Volkswagen Financial Services goes live with Sofico Down Under in new fleet venture

Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) Australia has implemented the Miles software solution from Sofico, the privately owned provider of global fleet, leasing and mobility software, in record-breaking time.

The implementation project took just 11 weeks from start to end, including configuration, development and testing, the fastest time that Sofico has ever installed Miles. 

VWFS was first established in Sydney in June 2001 with just five employees, but today employs well over 110 full time employees.

Its primary objective is to provide finance and insurance products to around 700 retailers representing automotive brands within the Volkswagen Group, including Volkswagen Passenger and Commercial Vehicles, Audi, ŠKODA, Bentley and Lamborghini.

In December last year, VWFS began a tender process to find a fleet software supplier with an IT solution capable of supporting a new portfolio of fleet-specific products and services as part of a move into the Australian fleet market.

The primary objective of the fleet project was to deliver an IT system, infrastructure and processes for a new, branded fleet management organisation, and to help establish the new venture as a leading fleet provider.
VWFS followed a selected tender process and evaluated three fleet system solution providers, according to Philip Farhart, Fleet Project Manager at VWFS Australia.

“The main qualifying standards were that our new supplier had to fit with our existing infrastructure and be in complete alignment with our product and market development road map.

“They also had to provide a local office and resources capability, with existing fleet functionality and a fleet software solution that was currently deployed in Australia,” he said.

Sofico ticked all the required boxes and was appointed as fleet system vendor partner to VWFS’ new fleet venture in March this year.

Speed to market was of vital importance for VFWS. Crucially, Sofico’s Miles solution, which manages more than 1million vehicles around the world, comes with a pre-configured Reference Implementation set-up.

This set-up is based on common processes and best practices within the leasing industry, which speeds up the implementation process considerably and can cut the time required for implementation down to a matter of months or, in this case, weeks.

Miles is also highly configurable which allows it to be adjusted to meet the customer’s exact requirements and to provide optimal support of their individual processes.

As a result, Sofico technical support staff, working closely with counterparts from VWFS, were able to effect a very rapid implementation of the system, as well as quickly turning around any modifications that VWFS requested.

Within a very short space of time and as a result of implementing the Miles system, VWFS is now ready to offer fleet customers a number of services and benefits that hitherto it was unable to do.

“We can now provide a full suite of fleet management solutions in Australia to our target market,” said Philip Farhart.

 “Miles gives us end to end functionalities with a built-in accounting model for real-time updates, plus an embedded report writer for customised reports and documentation.

“It also provides us with the ability to integrate with a broad range of business services and external data suppliers, such as fuel card providers, JATO, the Personal Property Securities Register and accounting systems.

“It also has the ability to interface with third party applications, such as OCR, for data imaging directly into the database, while its web capability can be used to support fleet managers, drivers, dealers, suppliers and brokers - all backed by a comprehensive online help menu and documentation,” he said.

Koenraad Van Grimbergen, General Manager of Sofico Services Australia, said: “We are very excited to have VWFS as part of our customer portfolio in Australia.

“There was a very short implementation time-frame, the shortest in which we have ever actually implemented Miles, representing a great team effort by both parties.

“VWFS followed our standard implementation set-up very closely so there was little customization required, with only a little tweaking of our standard offering in some areas. And other than an accounting interface, there was very limited development work necessary,” he said.

Belgium-based Sofico first opened an Australian office in Sydney in 2002 in response to demand from a growing Australian fleet and leasing market.

Today, the company’s systems manage over 300,000 cars in Australia and New Zealand for a variety of fleet management and leasing companies, both captive and non-captive.

“Since we opened the Australian office in 2001, we have slowly taken over the market and are currently the market leader,” added Koenraad Van Grimbergen.

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