Improving adaptivity in a fast-changing industry - Case Toyota Financial Services
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Toyota Financial Services Norway (TFSN), a leading provider of car loan and lease services, implements Robotic Process Automation to increase agility and become more adaptive in a fast-changing industry.
Toyota Financial Services Norway (TFSN) is a part of the global Toyota Financial Services Corporation which operates in more than 30 countries and regions. In Norway, Toyota Financial Services provides car loan and lease services to private and corporate customers through Toyota retailers across the country.
SERVICE PROVIDED BY DIGITAL WORKFORCE
TFSN began working with Digital Workforce in 2018. The decision was influenced by its Finnish sister organization's positive experience working with Digital Workforce and its unique competence in delivering automation as-a-service. Digital Workforce's expansive service offering meant TFSN could outsource to just one partner all elements needed for automation success, from consultancy and training to technology and automation maintenance.
Digital Workforce is the Nordics’ leading provider of industrial-scale intelligent automation services. Digital Workforce’s intelligent digital workers utilize different technologies, including Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to automate and optimize its customers’ business processes.
“It is really the package that you have – all of it. I have one person and one company that does RPA and I don’t need to ask different people about different things.”
Harald Auvi Kyvik
IT Manager, Toyota Financial Services Norway
An additional reason for choosing the partnership was Digital Workforce’s physical presence in Norway. Toyota Financial Services currently has one Digital Workforce consultant working full-time as part of its Norwegian team.
Digital Workforce is helping TFSN grow its internal RPA competence and build the required solutions and sustainable infrastructure to leverage automation. Digital Workforce delivers Blue Prism RPA technology to TFSN through its Robot-as-a-Service on-demand platform. If issues arise with developed solutions or updates are required, Digital Workforce is responsible for resolving the incidents and proactively ensuring that TFSN's automated processes run as they should 24/7.
Intelligent automation at Toyota Financial Services
TFSN recognized that automating routines could cut operational costs, allowing it to invest more in new business areas. By reducing routine work TFSN’s objective was to enable its employees to spend their time on more complex and exciting work; for example, new strategic initiatives.
“We are financing cars, and the whole industry is changing from pure cars to mobility, so we all need to change and be efficient in what we do today so we can make investments in new business areas… One focus area is RPA because we know in Norway operational costs are high. We need RPA to do the routine work so our staff can spend their time on new business areas.”
Harald Auvi Kyvik
IT Manager, Toyota Financial Services Norway
The key drivers for Toyota Financial Services to introduce digital workers
Cutting costs related to routine work
to reallocate funds to more strategic areas.
Freeing up people’s timeto spend on strategic initiatives and decision-making.
A Kaizen culture, which encourages everyone to participate in continuous innovation, shapes Toyota Financial Services leadership and operations. Questions like: “Why we do this and could we do it in a smarter way?” sit at the core of TFSN thinking and align precisely with the cultural requirements of automation.
Thanks to its direct impact on people’s most tedious workloads, RPA has been very well received by TFSN staff, who enthusiastically contribute to new ideas for automation. The long list of ideas, open to all to suggest, is evaluated and prioritized by TFSN’s Center of Excellence to identify the best targets to pursue based on potential.
“Everyone is positive because we can see we are going to save a lot of time… We have too many manual processes, so we are actually eager to spend that time on something else.”
Dept. Mng., Operation/Customer Services, Toyota Financial Services Norway
INITIAL TARGET PROCESS
The first process selected for automation was the company’s loan claim process - a core business process that tied down a significant amount of time and costs in daily manual work.
The back-office process was manually performed whenever a dealer approved a client for a car loan.
The manual process consisted of:
- Receiving via email or in paper-form an approved loan contract and the dealer’s invoice
- Checking controls
- Filling into the core banking systems information data from the received documents
- Paying out the loan
Completing the process results in a new active contract in TFSN's system. From the customer's perspective, this means getting access to TFSN's customer portal and correctly receiving invoices and other communications. The car dealer also gets paid the loan amount.
AUTOMATED LOAN CLAIM PROCESS
In the first part of automated solution, TFSN uses Canon IRIS to scan the received documents, pick and store the relevant data into a document management system. IRIS, Canon’s Intelligent Document Processing- solution, enables TFSN to structure data received in an image to a form that RPA can process in the next stage.
Once IRIS has stored the metadata in the document management system it gives the scanned documents a special status. The changed status triggers the RPA part of the process where the robot logs into the TFSN’s core banking system and checks the digital signature and all values from the metadata against information stored in the system, such as possible prior invoices and contracts.
If everything looks ok, the robot moves to another part of the system, where it continues to do a few more controls before automatically paying the loan to the dealer.
The automated process includes:
- Scanning the approved loan contract and dealer’s invoice to extract relevant information in structured digital form
- Automatically performing controls against information stored in the core banking system to ensure data quality
- Filling in customer and contract details into the core banking system
- Automatically paying out the loan
The loan claim process is fully automated and requires no human interference apart from exception handling.
The main challenge in developing the highly secure solution with quick response time related to building integration between the Azure-based RPA and TFSN’s own AWS cloud environment.
Automating the loan claim process has met its objectives in terms of freeing up employees’ time to do more value-adding work. It has improved cost efficiency, enabling TFSN to invest more in new business areas. Dealers are paid more quickly, and the faster process improves the customer experience by giving clients rapid access to the TFSN customer portal. It also ensures that invoices and other customer communications are sent out correctly, by eliminating the possibility of human error.
The automated process:
- Frees up time to do more strategic work.
- Cuts operational costs – enabling more to be invested in other areas.
- Eliminates the risk of human error and verifies data quality.
- Speeds up loan payments to the dealer.
- Ensures a positive customer experience by…
-> giving quick access to TFSN’s customer portal
-> ensuring invoices and other customer communication are sent out correctly.
TFSN is most proud, however, of its staff’s support to adapt to and use RPA.
TFSN is a very lean and adaptive organization, which closely relates to its vision for automation: for staff to spend their time on what can’t be automated. RPA – and automation in general – has an essential role to play at TFSN where, by automating many core-business processes, the company sees a way to become increasingly agile and efficient. In the fast-changing car industry these traits are prerequisites to success.
Due to the strategic role of automation and the desire to scale up quickly, TFSN is currently focused on building its internal competence – particularly in developing new solutions – to maintain control of its business-critical processes.
Many processes within TFSN also use the same applications making automation easily scalable.
Finance process for leasing and private lease:
Checking documents and making the payment to the dealer.
Mileage schema to track on a lease or private lease
when there is an agreement about how many miles the car can drive before being delivered back to the dealer.
Other areas of investigation include using more APIs over screen recognition in developed solutions and combining RPA with AI to enhance customer service.
Toyota Financial Services subsidiaries are locally-led but often share core systems and processes. While local businesses make their own decisions about RPA, they also do a lot of knowledge sharing to distribute learnings and experiences between the different countries. For example, TFSN was able to learn from its sister company in Finland about RPA. The Norwegian team also looks forward to supporting its counterparts across Europe on their automation journeys.