair cost over USD 5 billion in total. In 1980, it was found that Ford vehicles with automatic transmission could change gears on their own from Park into Reverse – the recall resulted in a loss of approximately USD 1.7 billion. In 1996, ignition repairs in approximately 14 million vehicles cost Ford USD 200 million. Several months later, another defective electronic part, which could cause a fire, was found in the vehicles of this make – the recall cost USD 280 million.

One of the largest recalls in recent years was the repair of engines in Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles in the aftermath of the emissions scandal. The recall affected approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide (8.5 million in Europe and 2.4 million in Germany), and it is said that the number of recalled cars is smaller than the actual number of cars with the faulty engine. In Poland, only approximately 40 % of cars of the Volkswagen group equipped with the software that cheated on emissions tests were reported for the recall – said Artur Marciniszyn, head of the vehicle approval department at the Transportation Technical Supervision (TDT) authority.

If you want to find out more about Hicron Recall App, please contact with our consultant: [email protected]