Toll Transitions provides removal and relocation services to 300 Australian organizations and government departments. Toll Transitions is part of Toll Group, a leading provider of integrated logistics services, which operates a network of more than 1,200 sites in 55 countries across Asia.
Toll Transitions implemented Oracle Policy Automation to provide Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel with a better relocation experience, give them more certainty about their entitlements, and reduce the time to process relocations from an average of two days to 90 minutes.
Toll Transitions’ National Manager, Strategic Systems, Nigel Maloney, had been looking for a business rule engine for several years to help expand the organization’s footprint inside the Australian Department of Defence.
In early 2009, Maloney discovered Oracle Policy Automation, an application suite that could be used to automate the process of coordinating relocations for ADF personnel, including flights, temporary accommodation, allowances, and reimbursements.
In May that year, Toll Transitions signed a US$1.03 billion (AU$1 billion), five-year contract to provide removal and relocation services to the Department of Defence. Under the contract, Toll Transitions would relocate around 23,000 ADF personnel each year, and relocate a further 2,000 not requiring items to be moved.
The contract represents the organization’s expansion from a removal services provider, responsible for moving the personal items of personnel to offering full-business-process, outsourcing services covering other aspects of staff relocations, such as flights, temporary accommodation, and allowances.
“Packing up your family and possessions and moving to another location can be very stressful, particularly if you are in the armed forces. Oracle Policy Automation has enabled us to develop a system that provides 25,000 Australian Defence Force personnel each year with a better relocation experience, more certainty about their entitlements, and a single point of contact during a difficult time,” said Maloney.
There are two types of relocations ADF personnel can undertake: they are either assigned to a new post, or their circumstances change, such as when they get married or have children and require new housing. When an ADF member has to relocate, they are provided with funds to cover the cost of travelling to a new location, meals, and possibly temporary accommodation.
Toll Transitions receives a posting order from ADF when a staff member needs to be relocated. This order is fed into Toll Transitions’ custom-built case management system and is then passed onto Oracle Policy Automation—which automatically applies rules, based on answers to various questions—to determine the member’s entitlements.
To ensure the system worked well, Toll Transitions and Oracle Consulting took complex source material from the Australian Defence Force Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN) to create a set of executable rules that automated the relocation process.
“Oracle Policy Automation determines whether or not a member is entitled to be relocated and their total travel, disturbance, and meal allowances,” said Maloney. “The system calculates these entitlements in around three to four seconds.”
As a result, Toll Transitions can process a relocation posting order in between 90 minutes and two hours, compared to the average of two days it took previously, when relocations were processed manually. Some simpler relocations can be processed in 30 minutes.
“Prior to implementing Oracle Policy Automation, there were some calculations that we simply could not do, such as multileg journeys requiring complex calculations,” said Maloney. “By streamlining processes and associated policies, these calculations are now possible. This significantly reduces stress levels for the staff processing these relocations because they can be completed quickly and now adhere to improved processes and policies.”
“Importantly, it also removes the uncertainty around whether or not personnel are receiving the correct entitlements and ensures the answers to members’ questions are consistent across all interaction channels, such as inquiries made online and through Toll Transitions’ call center.”
Toll Transitions also used Oracle Policy Automation to create a Web-based calculator that enables the ADF to check how it reached a calculation at any point in time for personnel entitlements and allowances. This is particularly useful if there is a disagreement between ADF and a member about how claims have been calculated.
The Oracle system provides the same answer every time, eliminating variations in calculations and ensuring personnel receive the exact amount they are entitled to be paid by law. This is a significant improvement over manual calculations, where errors can occur and go unnoticed.
“The Oracle solution also enables ADF to quickly audit its operating expenses,” said Maloney. “These new financial reporting processes have been reviewed by the Auditor-General at the Australian National Audit Office and given the seal of approval. The requirement to randomly audit multiple cases can now be handled within half a day, including checking on the allowance payments.”
Oracle Policy Automation has also helped ADF highlight and resolve anomalies in its PACMAN documentation. People now have a better understanding of previously ambiguous processes, such as how costs are calculated for claiming a meal allowance when on a journey, or what falls under the definition of ‘the vehicle’ when calculating a combined travel and vehicle allowance.
Toll Transitions had been looking for a suitable business rule engine for more than 10 years before Maloney was introduced to Oracle Policy Automation.
“We looked at a few other systems, but we felt that nothing came close to Oracle Policy Automation,” said Maloney.
Initially, Oracle Consulting built rules in Oracle Policy Automation from a chapter of PACMAN. Oracle convinced Toll Transitions—through a series of demonstrations—that Oracle Policy Automation would provide the organization with a unique point of difference, compared to other logistics companies.
Toll Transitions interfaced Oracle Policy Automation with its case management system before hiring a software programmer who understood how the solution’s business rules engine worked.
“There are 12,000 entries in the PACMAN decision tree so it was a 12-month process,” said Maloney. “But it was more than worth it because of the automation that it provides to the Department of Defence, and the efficiencies we have achieved as a result.”