by Mark Kightley, Shared Services Director, AVIS Group
AVIS Group started its move towards shared services when it opened its call centres in 2000, one each in Manchester and Barcelona, with customers based in the UK and Germany primarily supported from Manchester and other European customers from Barcelona. These call centres managed customer rental reservations and other elements of customer service and proved highly successful. Consequently, we decided to extend our shared services by opening a Business Support Centre in Budapest to provide financial and administrative processes such as Accounts Payable, General Ledger, Intercompany activities, Customer Services and Database Management. The Business Support Centre was intended to cover our full complement of European markets: UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal, so we needed to be mindful of local requirements as well as seeking to implement common, standardised processes across the business.
Currently, the Business Support Centre employs 250 people but as administrative processes are increasingly moved from the local businesses to the shared service centre, such as insurance, receivables etc. we expect this to increase to around 330. Having reviewed various possible locations, Budapest was selected as we could take advantage of wage arbitrage while still benefitting from appropriate language skills and good communications.