Kevern Thompson

We recently caught up with Kevern Thompson, Commercial Manager at CAPS .

CAPS functionality is designed to help everyone within the claims and repair process communicate more effectively, by sharing information in real time with all the major bodyshop management systems and claims applications.

How did you get to where you are today?

I began an apprenticeship when I left school at the age of 16, initially as a performance car mechanic before moving into body repair. I then progressed through the workshop and estimation to eventually became a manager. I spent a short time working as an assessor for an independent company based in Chester, before joining CCC to help develop its UK business.

When I progressed into the consultancy division I became involved in setting up the four Royal SunAlliance QRC bodyshops and later became an employee as their operations manager for RSA’s DRC project. An opportunity then arose to work with Toyota Motor Europe, rolling out its kaizen bodyshop improvement project.

Three years later I moved back to the UK as Jaguar Land Rover’s national body and paint manager. This is when I also became chair of the SMMT Vehicle Manufacturer’s Body Repair Working Group, which I still fulfil today. I am now commercial manager for CAPS, The Common Automotive Platform Standard.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector of the industry?

The biggest challenge is managing all the amount of data required to keep all parties updated at the same time, which should be an automated process but isn’t always. The industry suffers from older legacy systems that have developed over years and do not always promote efficiency or communicate with each other. We suffer from poor data input. People don’t trust the validity of data and there is concern over who sees it, especially with the revised data protection laws now in place.

How are you and your business dealing with this?

We offer a data exchange service that simply exchanges information via a very robust and secure connectivity process that doesn’t store sensitive data. CAPS users have full control of who they share their data with as well as the ability to instantly turn off a connection if they need to.

Out of your business achievements, what are you most proud of and why?

I am extremely proud of the number of users we now have in the CAPS community. In under three years we have grown to over 1,000 of which 90% are bodyshops. Businesses are now coming to us on an almost weekly basis to integrate with CAPS and benefit from the service and we now have key insurers wanting to connect directly with CAPS.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the industry?

Make sure you have a sound plan because the automotive industry is a multi-billion-pound business and stretches across a wide spectrum of options. Execution and accurate performance measurement is key to understanding your position.

The latter is often misaligned and valuable profit margins are lost due to cost leakage through a lack of efficiency. Let the data and statistics do the heavy lifting. Trust your analytics and correct your business direction accordingly.

If you could change anything what would you do to make the insurance industry “Better tomorrow”?

It would be for it to embrace technology and to improve data input and enable automation via a digitally connected highway. I would also train people to use data to improve performance and not simply for audit purposes. By connecting the entire supply chain including the customer, data enables all involved in a motor claim to be updated at the same time offering a single version of the truth.

What’s your top tip for being productive?

I learnt from the masters of efficiency – Toyota. They approach all aspects of business and life with simplicity using PDCA: Plan-Do-Check-Act.

What gadget can’t you live without?

My iPhone with Google Drive connecting me to all my devices and files. It’s only version 7, but I use it for both business and personal life. Ironically, I don’t use it that much as an actual telephone!

Talent or Perseverance?

We all have a talent. However, perseverance enables you to learn and become potentially multi-talented by broadening your skills.

What do you do to switch off or escape from work?

I don’t believe I truly switch off, especially with my beloved iPhone by my side. I’m always checking LinkedIn and other social media.

I do enjoy playing golf, and it brings out my competitive streak. I’m an ex-rally driver and I now enjoy watching motorsport, though I’m still surprised by the amounts of money drivers get paid, given this is essentially a team sport.

My three-year-old daughter fills the rest of my time so it often feels like going to work is a rest!!

I don’t believe I truly switch off, especially with my beloved iPhone by my side. I’m always checking LinkedIn and other social media.

Kevern Thompson


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