Europa Worldwide Group is set to start 2018 at full pace towards its goal of becoming the leading logistics operator between the UK and Europe, with the launch of the third phase of its bespoke IT system Leonardo.

Having already invested approaching £3m in its unique, in-house developed IT system, Europa – which specialises in road, air and sea and warehouse services – will launch the next stage of its new IT suite, LeoFinance, in January.

The new function will streamline credit control, in turn improving cash flow for the business and simplifying supplier management. It will bring together the business’s road freight operation and finance systematically, cutting out unnecessary and time-consuming tasks and improving the visibility, across the whole business, of all financial transactions.

IT Director at Europa, Richard Litchfield, who has led the Leonardo project from conception to implementation with his team of 17 in-house IT experts, said: “This is another exciting launch for Europa and the next logical progression following the launch of LeoRoad in 2016 and LeoCab earlier this year.

“LeoFinance will provide improved customer and supplier financial visibility, combined with automated banking integration. It is set to transform our finance department, slicken the processes and remove a number of manual and repetitive tasks – all within the now familiar Leonardo environment.”

MD of Europa Andrew Baxter decided to heavily invest in its IT system following his acquisition and subsequent restructuring of the business in 2013 – which saw separate divisions created for its Road, Air and Sea and Warehouse teams. The Leonardo system was inspired by the famous quote from Da Vinci himself, who said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ and has given the business in-house control over its systems, improved responsiveness, efficiency, productivity and scalability across its 11 UK sites.

The first phase of Leonardo, called LeoRoad, enhanced Europa’s road freight operations, while the second phase, called LeoCab, extended the system to the drivers of Europa’s fleet.

Richard added: “It is extremely rewarding to see the Leonardo suite of functions coming to life, and working together to contribute to the growth and overall success of the business. Following the restructure, we knew we needed to change our IT system in order to become market leaders and we knew it would be a painful process, but the rewards we are now reaping are worth the difficult period of initial implementation.

“Now LeoRoad and LeoCab are fully operational, LeoFinance is the logical next step. It will be able to analyse the operational activities across the business and provide much more granular financial detail than we have today, allowing us to better understand our performance and improve where appropriate.”

Finance Director at Europa Rob Ross added: “It is a really exciting time for the finance team at Europa and the new IT system will allow us to remove a number of daily manual processes that our previous system forced us to carry out. LeoFinance will also allow us to support the business via information that is more timely, more accurate and more detailed.”

Once launched, the second phase of LeoFinance will see electronic scanning and processing of supplier purchase orders introduced. The system will be continually enhanced by Europa’s IT team during the course of 2018.

Europa Worldwide Group employs 650 people across 11 sites in the UK and Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries.