Carvana reconditions vehicles faster with Oracle Cloud services

Auto retailer uses Oracle’s platform for low-code application development to track vehicles in greater detail nationally, across dozens of inspection centers.

Mark Jackley | April 15, 2024


Meet Carli, a custom application Carvana developed natively on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to track every used vehicle the company inspects and reconditions for sale.

Working with Oracle systems integration partner Accenture, the online retailer of preowned vehicles developed Carli to provide details on the status and cost of vehicles as they’re inspected, painted, and repaired before being sold on Carvana.com. The app uses machine learning to simplify workflows, reducing the time, labor, and costs needed to recondition vehicles. Automation helps produce higher-quality, more salable vehicles by supplying employees with daily quality-assurance task lists.

“Speed, cost, and quality are always the biggest factors,” says Tim Moore, senior director of product management at Carvana. “When we recondition vehicles faster, customers see them faster. When we meet quality standards, customers like what they see. And because we operate at such scale—for example, buying thousands of parts every day—we have to be aggressive about controlling costs.”

In tandem with other systems, Carli helps Carvana save hundreds of dollars per reconditioned vehicle, the company estimates. Partly on the strength of such cost reductions, the company recorded its first-ever annual profit in 2023 and saw its stock price soar 800% from February 2023 to February 2024.


“Disparate data everywhere”

As an example, users had to keep track of operational expenses in one system and record and track outside labor costs in spreadsheets, a slow, error-filled, siloed process. “Our legacy applications simply wouldn’t allow us to scale,” Moore says. “We had disparate data everywhere. Without standardization, it was hard to accurately estimate the cost of reconditioning a car.”

Working on OCI, Carvana and Accenture used the Oracle Visual Builder low-code development tool to launch Carli in only 11 months. Carvana’s team of developers now use Visual Builder to make ongoing refinements, guided by feedback from Carvana employees in 28 inspection and repair centers across the United States. Visual Builder enables Carvana to “map the role people play within the process of reconditioning a vehicle, then translate that to their needs in a simple, user-friendly way, where we can present the right data at the right time and in the right place, so users can do their jobs faster and more effectively,” Moore says. 


Attention to detail

At inspection centers typically covering more than 100 acres each, 11,000 end users have visibility across a complex process, supported by other Oracle integrated cloud services. Oracle Integration Cloud synchronizes data from numerous systems, including Carvana’s supply chain and logistics applications, to track inventory and recondition costs in real time. OCI Database automates data management to simplify administration, while OCI Access and Identity Management secures network perimeters to help keep data safe. Oracle Analytics Cloud delivers insights to optimize workflows and shave costs.

At each inspection center, users with a smartphone, tablet, and desktop devices can get a live status report on any vehicle passing through, whether it’s waiting on paint, tires, or engine repairs, and they can get immediate estimates on costs and completion dates. This was a “game changer” because on average, Carvana processes thousands of vehicles per week.

With OCI, we have the capability to determine the right path for a vehicle to optimize costs, speed, and quality.

Tim Moore Senior Director of Product Management, Carvana

Each vehicle receives a 150-point quality inspection using industry-leading standards. “Carvana appears to be trying to kick a car out to wholesale if it doesn’t meet the company’s retail standards,” says an analyst at Recurve Capital, who noted the company’s “clear, strong process…to ensure only the best cars make it to Carvana.com.”

Carli integrates data on inspections, repairs, and parts procurement with data from other applications and systems throughout Carvana. It also automates invoicing for parts and other expenses.

With Oracle Analytics, Carvana built custom dashboards displayed throughout inspection centers to reveal vehicle issues that can delay reconditioning cycle times. OCI makes it easy to use AI to automate decisions, for example, proactively ordering parts based on vehicle health. These kinds of innovations helped reduce the per-unit cost of parts by 45% from August 2022 to August 2023 and reduce cycle times—the average is now in single digits. Ongoing cost savings helped Carvana record $5,511 in gross profit per vehicle last year, its highest ever, according to the company’s February letter to shareholders summarizing Q4 and annual results.

OCI’s architecture enables Carvana to integrate Oracle Cloud services with those on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and other cloud infrastructures. On OCI alone, Carvana processes 200,000 user transactions a day, with workload volume increasing 114% a month, Moore says. Carvana receives platform fixes and new features every two weeks, plus at least one major OCI release per quarter.

Says Moore: “We like to think of ourselves as a technology company that happens to sell cars.”


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