Business solutions group Active Australia has been commissioned to provide an online car leasing and salary packaging service to 40,000 Defence Department staff.
Ford Australia won the Defence tender in a complicated tendering and subcontracting buying chain. Ford subcontracted five companies to administer the service. One was SMB Fleet Management who chose Active Australia to design the site.
The Ford-branded site provides a pain-free car leasing process whereby employees log on, choose the car, the colour and the features within their price range, and then SMB collates the paperwork.
Its proven expertise in designing sites with similar solutions put Active Australia ahead of the pack in the selection process, according to Active Australia's joint managing director Tim Watson. He believes the reason why his company was chosen was because Active's software enables clients to have technical flexibility for the future and the software frees them from platform dependency. "We craft the software from the ground up to meet the customer's requirements," Watson said.
"It's not hardware specific and can be used on any Intel Windows NT platform."
The software works behind the Web interface to search the Internet for a car dealer who can fulfil the order in the town nearest to the customer.
Active Australia charges customers between $25,000 and $125,000 for its tailor-made applications, which Andrew Griffith of SMB Fleet Management said is cost-effective because it releases payroll and human resource staff from assessing individual car leasing packages.
SMB and Active Australia will maintain the partnership in order to set up similar sites for other government departments in an environment where car manufacturers' profits are under pressure. Watson suggests this has forced them to find new ways of going to market and, as he points out, e-commerce gives access from anywhere and is changing the rules in terms of who is the middleman.