From my very childhood, I found joy in tinkering with motors, experimenting with gears, and delving into the intricacies of electronics to craft various contraptions. This early fascination laid the foundation for a lifelong love for all things automotive and mechanical. It’s a love that has been nurtured through years of unwavering dedication, marked by numerous challenges some victories and an abundance of learning!
From the gritty floors of our first garage to the bustling network of repair outlets, I’ve lived many bolts and nuts of this business. Now, managing the tech ventures of Autorox & Autozilla, I find myself at the intersection of two worlds – automotive and technology.
Incredible journey and even more tremendous learning!
Through the decade-long journey of co-founding and steering CarZ, we’ve been through a lot – the uphill climb of building a business from a single outlet and a dream to establishing a network of repair outlets, some franchised, others company-owned.
When we returned from the US to India in 2008 with the idea CarZ, there was a complete void between the OEM Dealer and the local, neighbourhood Independent Garage. The organised, multi-brand car repair industry did not exist and neither was any part of the ecosystem evolved to support such an endeavour. We had to conceive and build every part of it, brick by brick. It was anything but easy. It was a journey of sweat, setbacks, and ceaseless learning.
Building a brand, one that exuded trust and transparency, was more than a marketing strategy. It was a intentional effort to stand out in an industry often plagued by skepticism. It meant late nights and early mornings, tireless efforts to build a name that customers could rely on.
Pricing services where there was no reference or standardisation was about valuing the skills, the labor, the expertise that went into every repair. It meant countless hours crunching figures, ensuring that every quote was fair, both to the customer and the business.
Negotiating with insurers was a dance to protect our customers and business. It meant learning the fine print, understanding the intricacies, and sometimes, holding our ground in the face of bureaucratic rigidity.
Procuring spare parts, a seemingly mundane task, became a relentless pursuit of reliability. It meant navigating supply chains, forging relationships with suppliers, and sometimes, making tough calls when shortages threatened to halt our operations.
Promotion and marketing were lifelines. They meant pouring heart and soul into campaigns, reaching out to potential customers, and sometimes, weathering the storm when strategies didn’t yield the expected results.
Managing teams was about nurturing a family of skilled technicians and support staff. It meant understanding their strengths, motivating them through challenges, and sometimes, making tough decisions for the greater good of the team.
Managing the finances, driving profitability was a means of ensuring our longevity. It meant scrutinizing every expense, finding ways to optimize operations, and sometimes, making difficult choices to keep the business afloat.
Venturing into franchising was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. It meant placing trust in partners, navigating uncharted territories, and learning hard lessons about the importance of due diligence.
Innovation wasn’t a buzzword; it was a lifeline. It meant constantly seeking ways to improve, whether through facility upgrades, advanced equipment, or refining repair processes. It meant pushing boundaries, even when it seemed like the industry was content with the status quo.
Standard Operating Procedures were the backbone of consistency. They meant ensuring that every customer, in every location, received the same level of service excellence. It meant creating a unified experience, even as the network expanded.
Embracing digital transformation when pen and paper dominated the industry and the prevalent skill set meant rethinking every process, integrating technology into every aspect of our operations, and sometimes, stumbling through the learning curve.
Looking back, this journey wasn’t just about business; it was about the trials, the tribulations, and the profound lessons that came with it. Each experience was etched into the very soul of our operations, a testament to the raw determination and unwavering dedication that went into building a brand that’s survived the test of time.
Realisation of the transformative power of technology
The culmination of these hard-earned lessons at CarZ found its expression in the birth of Autorox & Autozilla, the technological marvels (yes, I believe so!) that I proudly oversee today. What sets them apart is that they weren’t just conceived randomly; they were forged at CarZ, where they played a pivotal role in weathering some of the most daunting challenges we faced.
As I witnessed the transformative power of technology within our own operations, I became impassioned about extending this advantage to fellow auto repair businesses. The result? A suite of platforms that embody simplicity without compromising on excellence. Autorox & Autozilla emerged not only as software but as a lifeline for businesses striving to navigate the complexities of auto repair. They didn’t just open doors; they unfurled a global stage, connecting us with repair shops across more than 25 countries.
In this expansive network, we found kindred spirits, sharing in their dreams, grappling with their challenges, and championing their aspirations. It’s a testament to the universal language of this industry; a language that transcends borders, a language of grease, gears, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Today, we stand as a testament to the power of technology in revolutionizing auto repair. Starting with just a handful of early believers, we’ve grown to become the largest deployment of tech across multi-brand, independent car garages in India and now expanding globally.
So why do I write? It’s simple. I believe in the power of sharing.
These articles, born from the depths of experience, are a testament to our journey. They carry with them the scars of failure and the wisdom of getting back up. They’re a reflection of our commitment to the repairer community, a way of giving back.
Our platforms, Autorox and Autozilla, are a testament to these learnings, woven into every line of code. They’re not just products; they’re a living, breathing embodiment of the lessons learned from the grind.
As our industry evolves, so will we. Our tech will adapt, our platforms will grow, but the essence will remain – a commitment to empowering the repairer community, because we’ve been in your shoes. We’ve felt the wrench turn, heard the engine hum, and known the satisfaction of a job well done.
So, as you read through these articles, know that they’re a legacy of grit and gears, a testimony to the trials faced and the victories earned by my team and I. And if, in these words, you find a companion in your own journey, we’ll consider our mission accomplished. Together, let’s drive the future of auto repair.