Repossessed Vehicle Management System
I created a system to help a credit union sell their repossessed vehicles online.
A credit union needed a way to advertise and sell their repossessed vehicles online. They had vehicles listed on their existing website but the listings were difficult to maintain as each vehicle listing was a static web page. Every time a vehicle needed to be added or removed, an employee had to manually create or remove a page on the web server. Additionally, there was no way to submit offers on the website.
I was asked to create something that would be easier for employees to use and allow offers to be made on the vehicles.
There is a lot of information about a vehicle that can be determined with the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). There are several companies that offer APIs for VIN decoding. So I created a way for the repo lot employees to start entering a vehicle into the system by supplying its VIN. The system then makes a call to the API and retrieves all the data associated with that VIN including the make, model, engine options, colors available, and various other features the vehicle could have.
Then the repo lot employee could simply selected from those available options and easily create a listing without needing to type everything in.
The backend system allows the employee to set vehicle pricing, a description, photos, and choose whether a vehicle is hidden or listed on the public website. All the information entered in this backend system updates all of the credit union’s public websites in real time.
The employee can also see a graph showing the number of times a vehicle has been viewed on the public websites. A printout can be generated that can be put on the vehicle’s window showing the features the vehicle has.
The backend system allows an employee to view a list of offers that have been submitted for the vehicle. The offer contains the person’s name, address, phone number, email address, the offer amount, the date the offer was submitted, and a comment (if entered).
A few years ago I created the ability for people to bid on a vehicle. People could submit a bid and if the bid was validated by an employee, the minimum bid price was updated on the website for the vehicle. This idea was rejected by some employees at the credit union. So it was removed soon after it was launched.
There is an area of the vehicle listing page where people can submit questions about the vehicle. An employee receives the submitted question and can answer it via email.
I was the only programmer for this project. I worked with the repossession employees to gather requirements and refine processes until the solution was completed. I created everything on the public and backend websites. I researched VIN decoding vendors then integrated the selected vendor’s API. I created the databases. I created the test and production website environments on the web servers.
I met with the employees after the system was ready for production to train them on how to use it and to make sure they were comfortable with everything they would need to do.
The system launched very successfully and has been running for many years. There have been 2,964 vehicles processed through the system since launch. The public websites were overhauled a few years ago to update the look and feel.