Kevin A. Rigg, former global cost control manager, Extended Service Business at Ford Motor Company, has joined After, Inc. as a strategic consultant. We did a brief Q. & A. session below:
Q. Why did you join After, Inc. after so many years at Ford Motor Company?
A. I joined After, Inc. because of the great value After, Inc. provided while I was at Ford as the Ford Protect Global Cost Control Manager. I wanted to be part of a great organization that supports its clients.
Q. Where do you think you can make the most immediate contribution to the firm?
A. My initial contributions will be providing my knowledge and experience to help After, Inc., their current, and future clients save warranty or service contract claim costs.
Q. In your view, what aspects of a company’s warranty program are most ripe for improvement? Cost control? Fraud? Analytics?
A. I believe the most important are: reporting and analytics followed by cost control. Understanding what’s in the claim data is key to controlling cost without being overly overbearing with dealers and servicers.
Q. In what areas of their warranty programs do companies overlook their best opportunities for maximizing revenue and/or reducing costs?
A. Some companies try to control too much and as a result are overstaffed. Companies that review all or the majority of claims are probably causing customer dissatisfaction by slowing the repair completion time. Every claim is not a candidate for fraud or overpayment. Accurate reporting and analytics will provide companies with a “Goldilocks” approach to cost control by matching necessary controls to necessary resources resulting in a cost control organization that is just the right size.
Q. What are the growth areas in the automotive warranty business?
A. Claims for new technologies such as: small displacement turbo charged engines, multi-speed and CVT transmissions, driver assisted braking and steering, hybrid, electric, and eventually autonomous vehicles will need to be closely watched. At this time, there isn’t much claim history with these new systems and technologies.
Q. Where do you see After, Inc. capitalizing in the automotive sector?
A. After, Inc. is a highly effective and knowledgeable company which provides a low-cost reporting and analytics solution. While I was with Ford, they provided over a 10-1 return (claim savings to cost of their service). In addition, the After, Inc. Warranty Analytics Reporting Portal (WARP) allowed me to redeploy reporting resources to a more productive role of research / resolution analyst.
Q. What are the key lessons you learned from working in the automotive sectors all these years that can be applied to other sectors like heavy machinery, HVAC, consumer and others?
A. At a high level there are a lot of similarities with automotive repairs and other sectors. All have: mechanical or electronic products, authorized dealers or servicers performing repairs, claims submitted for payment. With these similarities, there will always be gaps in the payment system or process that allow over-payment and some people will try to game the system.
Q. What are the advantages of globalizing service contract claim cost controls?
A. For any company with a global presence and common or similar global products the advantages are:
(1.) Local regulations and customs will be best understood by people in that region
(2.) They will be the most knowledgeable of the local dealer or service operations
(3.) Product concerns in one region, especially with a new global product launch, can be quickly communicated to other regions
(4.) Claim processing work can be leveraged to a low-cost country if assessors have good bi-lingual skills
(5.) Work can be performed at a different site if the need arises (e.g. sever weather, human or natural disaster, etc.)
If an organization decides to globalize claim cost controls, it is critical that web global reporting be implemented. Global reporting will allow headquarters to have timely updates on claim processing, monitor claim center(s) performance, and quickly understand how claim costs impact to profits.
Q. How can After, Inc. assist a company in developing and implementing a global service contract cost control system?
A. For companies implementing global cost controls it is imperative that a common web-based reporting and analytic be implemented. Having this type of reporting & analytics is the only way to monitor, control and quickly act on issues and emerging trends with claim expenses.