The need for digital integration across every facet of business operation has significantly increased in recent years, and grown exponentially during the recent pandemic. Every company is looking at which systems they can digitise to simplify, streamline or save, and in particular customer facing systems.
Customers expect a positive digital experience from suppliers, and providing this not only help customer service, but retention and streamlined productivity too. Indeed, according to CBI research, 94% of businesses believe that digital technologies are a crucial driver of increased productivity.
Fleet operation has been an area with a strong focus on efficiency and economy for some time, but digitisation is taking it a step further still, with automation and innovation helping fleet decision-makers to run vehicles and manage drivers better.
Whether it is ordering vehicles, reporting problems, managing fines and schedules or even defleeting, fleet operations are increasingly moving online. Allstar Business Solutions has been at the forefront of this digital revolution, offering a complete range of products and services to help customers make their business payments easier when on the road, and enabling administrators to manage fuel and fuel costs better.
A business looking to implement Allstar cards for their fuel and on the road expenses can now research, apply, roll out and manage their cards entirely online, without having to even speak to an Allstar representative, if they so wish.
For existing customers, Allstar’s services mean they can continue to manage their fleets remotely, and be operationally resilient in areas such as payments, fuel and servicing no matter what other issues they might be facing within the business.
“We have an end-to-end digital offering, including our application process, credit approval, account management and invoicing, because customers expect to be able to manage their services digitally at a time and place of their own choosing,” says marketing director Nick Webb.
“While we have always been a business that prides itself on the human touch, and our excellent, personal, customer service, we understand that a significant number of new and existing customers increasingly want to integrate our products and services entirely digitally, especially during this period where resources are stretched and time is at a premium.”
The new reality for many companies is that they will see employees less, with managers and departments possibly working from new locations. This can result in loss of oversight on spend and inefficient administration processes, but Allstar’s digital enhancements and products help ensure employers will have even more control, not less.
At Allstar, mindful that companies are constantly on the move and need decisions quickly, the new customer application process has now been fully digitised and automated. A prospective business can research what it needs, then apply for those products online, getting an instant credit decision.
Consequently, a firm needing to introduce fuel cards can quickly implement the programme, while Allstar will remotely help manage the on-boarding process and provide the means for fleet managers to help get them and their drivers up and running through entirely digital methods.
“Businesses need to act quickly: every day spent not fully maximising opportunities can have a serious financial effect. So we are fully committed to getting companies up and running in the most efficient way possible, with streamlined administration and on-boarding, so they can get on with their work,” says Nick Webb.
Administrative burden is a constant source of inertia in business operations, and manual, labour-intensive processes can be expensive and time-consuming. As a result, getting drivers’ accounts active even more quickly and efficiently has also been facilitated by digital processes.
In order to streamline the roll-out of new cards, PINs for those cards that require them are now being sent digitally rather than by post, making the process more secure. This means drivers can start using their cards quicker, rather than waiting for PINs to be distributed.
Chip technology in every Allstar card ensures enhanced security for customers every time they are used. Each card can also be configured so that drivers can only purchase certain products, such as specific fuel types or consumables, including engine oil, car washes or other vehicle related expenses.
For the maximum cost efficiency, it is vital that fleets reclaim all the VAT from fuel and expenses that is owed to them, so they need ensure that employees obtain HMRC-compliant VAT receipts. But drivers can often lose paper receipts, or not specify ones with the VAT number on, which means the tax cannot be claimed. They can also take time to put receipts through as expenses, and this can mean a delay when VAT is not being reclaimed.
Fuel bought through Allstar fuel cards has VAT-compliant digital receipts and invoices created, which can then be exported into the business’s accounting systems, meaning that a company has a clear picture of what it is owed, and when.
“VAT charges are a significant cost to a business and not claiming them back efficiently can have a major impact on cash flow and even the bottom line,” says Nick. “It is important to have a robust procedure in place and digitising this digital process ensures that all money can be claimed back.”
Relieving administration headaches is an essential part of many digital solutions. Allstar’s range of products cover fuel, servicing and other vehicle related expenses and all of these can be easily controlled, administered and reported digitally through Allstar Online.
Allstar Online offers a modernised platform that gives customer a clean, simple dashboard view of their account. Whether they need to order new cards, cancel old ones or check recent purchases, Allstar Online allows them to make changes to their cards, 24 hours a day.
Customers can have their HMRC-compliant fuel invoices delivered to them through the online portal, can adjust spending limits and controls for every card remotely, collate spend and create bespoke reports.
“For many businesses, the administration of fuel expenses could be a nightmare if they continue to do it through pay and reclaim. Not only could they have absolutely no idea what their employees are doing or spending, but then they have to get those receipts and claims, process them and pay them. It’s a recipe for losing complete control of expenditure.
“We have had a digital offering for management and reporting for some time, which ensures that this essential part of cost control can be managed digitally,” explains Nick.
Fleet managers can also schedule and approve service, maintenance and repair work on drivers’ vehicles remotely, through ServicePoint’s online portal, ensuring they are kept on the road and not wasting time trying to book jobs in.
The Allstar Plus fuel and business expense card allows firms to manage a wide range of expenses including office supplies, hotel, restaurants and other business costs.
Employees can easily upload all receipts simply by taking a picture on their smartphone. Visa Business Reporting from Allstar matches the picture of the receipt with the purchase via the mobile app, helping them complete expenses in real time while on the move.
For the business, it also offers visibility of all business expenses in real time, complete with digital receipt and notes, as well as the ability to export data to other systems.
The App also sends transaction notifications when purchases are made with the card, while managers can customise the online dashboard to view spend, trends or run reports, while all transaction data is compliantly stored for seven years to support accounting purposes.
There are a number of innovative digital products that employees can use to make their working lives easier. For example, drivers can download the Allstar Co-Pilot app, which allows them to find fuel stations which accept Allstar cards, using GPS and a range of search functions based on location.