Charles
Wheeldon

Picture of TAW's new electronic data tagA new verification
system for assets held by lessees looks set to become a prominent
feature in the motor finance industry.

Horsham-based The Asset Works
(TAW) is close to finalising a new tracking system, which allows
lessors to trace their assets without dispatching individuals to
conduct physical audits.

The company has developed a
tamper-proof electronic data tag, which can be attached to vehicles
and which cannot be removed without being destroyed. Lessees are
provided with hand-held readers, which register the assets’ exact
location at the time of scanning. The reader is used to transmit
all the data gathered back to TAW’s secure web-based management
system, where the information can be scrutinised by
lessors.

Using ‘geo-fencing’, unusual
or unexpected data results can
trigger automatic emails to be sent to the lessor, for example, if
fewer assets than expected are at a particular location, or if
assets are not located where they should be.

“It’s a secure and
cost-effective method of protecting the bulk of a lessor’s asset
base,” said TAW director and co-founder Mike Chowney. “Our service
allows car dealer financing companies to provide secure inventory
audits more frequently, with less interruption to the lessee and at
a significantly lower cost compared with existing physical on-site
audits. The tags only cost €3 (£2.54) or €4 each – and if a lessee
tries to remove one, they will irreversibly damage it.”

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Finance providers operating a
‘red-amber-green’ policy will be able to adapt the verification
service to fit differing levels of risk. Low-risk lessees might be
asked to use the system every fortnight or monthly, whereas ‘amber’
lessees could be required to submit weekly, and ‘red’ lessees could
be asked to account for stock every day. A weekly scanning service
for a dealership averaging 50 cars in stock will cost around €2,750
annually, rising to around €4,500 per dealership to scan each car
every day.

Chowney continued: “Since July, we’ve been thinking about
applying our technology to dealerships. We want to work with major
manufacturers, such as Ford, VW and BMW, to help them have more
confidence that their stock is secure.”