When most people see shiny new cars on a garage forecourt they don’t know that the dealer doesn’t own the cars. A financial institution or the distributor for the brand they represent does,” says Adrian Walsh founder of CheckVentory, an automated stock checking system designed to replace manual inventory control in high value asset sectors such as motor, energy generation and agribusiness equipment.
Walsh worked in IT before moving into the motor industry a decade ago. He is a former managing director of Fiat Ireland and also worked for Nissan andBMW. “I was familiar with the flaws in existing inventory control systems from the inside and felt there had to be a better way,” he says.
“Checks are necessary because there is an inherent credit risk without them. However, up to now the industry relied on someone with a clipboard counting cars on forecourts. That was not an accurate method.
“CheckVentory does what’s needed in a far more efficient way by empowering dealers to self-audit simply, securely and accurately. Our system will help collateralised credit businesses everywhere looking for ways to reduce their risk, costs and inefficiencies.”
Walsh’s first target markets are car distributors and the financial institutions providing credit to the motor trade. The company is currently working with 11 customers in Ireland and expects to have its first UK-based customers by the end of the year. Its main competition comes from manual auditing systems.
“Ultimately most of our business will be export but Ireland has been a very good market in which to develop and test the product because of access and my familiarity with the industry here,” Walsh says. “We currently employ four people directly and support a further three jobs in the software development company we have been working with.”
CheckVentory is based around two interactive elements, a cloud-based platform to manage and reconcile the audits and a mobile app to collect the data via smartphones. The technology has been developed in Ireland and designed to be multilingual. A patent is pending on the system.
“With the present system the amount of credit being afforded to dealers is limited,” Walsh says. “By increasing the frequency and security of inventory checks credit providers can retain more control and this in turn should make them more amenable to extending credit.”
Walsh established CheckVentory in late 2013 and estimates the cost of getting the business this far has been about €250,000, most of which came from personal resources and revenue from early versions of the product.
The company also received support from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown enterprise board in its early stages.
In 2014, Walsh participated in the New Frontiers start-ups programme run by DIT’s Hothouse innovation hub and subsequently took part in Enterprise Ireland’s entrepreneurial development programme.
OLIVE KEOGH – IRISH TIMES
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