The future of auto salvage

auto salvage inventoryThere was a time when the workers at Pratt’s Auto Salvage would wait next to a desktop computer and printer when a vehicle rolled onto the sprawling property. A Ford pickup truck might require printing a 30-page vehicle data sheet listing dozens of various options. Other cars would need fewer pages, maybe six – or maybe 15 – but the work looked the same.

Technicians cataloged the vehicle by hand with pen and paper and scribbled pages of notes to document the 87 parts on average that Pratt’s Auto Salvage inventories per vehicle. “It was like taking a quiz at school and not having an open book,” said Adam Pratt, the owner of the salvage yard. “You’re guessing at some stuff. You don’t always know what’s what.” Technicians walked around in the blazing sun or teeth-chattering cold for a half hour or more to put the newest vehicle on a paper record, taking pictures with a digital camera along the way. Once the car was cataloged, it was back to the desktop computer. The pictures needed to be uploaded and organized. The data needed to be entered. The paper file needed to be stored. There went another 30 minutes.

“Before my guys would do 1,200-1,500 cars per year by hand,” Pratt said. “It’s crazy how much better the new system is over the old way.”

For Pratt, the new way of doing things uses Buddy AI’s Inventory Buddy software and the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet by Juniper Systems. The Inventory Buddy is a comprehensive salvage inventory software that digitally records vehicle information onto the Mesa 2, an ultra-rugged handheld computer that runs Windows 10.

No more standing next to a printer, Pratt said. “My guys can inventory an entire car every 16 minutes now.” With Inventory Buddy, technicians send a vehicle stock number and get an editable digital report on the Mesa 2’s 7-inch sunlight-readable display. They can quickly enter notes about each part as they walk around the vehicle. “You click on the left fender on the vehicle diagram, write ‘one-hour of dings,’ take a photo, and Inventory Buddy pairs each part with its pictures.”

“It’s unreal how much time Inventory Buddy saves,” Pratt said.

Buddy AI was founded by John “Triple J” Johnson Jr. and Mike “Bubba” Lambert in 2003.

The two met face-to-face in 2003 and started work on Buddy AI, a company built around supporting the auto recycling industry. The supply was still good: People were still buying and scrapping cars. The auto salvage yard, however, needed a little updating.

Lambert eventually paired his software with Juniper Systems’ rugged mobile tablets.

“Our industry is so tough and the Mesa 2 is a tank. It’s rugged as hell,” Lambert said. “The Mesa 2 sets itself apart because of its ruggedness and its screen visibility outside. Salvage workers are always outside in the rain or the snow. It’s the best unit for our customers.”

Rain or shine, touchscreen profiles keep the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet display ultra-responsive

Mesa 2 auto salvagePratt echoed the sentiment. “You can walk wherever – right into the sun on a 110-degree day with the sun beating down on you – and take pictures and notes to inventory a car, no problem,” he said.

Before Inventory Buddy, Pratt tracked around 100,000 parts scattered across his 16-acre salvage yard with 18 boxes stuffed with paper. Now, it can all be stored on his Mesa 2.

Profit margins in the salvage industry are slimming for companies that don’t adjust to the industry’s fast pace and growing complexity. “You’ve got to beat the bush to sell every part you can off these cars,” Pratt said. The Inventory Buddy assists hundreds of salvage yards in making high-profit decisions. Several built-in software features help build smarter inventories by providing inventory recommendations and up-to-date data about inventory demand in the market.

The Inventory Buddy and Mesa 2 equip salvage yards with tools for a more thorough and cost-effective salvage operation. “I’m saving cost and time on the inventory side of my business – and now I can put those resources toward other cars.”

No more waiting by the printer.


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