Budget Rent a Car drives e-billing project

Racing towards multiple goals of better customer service, a paperless office and a faster, cheaper invoicing process, Budget Rent a Car implemented an automated electronic billing service.

The Melbourne-based company, which has a core base of more than 8000 corporate customers nationally and mails out between 6000 and 8000 invoices monthly via the traditional paper and postage method, is already seeing a return on its investment.

The project was completed last month using the Flexemessaging EMdirect application from Trade Wind Communications.

Budget, which employs about 300 people, manages one of Australia's largest fleet of commercial vehicles, can deliver financial documents in various ways including fax, e-mail and Short Message Service (SMS), as well as through traditional postal delivery -- giving Budget's customers choice and flexibility, and reducing the costs and resources involved in invoicing.

Budget's marketing director Lance Robertson, who declined to talk about the cost of the project, said Budget had targets for achieving a sequential flow of uptake. "Not all invoicing will be done electronically. We want about 50 per cent of transactions to be up on the system -- electronic billing -- in three months. The uptake was 5 per cent in the first week."

"It's a win-win situation for us and our customers. The benefits go both ways - invoices and statements can be received in minutes, as opposed to days, enabling quicker payment cycles; document management is easier; and we continue stepping towards the vision of the paperless office."

Robertson said Budget has back-up contingency plans to continue running the application should there be any hiccups.

"The application is running smoothly and there have been no hiccups since the day it was put in. Staff aren't spending nearly the amount of time they used to on physical mailing and are now doing more value-add work. Our customers are also spending less time handling physical paper," Robertson said.

"Applications like this will become more widespread as they improve services and efficiency," he added.

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