Toyota Finance New Zealand (TFNZ) has revved up efficiencies, clocked up the savings, and garnered international attention after implementing intelligent automation in its local operations.
The Kiwi subsidiary is New Zealand’s largest captive finance organisation, with offerings covering private vehicle finance, corporate fleet management and car-share subscription services.
When over 39,000 hours in potential benefit from automation was identified in an Opportunity Assessment, the company launched its first intelligent software robot – Fabio – to assist with fast quoting in March 2019, freeing up its fleet services team to spend more time with customers, rather than inputting data.
Anita Hogan, TFNZ Applications Manager, says it’s a move that has seen the company give almost 2,000 hours back to the business in 2019 and projected benefit of 4,500 hours back to the business in 2020.
“Through using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA), we have been able to increase efficiency while also seeing big savings,” Hogan says.
The pilot, built on UiPath technology by New Zealand digital transformation services and business automation specialists Quanton in conjunction with TFNZ, was delivered in less than three months, using agile methodology. During this time, UiPath was fully deployed into TFNZ’s architecture and technology environment.
The pilot process, run by Fabio, TFNZ’s software robot, automates the task of creating quick quotes and spreads – a previously laborious and manual task. Through automating the process, TFNZ has enabled its fleet team to spend less time on admin and more time building customer relationships. The approximate annual saving was 1,300 hours back to the business or the equivalent of 64% of a full-time employee equivalent.
Anita was looking for a way to improve the efficiency of operations within the business, while still being able to leverage the company’s core IT, software, and infrastructure stack – the engine-room for the business – while also complying with strict compliance and security requirements for its IT architecture.
Financial Services is a rapidly changing market, with customers becoming more and more mature in how they navigate and consume products and services.
Anita quickly identified automation as a possible solution to drive efficiencies, freeing up staff from mundane, repetitive tasks and enabling them to focus on higher-value, customer-facing work.
Russell Berg, Quanton’s General Manager for Product and Emerging Technology says RPA also fits well with TFNZ’s Kaizen programme.
“Continuous improvement is very important for TFNZ and RPA heavily links back to that for the reason that you now have a far deeper and richer level of data relating to processes, actions and tasks. Now you can form a view with quantitative information on where the potential for improvement is and what the benefit of improvement might be.”
Fabio was only the starting point for TFNZ, with the company taking on a second software robot just before Christmas to assist its fleet team in handling a significant seasonal surge in transactions and volumes.
The intelligent automation programme hasn’t just delivered cost savings and new efficiencies – it’s also seen the local operation recently pick up a coveted Kaizen Innovation Award for the Americas and Oceania region. Toyota Finance subsidiaries in each country vie for the award each year, with every country submitting one project. New Zealand’s 2020 win is the first for the local office in 13 years.
Anita states: “There is still a lot more we can achieve, and there are more technologies that sit alongside RPA that are complementary and can take our programme to the next level.
“We’re not at the end of the journey. We’ve just completed step one and there is a lot more to do.”