We speak to Jane Pocock, Managing Director of Copart UK and Ireland about her position as a female leader in a male-dominated industry, the relationship between the salvage auction and insurance industries, and what the future holds for the company.
To bring everyone up to date, could you please provide some background on how you came to be the UK and Ireland MD of Copart?
I’ve worked within the automotive industry for over 30 years now, having joined the AA when I was 18 years old as part of a management graduate development scheme.
I spent 17 years with the AA in various leadership positions across their insurance, membership and roadside assistance businesses both in the UK and Europe, whilst undertaking further professional studies.
I was then CEO of Vans Direct, a market-leading online commercial vehicle retail and leasing company, where I led significant growth over a ten-year period before selling to Vertu Motors Plc.
My Copart journey began when the CEO of Copart EMEA approached me about taking on the role of MD for Copart UK, so he could focus on developing the business across other areas of Europe.
My extensive automotive background alongside my experience in online marketing, operational delivery, and both B2B and B2C relationships, certainly made me a suitable candidate for the role!
After meeting with the CEO of Copart Inc in the US, I was delighted to discover how well the company values aligned with my own. I could see what a great business it was, and I felt extremely privileged to be asked to lead it in the UK.
And the rest, as they say, is history! I’ve been in the role for three years now and am so proud to work for a $35b company. I’m excited to be part of the next chapter of Copart’s success as we continue our ambitious global growth plans.
As Copart continues to grow and invest, how important does the part of diversity, equality and inclusion play to ensure that it stays as a market leader in the 21st century?
It should go without saying that all businesses must be appreciative and respectful of diversity, equality, and inclusion. This should absolutely be the norm for all businesses and not something that should even have to be pointed out, but sadly this is not always the case.
Not only do businesses benefit hugely from the unique experiences and perspectives of a diverse workforce, but those who do not show consideration and empathy will simply be left behind. I can say with certainty that will never be the case with Copart!
Copart is a global, multi-cultural business that actively champions and celebrates equality, diversity, and inclusion, and I am fully committed to ensuring that every Copart teammate and customer demonstrates and receives tolerance and respect.
It’s very important to me that every teammate and customer feels supported, safe, and comfortable at Copart and that they can truly be themselves.
To ensure that this commitment is firmly embedded into our culture, equal opportunity awareness is part of all the policies, procedures, and training that our managers follow, and we expect them to always lead by example.
We continuously support our teammates in growing their skills, knowledge, and experience to maximise their potential within our business, and career progression opportunities are available for everyone. There are no limits to progression as far as we’re concerned!
As with everything we do at Copart, we want to be seen as a beacon of best practice and recognised as a business that always acts in the right and most responsible way.
This is underpinned by our ongoing Copart Cares 💙 CSR strategy, which continues to go from strength to strength as we maintain a strong focus on caring about our teammates, customers, communities, charitable causes, and environmental issues.
Technology is forever improving and providing users with a better buying experience. How involved are you in this, and where do you think the future lies?
We are 100% involved in this! At Copart, developing new tech services and solutions is simply part of our DNA.
As a company with a results-focused culture, we’re committed to continuously improving what we do and how we do it to create a beneficial customer experience for both our Sellers and our Members. And of course, technology is a major part of this.
Our customers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, expecting fast and efficient service and a range of digital tools which will enable them to make total loss or purchasing decisions instantly.
We are continuously introducing new tech enhancements to enable us to showcase our Sellers’ vehicles in what we refer to as “the best possible light”, and make it even quicker and simpler for our Members around the globe to make informed buying decisions.
Just some of our new tech enhancements over the past year include our Virtual Vehicle Visits service, Vehicle Data and Virtual Queue products, 360° imaging (C360), the Copart Transportation App, Owner Connect SMS Service, and numerous upgrades to our patented live auction platform.
Our ongoing investment into enhancing and developing our technology is part of our commitment to both our digital transformation programme and continuous service improvement. We are always looking for ways to develop and improve the digital customer journey and provide our customers with all the tools they need to buy and sell with complete confidence.
Looking ahead, I think it’s evident that there’s been a significant impact on buyer behaviour since the dawn of Covid and demand for fast and effective tech solutions will only continue to rise. Businesses must recognise and embrace that and make sure they are strong enough to remain competitive.
We are determined never to stand still, and we’ll keep on pushing boundaries to improve our technology, processes, and services to deliver the very best experience for our customers and their policyholders.
On the other side, the relationship between salvage auctions and insurance companies is paramount. What changes have you seen over the years?
There’s definitely more understanding from insurance companies now about the fantastic returns they can expect to see from the salvage sector, plus the tangible benefits of green parts usage throughout the repair process.
Salvage is one of the only areas in insurance claims that provides a financial return, and more insurance companies are now recognising the value we are adding thanks to consistently high returns year-on-year.
We’re continuously expanding our suite of integrated services to provide added value to our insurance customers.
We have the ability to develop our own bespoke systems, so we hold regular reviews with our customers to ensure that we are always meeting their needs, such as specific data requirements, and can create individual products and services to suit.
This increased collaborative approach with our customers has meant that our relationships have really grown and strengthened, in both depth and breadth, over time.
Have the expectations from insurance companies changed, and how have you met them? Is competition between salvage companies helping to improve the salvage process for insurance companies, and is this equally so for the salvage buyer?
Competition has always existed, and expectations are always growing. Insurance companies increasingly want more value for money, and salvage companies simply have to rise to the challenge!
As I have just mentioned previously, we’re continuously expanding the range of value-added services we offer to our insurance customers, and we work closely with them to develop bespoke service solutions when required.
We live in a world where customers expect instant and easily accessible support, so we provide an extensive range of self-service online tools and portals, and a dedicated account management team, which is available whenever our customers need it most.
I think the best way to put it is, we have an ‘always-on’ approach!
Do you think your role as MD for such a large organisation helps inspire others in this industry that has traditionally been male-dominated in the past?
I certainly hope so! As a female leader who has always worked in the automotive industry, which has typically been perceived as being male-dominated, my experiences have been positive. But I appreciate some people may not have been as fortunate.
I hope that seeing how my career has progressed within this industry will encourage more women to pursue opportunities that they may not have previously considered.
I’m pleased to say that at Copart, we support and encourage gender balance within the automotive industry, and we’re proud to have strong female representation across all areas of our business, including within our senior management team.
We actively encourage women within our company to pursue a broader range of career paths than they might have previously considered, and we’re proud to have female engineers, drivers, and yard operatives. I don’t think there’s any job at Copart that cannot be done equally well by anyone, regardless of their gender.
I really hope that a few years from now, the mindset that jobs are for everyone, rather than being typically male or typically female, will become commonplace across our industry.
I certainly feel as if things are moving in the right direction. Perceptions are changing, and there’s a lot of great work being done by groups like the Automotive 30% Club, which I am a member of. I’m proud to play a part in that and be seen as a positive example for other women within our industry to follow.
The pandemic is still sending waves across the industry. Are you sensing a return to some form of normality, and what lessons have you learnt from it?
With the emergence of new variants being reported, I certainly don’t think we can afford to be complacent about returning to a pre-Covid ‘normality’ anytime soon.
But we have proved how robust and resilient we can be in a crisis before, and we will do it again. We simply have to adapt to this new world we are all living in.
I think one of the biggest lessons is to simply keep on improving what we do and how we do it – which was already our ethos here at Copart even before the pandemic.
Covid has highlighted how vital our digital capabilities are, and how without them we would not have been able to continue operating throughout this period. Although our auctions have always been 100% online, we rapidly developed a completely contactless digital journey for sellers and buyers, including digital vehicle documentation, online payment options, and our own Copart apps for collecting, receiving, and delivering vehicles.
Our customers will continue to demand new technology that enables fast, safe, and contactless services, so we’re fully aware of how important it is that we continue developing these types of products and services.
As I mentioned earlier, we have also learned a lot about the importance of the depth and strength of our relationships with our industry partners and stakeholders.
We’ve all really pulled together during challenging times and have developed some fantastic camaraderie. I think we’ve created some incredibly strong relationships and really solidified our partnerships.
Also, have you realised that measures required at the time can still be implemented so as to continue to make Copart even more efficient and competitive?
Like many other businesses, it has highlighted the possibilities of other ways of working, with a view to being more flexible and adaptable to new future working environments. We will simply change and adapt to whatever the most effective and safest solution is to comply with the current advice while continuing to meet the needs of both our teammates and our customers.
For our customers, the acceleration of our tech that I mentioned earlier has permanently transformed the way we interact with our Members and Sellers, resulting in a significant improvement to their Copart experience. There’s no looking back now!
The new digital processes we have introduced since the start of the pandemic will, of course, continue, and we’ll keep on developing further solutions to create frictionless processes and a ‘speed and ease’ of doing business that is second to none. Copart has always been at the forefront of new cutting-edge technology and will continue to be!
Find out more about Copart at www.remarketing.copart.co.uk