Having taking over the reins of National Windscreens as managing director in 2018, Jan Teo spoke to Jonathan Swift about what attracted her to the role; the challenges the business faces and what it is like being caught up in a motor manufacturer space race in terms of technology use.
What attracted you to the MD role at National Windscreens?
National Windscreens employs great people blessed with outstanding technical skills and over the last ten years has enjoyed good growth with fantastic market share.
But it has loads more potential and opportunity which is why for me it was such an attractive proposition. Especially given my [previous] experience in motoring and financial services sectors, as chief operating officer for Deutsche Bank European Service Centres and in directing business transformation at RAC, Lex Transfleet, Fraikin, Legal & General and Barclays.
Which of your previous business experiences stand you in best stead for the role?
I started out in financial services, and wound my way through various disciplines including foreign exchange, retail banking, insurance and investments.
My last role in financial services at Deutsche Bank gave me an opportunity to understand lots of different business models with a diverse matrix of stakeholder relationships across the globe.
With regards to the automotive sector I worked for RAC Roadside Services which gave me a grounding in terms of understanding the customer journey in a distressed situation. In common with National Windscreens nobody phones the RAC because they are having a great day; but that offers a fantastic opportunity to make [the customer journey] better.
And so working with the insurance market, as we do at National Windscreens, being able to understand the importance of looking after that customer in a distressed situation - and tie that up with working in a regulated environment - brings those experiences [at Deutsche Bank and RAC] together nicely.
What would you describe as the biggest challenges facing National Windscreens’ clients?
The biggest challenges are around technology as it feels like the motor manufacturers are in a space race [to out-do each other]. And trying to keep up with that is really hard work for all of us.
To understand that on one hand you have got a situation where the technology is going to ultimately bring down accidents and the cost of claims, particularly around personal injury; but the cost of maintaining it is going to go up and it is about balancing those factors.
None of us can also escape [the fact we are] living in a digital age and so need to think about what that means for our policyholders in terms of their demands, how they want to be serviced and kept in touch with. Understanding the journey they are on and making it as simple and clear as possible.
With that in mind what solutions do you have to help these clients?
There has to be an understanding that the focus is the driver and safety. So National Windscreens essentially offers a safety based service and product.
Three quarters of manufacturers at the moment want to make sure that, for example, windscreen calibrations are done in a work shop environment. So we have worked hard to make sure we can provide a one-stop service so that a driver is the least inconvenienced and can turn up at a workshop and we can get the job done right first time.
To use the registration number – and we have the technology to do this – to understand what windscreen they need and if advanced driver assistance system (Adas) calibration is required. To be able to work with world class partners like Dupont, Hella Gutmann, Pilkington and Saint Goban in always aiming to return a customer’s vehicle to a point where it is at its original standard.
Specifically looking at Adas, is National Windscreens seeing a shift in terms of understanding the issue of calibration and what it entails?
We are very aware that the demand to calibrate vehicles is absolute with 75% of manufacturers insisting that it is done in work shop conditions. And we work constantly with our partners and follow the Thatcham Code of Conduct to make sure we are following best practice.
And to the point [about the increasing use of technology] drivers are increasingly having to learn, not how to drive again, but to how use their cars. So there has been a lot of conversation among fleet managers and insurers that when you pick up a new car you should really understand what you have got, how to use it and making sure it does what it says on the tin. And that is something we want to help with: educating and reminding drivers about their vehicle’s capabilities.
What other things are you doing to move the dial in terms of improving awareness of Adas?
It is all about having transparent conversations that generate more discussion. Whether attending industry forums or working with the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders, particularly in understanding things that are happening with technology, such as what MOTs in the future might look like - has been very important.
We have a close relationship with Thatcham, having worked with them to develop the Adas Code of Practice, and we continue to work closely with them as these evolve
And we have also been getting out and doing roadshows and acting as that conduit between the manufacturer and the insurer so that there is good understanding about what the technology brings, and helping shift the balance when insurers are rethinking their underwriting models. To factor in that it might cost a little more to replace a windscreen and get it calibrated properly, but the benefit of that is massive.
What makes National Windscreens standout and how is it evolving?
As a business, National Windscreens has always focused on the customer, and we will continue to need to do so. But as our client base has changed I think it is very important for us to think about the overall customer journey and reflect not just on our own brand values, but those of insurers and fleets as well.
In financial services, particularly post-crash, the move to get under the skin of a brand and pull on its muscles to deliver great customer service has become increasingly important. To innovate together [with partners] with a common purpose and culture that ultimately delivers the right thing at the right time, taking for granted we are all here to make a commercial gain, but we need to get to the point where that is just a hygiene factor.
With insurance, how well a claim is handled will go some way to helping a policyholder decide whether they would use that insurer again. I think it is really important that we do our bit in the supply chain to provide an excellent service in representing the brands of our clients. And we can only do if we are working and innovating together and for me that is the difference that I’d like to bring as MD of National Windscreens.
What are the priorities for National Windscreens for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?
It is about culture and people. It is about making sure all the National Windscreens people are very clear about what we promise we will deliver for our customers and working together to be able to do that. It is about innovating with our partners, and by that I do not only mean our clients and customers, but building on the relationships we have with our world class partners in terms of the products we use. To explore how we can pull together a proposition that makes sure we take into account all the parts of the [supply] chain.
And finally, just being able to address [delivery] in a digital medium is always going to be important; and that is something I am looking forward to getting into the guts of as well.