Virtual Lanes Help Reduce Accidents at Auctions

By Ted Craig August 09, 2019


Most auctions boast about moving more metal through the lanes. ADESA is drawing attention to the fact that it is moving less and making its sales safer for buyers, workers and consignors.

ADESA now runs more and more vehicles through virtual lanes, which use video screens to present the cars that stay parked during the bidding.

The movement toward these non-traditional sales started at the request of Honda.

“Their feeling was the risk was too high,” said Sriram "Srisu" Subrahmanyam, ADESA’s chief operating officer.

Consignors have talked about static auctions for more than decade to prevent the opportunity for accidents than could injure people or harm the vehicles.

But the technology wasn’t ready to fully replicate a live sale until now. Today’s tech advances make it a seamless process, Subrahmanyam said.

ADESA has now partnered with a half dozen consignors to run their vehicles in virtual lanes. The chain has yet to launch an all virtual auction like some of its competitors, but 35 percent of inventory at its biggest sale, ADESA Boston, runs virtually.

Subrahmanyam said there was some resistance from buyers initially, but most have gotten over it.

“We’ve shown the experience doesn’t change except that it’s much safer,” Subrahmanyam said.

He doesn’t see 100 percent virtual sales now, but eventually the business will move that way.

Even what that happens, vehicles will still need to be moved at some point in the process. ADESA continues to work on ways to make that safer.

The National Auto Auction Association’s Safe T. Sam program started as an ADESA internal program. Incidents at ADESA auctions declined by a third since the program started in 2013.

The chain constantly works on its safety procedures, Subrahmanyam said.

Some of these changes are physical. For example, ADESA auctions started roping off the first 10 feet of all arena entrances to cut down on blind spots.

The more important changes focus on culture, Subrahmanyam said. ADESA places an emphasis on people at the workplace carrying about each other.

ADESA looks at all factors that impact safety, such as weather. The chain even has training on insects after discovering the yellow vests all employees wear for safety attracted bees in some parts of the country.

Auction employees in those regions, such as at ADESA Austin, now where orange vests instead.

All ADESA employees go through Safe T. Sam training every month. Consignors are also having their employees go through the program.

Subrahmanyam said he makes it his goal to maximize safety through this combination of technology, training and culture.

“I dream of a day when we have zero incidents,” he said.


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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 December 2019 20:49