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Interview - 01 December 2020

Interview with ECS Group, Managing Director – Declan Boyle

In July 2020, we sat down (virtually) with Declan for a Q&A. During this time the company was slowly emerging from the first wave of the pandemic; and we wanted to find out about the man himself, the company he leads, and his views on the future of the automotive industry.

What makes ECS culture unique, and what are you most proud of about ECS?

The culture of ECS is unique in that we employ highly trained and experienced professionals from the automotive industry. Then, after their initial training and induction, we empower them to carry out their roles autonomously. Likewise, in our office roles, we employ the correct people and empower them to carry out their responsibilities to the highest standards. Each member of staff is encouraged to contribute to improving the quality of our services and to suggest new ideas they feel may improve our offerings. I sincerely believe that the growth and success of ECS is a direct result of employing and empowering the correct people to represent our company; each member of staff individually contributes to our success.

I am most proud that ECS has maintained the values of a small family company as we have grown to our current size and intend to maintain these values into the future. We value our employees and their families’ well-being and as a result, our employees respond with dedication and loyalty to the company. This is what leads to the long-term sustainable success of the company.

ECS European Conference 2019

The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation. What have you seen from inside ECS, and where do you think these changes will lead us?

Many changes are happening within the automotive industry and these are happening at a very fast pace – new technologies and changes in ownership models being the main drivers.

For approximately 100 years, engine and vehicle technology have remained relatively unchanged. There have been many improvements in safety, emissions, power, and fuel consumption along the way but essentially, modern automobiles are comparable to vehicles from the distant past.

Suddenly, new technologies emerged. Hybrids and electric vehicles are now common. With the public embracing these changes, I believe the rate of change will accelerate in the future with many new technologies taking hold – hydrogen power, solar power, connected and fully autonomous vehicles, etc.

These technological advances are not limited to the vehicle itself, they also apply to how we buy cars; through more and more digital channels. Even how we own vehicles has begun to change. A car is often the second most expensive purchase (after a home) for most people, yet most of us use our cars less than 5% of the time. As people question the logic of this, they will start to embrace new ways to “own” cars – shared ownership.

These changes, often viewed as a consumer, also have a tremendous impact on our customers’ business models; be they car-makers, distributors or dealerships. We at ECS are keeping a close watch on these changes and endeavour to keep up and stay ahead of these changes to be in the best position to offer help and advice to our customers.

Photo by Menno de Jong on Pixabay

What makes you hopeful for the future?

With all of the changes coming in our industry, there will be a greater need for companies like ours who have the in-depth industry knowledge along with the flexibility to provide our customers with fast and effective solutions to the issues they will be facing.

The recent pandemic has only accelerated a trend towards the digitisation of the economy, allowing manufacturers to sell directly to consumers and pushing concessions towards omnichannel sales models.

EVs have far fewer moving parts than traditionally powered vehicles, so they require much less maintenance. It is estimated that the massification of connected vehicles could reduce accidents by 80%.

The widespread adoption of shared vehicles could result not only in a reduction in vehicles sales, but also in a transition from an individual buyer to a fleet buyer. Vehicles increasingly dependent on software and the adoption of over-the-air updates will modify the approach to vehicle warranty. Big data processes powered by AI and deep learning will change the way diagnoses are made and warranty claims are managed.

All of these are examples of how sales and after-sales operations will have to adapt. A wide range of changes that require the design of new strategies and the reskilling of workforces. The kind of things that ECS can help our customers and make us look forward to a positive future for the industry and our company.

credit: Adobe Stock

What makes you excited about Mondays?

Looking forward to the new challenges and watching how the whole company raises to meet whatever challenges may appear.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

With my background, keeping up with technical progress in modern engine development is a passion, with a particular interest in Hydrogen engines; I believe the Hydrogen Fuel Cell is going to play a significant part in the future of this industry.

I am also a keen Formula 1 fan, watching as many races and qualifying sessions as I can. When time and money permits, I enjoying going to races live. I am also a lover of water skiing, and currently learning to Wakeboard.

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