TRATON GROUP & TeamMate+ Audit
ComplianceFinanceTaxe și contabilitate19 noiembrie, 2021

TRATON SE & TeamMate+ Audit

TRATON is a relatively new name for a group comprising five well-known commercial vehicle brands. When its central internal audit team needed a flexible tool to support assurance across these disparate subsidiaries, it chose TeamMate+.

Global journey

Order or buy goods anywhere in the world and there’s a high chance it’s spent time in a truck of a brand from the TRATON GROUP. Travel in a city bus or intercity coach and you too may be occupying a seat of a TRATON brand. The company name may be relatively new, but it encompasses four leading commercial vehicle brands manufacturing in Europe, North and South America and AsiaScania, MAN, Navistar and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus ­– plus RIO, its transportation digital services division. The name stands for TRAnsformation, TRAnsportation, TRAdition, TONnage and always “ON”. In the first 9 months of 2021, the group sold around 195,400 vehicles and it employs over 96,000 people.

However, assuring good governance across a disparate group of large, established brands with their own distinct cultures – and unique risk profiles – is challenging. How do you ensure that these retain the corporate knowledge, reputation and expertise that has made them successful, while also maximising the group’s power to offer assurance on compliance and risk management, cross-reference data and share any lessons learnt?

The group originated when German car manufacturer Volkswagen AG reorganized its truck business followed by a stock launch of TRATON in 2019. Latest Navistar became a new member of the TRATON family in 2021Each brand occupies a slightly different place in its market, falls under different regulations, and has its own board and internal audit team.

At a central level, the group’s headquarters in Germany and Sweden provides overarching support and management at the macro level. Central functions include a TRATON corporate audit team that defines the core audit guidelines that the brand internal audit teams adapt to meet their own needs. Established in 2019, the TRATON audit team needed software to support its assurance processes and data. It had to be user-friendly and adaptable to encourage multiple internal audit teams in different brands and regions to work within it in a way that suited them. They were also keen for upgrades to be provided automatically, rather than depending on scheduling with busy local or central IT teams. They chose TeamMate+.

“Our history with TeamMate in the group stretches back to 2010 and we migrated to TeamMate+ in 2019. It made sense for us because our central governance structure was developed using TeamMate AM so we knew it worked for us and our internal auditors were familiar with it,” explains Andreas Hückert, audit manager teamlead IT – audit and data intelligence, at TRATON SE. “TeamMate AM was well established with two of our brands and we used the major functions it provided. Our main requirements from TeamMate+ were a user-friendly interface accessed via a browser and that the system was easy to maintain, because in the past we had to select which updates were essential to minimise demands on the IT team.”

The fact that the internal auditors were already familiar with TeamMate AM meant that they were immediately comfortable with the look of the new system and confident about using it after just one day of training, Hückert explains. As a consequence, “it was a very smooth migration for all our users and managers,” he says.

Shared knowledge

Hückert is clear that the TRATON SE corporate audit team is not a “steering” function – it advises and supports brand internal audit teams, rather than demanding change. However, supporting and enhancing communication about new ideas, experiences and best practice is an important focus for the whole group and he hopes that the new internal audit system will help.

TeamMate+ makes collaboration and communication between the holding team and the brand teams much easier and more transparent.
Andreas Hückert, Audit Manager at TRATON SE

“We have a corporate level sounding board to discuss, for example, process changes that one brand has tried and been successful with that may help other brands,” he says. “We have a role to help share best practice, identify synergies and share what different teams are doing or where they can offer help and TeamMate+ makes collaboration and communication between the holding team and the brand teams much easier and more transparent. It removes possible points of friction.”

In particular, it makes the time-consuming and complex tasks of documentation far more straightforward, and this has helped his team conduct quality assessments. “It’s much easier for our quality agent to investigate if we have a common system and can easily compare documents and data,” he says. “And it creates new opportunities if we are working on joint audits – for example, if we conduct a joint audit between TRATON and MAN, with auditors from both teams, it makes sense for us to use the same tool.”

New developments

“When we decided to migrate to TeamMate+ we were not looking specifically for any extra functions, but the fact that all the functions are integrated will mean that we can start to introduce new features and tools in a step-by-step process without lots of extra training,” Hückert says. “For example, we’ve started to pilot the use of the document request function, so auditees can upload documents to the system directly, and we’re also interested in using the TeamInsights features when we feel it is the right time for us to do this. We also collect improvement suggestions from the users to have a lean and easy to use system according to the standards.”

Hückert adds that he sees the relationship with TeamMate+ as a long-term and evolving project. He intends to monitor developments both in the software and across the internal audit profession, then assess against the needs of the TRATON GROUP and let these determine which features to adopt, and when.

For example, he points to the group’s internal reporting system database, which it developed when it could not find anything suitable on the market and has rolled out to all its brands. The reporting function in TeamMate+ now offers a similar system with more content.

The configurability of TeamMate+ means that different brands can use different tools and functions in different ways to suit their needs and this is very appealing to us.
Andreas Hückert, Audit Manager at TRATON SE

“We will assess what this offers and may well migrate to it in the future,” he says.

“The configurability of TeamMate+ means that different brands can use different tools and functions in different ways to suit their needs and this is very appealing to us,” Hückert adds. “We need this flexibility because we have very few central demands about how it’s used and the size and set up of different brands means that some functions are useful to one but could not be used by another at present. It’s easier for a small group to test a new function than a larger one. If it works well, we will share that experience across the group.”

TRATON SE’s corporate audit function has a complex, multifaceted role, part compliance and assurance and part facilitation and communication across multiple brands and national borders. TeamMate+ is a crucial tool to help the team bridge gaps and enhance transparency, while also enabling the flexibility that is vital to the way the group operates. More change is clearly in the pipeline, but Hückert is confident that they now have the tools to navigate to wherever they need to be in future.

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