Toyota Finance NZ drives automation with RPA

New Zealand’s largest captive finance company, Toyota Finance New Zealand, has implementing intelligent automation in its local operations using the UiPath RPA platform.

TFNZ provides products and services, including consumer and small-business vehicle financing, vehicle leasing, and corporate fleet management services. Recently TFNZ added car-share subscription services to their portfolio, when they joined forces with the country’s largest car-share operator, CityHop. The demand for vehicle subscriptions – or vehicles-as-a-service – is increasing, which might indicate that the broader motor industry is preparing for a major shift.

An initial Opportunity Assessment exercise involving NZ solution provider Quanton and members from TFNZ customer services and fleet sales teams identified over 39,000 hours of potential benefit from automation and helped drive early engagement within the business.

After delivering a pilot in 90-days, TFNZ has automated over 15 processes using UiPath RPA platform, reaping the benefits and giving almost 2,000 hours back to the business in 2019, while projecting a further 4,500 hours back to the business this year.

A second UiPath software robot went live just before Christmas 2019, providing over 8,000 annual hours of additional automation processing capacity to the fleet team managing their rental portfolio.

Anita Hogan, TFNZ Applications Manager, said “In terms of our operational strategy, we have a global strategic directive to increase the efficiency of operations as well as digitising the entire customer experience.

“As a Financial Services organisation, transactional work is at the heart of what we do every day, and these activities have a direct impact on our customers, both consumer and corporate. Inherent in this is the fact that manual processes are prone to simple, yet potentially costly mistakes, and we wanted to remove that risk from the business.

“We needed to streamline and refine these processes while also planning for - and building - our future capabilities.

“The fintech industry has made significant inroads in New Zealand over the past few years – customers now expect to be able to apply for finance online with a few clicks and receive funds within hours, or maybe even minutes. Fintech organisations are setting the gold standard in terms of slick, digitised customer experiences, and we need to make sure we can keep up with that speed of change,” said Hogan.

Russell Berg, Quanton’s General Manager for Product and Emerging Technology, says automation within TFNZ isn’t just about cost savings, with the very real potential for automation for cost avoidance and risk mitigation.

“One area with a big benefit is a process involving health and safety.

“Basically, with a leased vehicle if a driver doesn’t bring it in for scheduled servicing, the lease company needs to be notified, because this is now a health and safety issue.

“It’s an important area, because if that car is involved in an accident and the accident is found to have been caused by something that could have been prevented - say replacing the brake pads for example - the lease company could be liable.

“TFNZ shared with us that there is already one case in New Zealand that has gone to court with this exact scenario, and it had serious ramifications for the lease provider.”

While TFNZ haven’t yet automated that process, Russell says it highlights the potential for cost avoidance and risk mitigation using automation. “There’s no possible way to do that sustainably without automation.”

For Anita Hogan, there’s still plenty to be achieved within the business.

“The message I’m putting back to business now is that this doesn’t stop with us identifying processes and automating them. There is still a lot more we can achieve, and there are more technologies that sit alongside RPA that can take this 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.”

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