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Get To Know…Sean Draycott, Auto Windscreens

Modern Insurance Magazine sits with Sean Draycott, Operations Director, Auto Windscreens, for a chat about the insurance industry.

Tell us about your role at your firm. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?

I oversee all operational aspects of the business. Alongside our Technical and Training department, I’m in charge of developing our Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) calibration capacity.

I’ve worked at Auto Windscreens for nearly 18 years, starting as a Trainee Technician and working in most departments, so I understand how systems have an impact on particular roles. It’s interesting to be part of the team making the big decisions and putting new processes in place for the benefit of our team, our customers and our business.

What are the challenges facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?

The big challenge is the cost of living. We’ve increased our technicians’ hourly rate and they have the option to work overtime if we have available jobs. Thankfully, there’s quite a lot of opportunity for the team to do this at the moment as we’re pretty busy.

We’re also growing our business and staff numbers, and are finding it challenging to recruit to meet our growth plans for our team and number of service centres, but this has improved since last year.

If you could go back to the start of your professional career, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?

I’d say to expect challenges but these are outweighed by opportunities to make changes for the better. Any difficulty is well worth overcoming if you have the capacity to improve systems and processes that benefit everyone.

What would be your prediction for the industry in 2022 and beyond?

After attending Automechanika in Birmingham this year, it became clear that car manufacturers are looking to continue rolling out evermore complex tech features in their vehicles. This rapid development means we need to spend more time on jobs and invest in more training and equipment to keep up with the pace. Vehicle glass is becoming more complicated, and designs are moving towards panoramic styles, which is driving up costs. I see this continuing into the near future.

What made you want to work in this industry?

I liked the flexibility of working evenings and weekends and the option to work overtime. Having my own van reduced my costs and I enjoyed managing my workload and being on the road. The job gave me a real sense of freedom compared to my previous role, when I worked in a garage as a qualified mechanic.

Thus far, what has been your most significant or proudest achievement in your current or previous roles?

My proudest and most significant moment has to be becoming Operations Director last year, having worked my way up from a Trainee Technician. I’ve enjoyed being able to make changes for the better – from smaller improvements as an area and regional manager to the bigger decisions now I’m a Director – it’s fantastic to see a positive impact on the team.

How would you like to see the insurance industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire?

The industry has changed so much during my career. I’d like to us work closer with insurers to show just how complex glass has become and how this affects our business and industry.

In the longer term, as I near retirement, I imagine driverless cars are likely to significantly change the claims landscape – speeds will be limited so there will be less accidents, but I don’t anticipate the demand for our services reducing. Manufacturers are always looking at ways to increase visibility in a car, which means bigger windscreens and body glass, and as long as there are cars, we’ll be here!

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