• Planning for the members at the ANWB

The ANWB – the Dutch automobile association – wants to use modern tools for planning and controlling all its business processes. In order to harmonize and standardize its planning process, the organization is switching to IBM’s TM1l. This saves time and money and provides more insight as well.

By Danielle Gruijs, February 2018
Don Jacobs and Michel Reijm

As an association, the ANWB is in a unique situation. “We have 4.4 million members, making us the biggest association in the Netherlands,” says Michel Reijm of the ANWB. Being non-profit also affects the internal business operations. “We aim to invest a proportion of our profits in social projects,” explains Don Jacobs of the ANWB, “which then benefits our members.”

More transparent and robust

This situation meant that in the past there 9was a lot of room for exceptions in the internal processes. “Our actions are designed to serve the interests of the members and safeguard the future of the association,” Michel tells us. “That sometimes means opting for customization and flexibility.”

Exceptions like these arose in the planning process too. “We have lots of different business lines, each with their own wish lists,” says Don. “In the past, efforts were made to comply with all these different wishes. Now we want to harmonize and standardize more. We want to use the control function to simplify internal processes and transactions where possible, to make the planning process more transparent and more robust.”

Migration to a new platform

This led to a new planning application. “There were multiple reasons for migrating,” says Michel. “The application we were using was no longer getting updated. We were also encountering the limitations of the old tool; we had to split the model in two in order for it to work. On top of that, the old license was expiring, which made migrating more financially appealing.”

The organization chose IBM TM1 as its new planning solution. “TM1 is innovative,” states Michel about the choice of IBM TM1. “The engine is better, making the tool quicker and more user-friendly. We’ll be able to build on this platform in future too, for instance to calculate the effects of various possible scenarios.”

“It’s saving time and money, both on the administrative side and for the users.”

Getting on board at the right time

This well-considered migration to an innovative technology is typical of how the ANWB deals with new developments; they carefully consider how to use new capabilities in its core processes. “We keep a close eye on technological developments so we can get on board at the right time,” says Don.

The ANWB recently has, for instance, ntroduced a new insurance policy called Veilig Rijden (‘Safe Driving’). “This insurance policy rewards people who drive safely with reduced premiums. We install a connector in the car that is linked to its systems, letting us determine how safely you drive,” explains Michel.

Innovation helps to streamline the processes, for example for the Wegenwacht roadside assistance service. “There are lots of people who use the Wegenwacht app to report breakdowns,” says Michel. “It means that the Wegenwacht knows exactly where these people are. That’s helpful to us, as well as being beneficial to the member whose car has broken down: we’re able to help quicker.”

Guaranteeing stability

During the implementation, Michel and Don deliberately chose to make the transfer ‘as-is’. “We wanted to guarantee the stability of the primary process,” says Michel. “First migrate and be sure that the basics work, then we can tweak and adjust things further. Testing is also easier.”

Don adds, “The ANWB wants robust systems. The impact is significant; we have lots of members and the ANWB is a well-known brand. The data flows are huge – sometimes there are more than a million records in a model.”

A disadvantage of migrating as-is is that you may have to resolve lots of issues merely to replicate the old situation. Especially if there are many exceptions, as is the case with the ANWB. “When recharging costs internally, it turned out that there were differences in how detailed the costs could be recharged,” says Bas Jansen. Bas, who works for Finext, is closely involved in the implementation of the new planning tool.

Michel Reijm, Don Jacobs and Bas Jansen

Simplifying

The first phase was to take account of all the exceptions that were made in the past. These can be properly addressed in the new solution. “In TM1 you can create flexible rules that let you include a lot of exceptions,” says Bas.

The model has already been further simplified for the planned next phase. “When designing the model we had a number of follow-up steps in mind to simplify it,” continues Bas. “We did that by looking for similarities: where are the overlaps and can we bundle them?”

“We’re able to do more, but it hasn’t become any more difficult.”

Michel and Don are enthusiastic about the results from the new planning solution. “It’s saving time and money, both on the administrative side and for the users,” says Michel. “We have more options for gaining insights and better overviews. We can now put a finger on the exact cause quicker.” Don agrees, adding, “the system has genuinely become faster.”

The data has been made more accessible for the end users as well. “We’re able to do more,” says Michel, “but it hasn’t become any more difficult. Where you might expect the complexity to increase, it’s actually gotten simpler.”

Time for innovative activities

Don and Michel want to improve the processes in the finance department even further. “We want to introduce more simplification to make the ANWB less complex,” says Don, “More harmonization, standardization, and automation will give us more time for analysis and innovative activities.”

Photography: MLBfoto

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