At the centre of VAS' product suite is the SMART platform. SMART provides VAS with audit scheduling and management tools, and provides reporting dashboards to VAS’ clients. In 2017, VAS and Avco began an ambitious new project to reinvent SMART with a comprehensive series of upgrades.
Vehicle & Asset Solutions (VAS) are a trusted provider of asset audit services within the automotive sector. Established in 1991, VAS are a market leader in both physical stock audits and digital audit solutions. Last year, VAS audited more than 1.5 million assets, at a combined value of more than £60 billion.
VAS and Avco have had a long-standing partnership, starting in 2000. Today, Avco develops, manages and maintains the majority of VAS’ audit management software.
At the centre of VAS’ product suite is the SMART platform. SMART provides VAS with audit scheduling and management tools, and provides reporting dashboards to VAS’ clients.
In 2017, VAS and Avco began an ambitious new project to reinvent SMART with a comprehensive series of upgrades. From user experience improvements to entirely new types of audit, SMART v3.0 would touch every aspect of the platform and cement its position as the definitive audit solution.
A New User-Focused Approach
Following a series of whiteboarding sessions and digital mockups, Avco used its in-house graphic design capabilities to propose an entirely new UI and UX design, focused on simpler navigation, reduced clicks, and bringing key information to the forefront. Where previous versions of SMART might be described as looking “a bit like Excel”, SMART v3.0 is modern, fresh, and a pleasure to navigate around.
The addition of graphs to every page gives users an at-a-glance view of key audit information, as well as providing trend information that previously required downloading and manipulating excel reports. Going one step further, graphs can be interacted with to adjust filters and dive into the data.
Continuing with UX improvements, the site structure was flattened and simplified. Related, but previously seperated, functions were consolidated and user journeys were reorganised so that the most used information is accessible with fewer clicks. For example, the common task of viewing results from the most recent audit requires 3 post-login clicks in SMART v2, but only 1 click in SMART 3. In fact, key information about the most recent audits is now accessible without ever leaving the landing page.
In summary, SMART v3.0 presents as an altogether more cohesive and intuitive design.
SMART v3.0 introduces dozens of new features to the platform, with some of the key additions being:
- Dealer Self Audit - For the first time, VAS’ clients can allow trusted dealers to self-audit, using the SMART mobile app to securely supply images and scan NFC tags of each vehicle. Dealers can also log into the SMART website to view the outcome of their audits.
- External comms management - Untracked, out-of-band, email processes can now be fully integrated and managed within SMART. Users are now able to email external parties directly from the SMART platform and responses are displayed in threads on the audit history.
- Multi-lingual support - We have converted SMART from an English-only system to one that can support any number of languages, on a per user basis.
- Tasks and notifications - A new task workflow system allows users to create, assign, and complete actions. A new notification system informs users of their outstanding and upcoming tasks.
With each new feature, Avco and VAS worked closely together to refine and improve the initial concept. Avco’s standard process includes regular releases to a staging environment every two weeks, and for SMART this enabled a highly collaborative and iterative development cycle, resulting in a highly-refined end product.
SMART v3.0 was developed iteratively over the course of a year, with new features and functionality rolled out to live users periodically. Despite the significance of the upgrade, we were able to allow users to switch between the old and new version of the site until fully comfortable with the new interface.
The improvements have been universally well received by users of the system, with the new UI in particular proving a big hit. The new features are providing VAS new growth opportunities with both existing and new clients.