Henry Ford installed his first assembly line on December 1, 1913, in an effort to streamline the vehicle manufacturing process and bring down operating expenses. As a result of this innovation, owning a car became obtainable for nearly every family in America. The key to Ford’s success? Automation. And that notion is perhaps even more true today in a world where millions of vehicles are bought and sold each year.
Ford was on to something huge, and the world saw it unfold over the decades, but it was bigger than automobile manufacturing. Automation would transcend the auto industry into just about every industry, helping America become a global economic superpower, churning out products of all shapes and sizes and driving the nation’s GDP to new heights.
Today, we find automation rooted to the auto industry, and in a form that may help fix a broken vehicle titling system.
Not long after Ford introduced the world to the assembly line, it became quite clear that states needed a process to track vehicle ownership; otherwise, they saw that theft could run rampant. Some date the first vehicle titles back to 1931 when the state of New Jersey began issuing records of ownership to new car owners. Later in 1988, California issued pink slips to their citizens and eventually every state had a system in place—albeit cumbersome systems involving unending stacks of paper, overburdened filing cabinets and isolated records of ownership that were difficult to track from one state to the next. This opened the door to a host of problems.
“Not only is there a substantial administrative burden from filing and processing documents every time a vehicle changes ownership, the expenses of handling, storing and mailing are quite high,” said Shane McRann Bigelow, CEO of CHAMP, an Ohio-based technology startup that is revolutionizing the titling industry. “You think about all the expenses from overhead, tracking the lifecycle of a vehicle’s ownership, and you realize how expensive of a burden it is. Perhaps the single greatest expense in titling is human error.”
Human error is not unique to vehicle titling. For example, an IBM study found that 95% of all data breaches were caused by human error, with each breach costing companies millions. Human error also leads to poor data, which costs organizations an average of $12.9 million per year, according to Gartner research.
As it stands today, most motor vehicles divisions still manage vehicle titling manually. A few states have transitioned to e-titling in an effort to save paper, reduce physical storage and mitigate error. However, just about every state still has their own system of keeping and tracking titles and this fragmentation results in mistakes. It is a problem that is becoming more troublesome in the age of online car buying, where so many U.S. car sales are now completed online, many of which occurred across state lines. That number is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years, making it increasingly difficult for states to manage titles as they cross from state to state.
“It might not seem like a significant issue, but worker fatigue, lack of experience and attention loss can result in numerous mistakes, especially when employees work long hours, performing repetitive duties and processing hundreds or even thousands of documents in a single day,” Bigelow said. “Over the long run, those mistakes can end up costing millions of dollars for states and the stakeholders involved.”
But there is a better way, one that harkens back to Ford’s introduction of automation. CHAMPtitles, CHAMP for short, has introduced a first-of-its-kind Digital Titling SaaS software – for government and for enterprise - that drastically reduces human error in titling. State DMVs are rapidly adopting Champ’s Digital Title and Registration Suite (DTRS) to enable faster title processing for dealers, improved efficiency with liens for lenders, and digital titles for all to remove paper from the title ecosystem. Further, vehicle retailers, fleet operators, and insurance carriers are leveraging Champ’s Dealer Title and Digital Total Loss products to move titles efficiently. In short, CHAMP’s solutions are the first digitization software designed for the entire titling ecosystem, giving all partners a modern, digital solution to title and registration processing.
“Paper-based processes and obsolete mainframe technologies come with a myriad of challenges,” Bigelow said. “Technology has solved these problems for many industries and now CHAMP is helping states, auto dealers, fleet operators, and insurance companies step into the future as well, with our digital title and registration solutions.”
The patented software digitizes the transfer of ownership of titles anywhere in the world, completing a process that normally takes weeks, in just minutes. Other companies have made valiant efforts in providing e-titles, but none has addressed the entire titling ecosystem across state lines like CHAMP.
“By intentionally serving the entire title transaction ecosystem, our solution provides efficiencies in the system that include faster cycle times, lower exception rates and lower operational costs,” Bigelow said. “Not to mention, states that use our product save about 15 million sheets of paper per year, which equates to roughly 1,800 trees. If you add dealers, fleets, and insurance carriers, those figures are 3-4x higher. Those savings are not only good for the bottom line but for the environment as well.”
Perhaps the greatest feature of CHAMP’s software is its ability to complement each dealer, fleet operator, and state's existing process. Its modular design allows it to integrate into a variety of systems in a phased approach, significantly reducing the change management burden while removing opportunities for human error and ensuring consistency.
“We can customize our platform to meet each dealer, fleet operator, insurance carrier, and state’s most pressing needs. And the important thing is, these processes can be scaled for all states, effectively ending the fragmented nature of vehicle titling across all 50 states.”
The state of West Virginia was an early adopter of this innovative titling technology. “The improvements we have seen in the quality and efficiency of the DMV’s services to the dealers in West Virginia has been nothing short of amazing. The ability to digitally submit transactions and communicate with DMV title clerks in real time has allowed them to cut costs, decrease the use of paper, and receive titles in record time. Prior to CHAMP’s engagement with West Virginia, dealers were waiting 30-45 days for titles, but now it is just two to three days,” said Jared Wyrick, President of the West Virginia Auto Dealers Association. In a press conference held about this groundbreaking technology, West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice attested to the benefits of the digital title management solution, “It is more secure, much faster, good for the environment, and it puts our citizens first”.
It is clear that the current state of vehicle titling needs a revolution. Too many opportunities for human error exist, and the hardest part to digest is that these errors are 100% preventable with the technology available today. Perhaps it is about time vehicle titling takes a page out of Henry Ford’s playbook and moves toward an automated solution that can be scaled across the entire nation and titling ecosystem.
For more information on CHAMP, visit CHAMPtitles.com.