“Credit managers can once again concentrate on their core duties”
SWEMP is the name of the collaborative arrangement concluded between five Dutch housing corporations, Staedion, Woonbron, Eigen Haard, Mitros and Portaal. The housing corporations decided to enter into this collaborative agreement when they realised that they were all using the same ERP application and all have comparable processes. The five corporations joined forces to increase their strength and achieve a certain degree of harmonisation in their processes.
The corporations were in agreement that their ERP application lacked some credit management and collection functionalities like scheduling options. In addition, the housing sector has to be able to reach agreements and work with transparent workflows. SWEMP wanted to make sure that their tenants are never evicted because of payment problems, an intention which makes it essential for them to maintain in good standing with them. For this reason, they wished to increase their professionalisation in this area, a wish that rapidly resulted in their decision to opt for credit management software. Mark van Gorp, SWEMP Project Manager, managed the implementation of Onguard’s credit management solution CreditManager.
Learning from one another
“Together, we are stronger”, Mark van Gorp explains. The five housing corporations are engaged in similar everyday activities, including their credit management operations. They are harmonising their work and reviewing how they can standardise some of their processes. Mark van Gorp: "Using the same system enables us to benchmark our performance and learn from each other. Onguard gives us advice on the configuration of the processes, and all without detriment to the working methods and identity of the individual corporations. We’ve been cooperating for years, switching to Onguard was very pleasing.”
Credit managers as marketeers
SWEMP has been using Onguard’s CreditManager for years, and the implementation remains in the process optimisation phase. The objectives of the optimisation are to measure the successes and to gain the insight into the portfolio, continuously adjusting processes where necessary. In Mark van Gorp’s opinion this can only be achieved when the credit managers act as marketeers: “Tenants first come into contact with the credit management department when they can no longer pay the rent. The collection policy needs to focus on enticing tenants to keep up with their rent payments. Obviously, we never want to see a bailiff knocking on one of our tenant’s front door to serve a court eviction order: avoiding eviction is in the interests of both the tenant and the housing corporation. The software supports the staff in enticing tenants to pay their rent. The software gives the credit manager timely warning of the need to contact a tenant. The credit manager then tries to find a suitable solution and maintain good relations with the tenant. Sometimes tenants are simply unable to pay, and then the credit manager has to reach payment agreements with them. Making records of these agreements in the system is very simple. Our credit managers find that the software really does work for them, and that it supports their corporation’s operations and, consequently, their tenants - but all without dictating to them what they have to do.”
“As SWEMP is an arrangement between five housing corporations, we have to reach unanimous agreement on our software purchases. Back in 2015, we carried out a comparison of the products available on the market. After a lot of deliberation - and a visit to another organisation - we decided that Onguard’s CreditManager was top-of-the-class,” Mark van Gorp explains. The collaboration began in 2016. “Although we needed some time to get to know each other, when we got cracking our collaboration proved to be highly agreeable. We are members of a joint project team, and we hold valuable discussions on configuration issues. As I always say, ‘There will always be obstacles, and some you simply have to overcome’. The most important things in a team are trust and calling each other to account when it’s necessary - and the teamwork between SWEMP and Onguard is absolutely perfect.”
- Good overview of the work portfolio
- Readily measurable performance
- Repetitive tasks are automated
- Clear insight into activities requiring follow-ups
- Transparent workflows