Volkswagen Group UK is wholly owned by the Volkswagen AG: one of the most successful automotive manufacturers in the world, with some of the most iconic brands that the industry has ever known. One in every five cars sold in the UK is a Volkswagen Group brand. They have over 900 employees and a network of more than 1,000 dealerships in the UK, selling half a million vehicles every year.
Volkswagen Group UK first approached Remote New Media in 2005 to design and develop a system to automate the annual stock count of all vehicles in the UK throughout all of their retail brands, including Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda, plus Europcar and Bentley, for commercial, retail and staff vehicles; we have worked with them ever since refining and updating the system year-on-year.
The resulting system collects data from various sources using our custom-built, secure online application and collates it into a central database. It then compares it with the data held at head office in existing SAP and other stock control databases and reports any inconsistencies or anomalies.
The count is reconciled, and the resulting files are then exported to form the final stock count in summary reports and submitted to the Inland Revenue.
The particular challenge for this project was that each brand had their own method for storing and reporting on stock data, requiring a new system to be designed to accept data in different formats, and collate it into a single database.
Every factory, port, retailer and employee was required to submit data to the stock count system, and so we created an intuitive and easy-to-use bespoke submission system.
Being a greenfield project, a large number of auditing rules needed to be discovered and created, and so an intuitive system for managing those rules was also created.
Before they commissioned us to create this system, the collection of data for the annual stock count audit was a full-time, year-round task, and the stock count itself happened over several weeks. The first year that we ran our new system, the auditing time was reduced to three months, with a stock count window of one week.
Now, thanks to an ongoing process of incremental improvement, the collection of data for the audit takes around a month, with a stock count window of two days.
The initial investment in the system was returned many times over thanks to reduced staff time on the audit process, and the large number of vehicles recovered by our software and repatriated into the VW Group system.