8 June 2022
When Emma Bakewell joined Scania Financial Services (SFS) in 2002, the company had 23 employees involved in the delivery of a relatively limited range of finance solutions. Today, with a staff complement of 80 and a wide ranging portfolio of products and services, SFS is a far more substantial force within the commercial vehicle finance and insurance industry. During her 20 years with the company, Emma's career with SFS has also developed and flourished to the point where she now manages a team of 25 responsible for a variety of mid- and back-office SFS functions.
"I oversee five areas of operation," says Emma. "First, we have Credit Underwriting, which has a team of industry professionals who agree the finance arrangements we offer our customers. Then there's our Sales Support team whose role is to look after credit proposals from the initial application through to the issuing of funds. Our Collections personnel ensure payments due to us are made on time, and our End of Contracts team handle all end-of-lease vehicle returns, including managing inspections and invoicing for any damage or excess mileage. Lastly, our Floorplan team provide interim funding facilities to our independent dealers to cover stocking needs and to bodybuilders in order that bodywork can be added to vehicles without the bodybuilder's own funds being tied up for what in some cases can be a considerable amount of time."
Before joining SFS, Emma had worked in automotive finance for ten years since graduating from Coventry University with a degree in Accountancy and Business Administration. Rising from a New Business Clerk, she progressed to become an Underwriter and Finance Analyst before moving to SFS as a Credit Analyst. As SFS grew, Emma was promoted firstly to the position of Credit Manager then to her current role.
"The Credit and Operations Director is a member of our Executive Team and as such is involved in discussions regarding the development of the company and the products and services it offers," explains Emma. "Our approach is always to put the customer first; indeed that is one of Scania's core values. To do that, we not only talk to our customers to learn about their business needs, but we are also involved in a great many cross-functional conversations between ourselves, Scania (Great Britain) Limited and our dealer network.
"Having an extremely broad role and being involved in so many different aspects of our business is what makes the job so exciting, interesting and, of course, challenging. It's true to say that no two days are alike, and I find having that variety extremely motivating."
Summarising how SFS has evolved over the two decades she has been with the company, Emma comments, "In addition to widening our range of products and services, we have become much more pro-active to ensure that operators come to us for their financing needs. Today, we look to build partnerships and long term relationships while delivering an all-round service that is truly second-to-none.
"Over the coming years, I'm sure we will see many more changes, driven by our vision to deliver greater sustainability. As Scania drives the shift towards more sustainable transport operations by introducing new technology such as Battery Electric Vehicles, so too will our business models change and adapt to meet the new needs and demands of our customers.
"But I also believe some things won't change, such as the family feel working for Scania generates. There has always been a great working environment at SFS and we work hard to ensure that continues – I'm very proud to be able to say I work for Scania, and I'm sure my colleagues would say exactly the same."
Emma's day off
Even a busy Credit and Operations Director needs time to relax and Emma spends her time away from the business enjoying the company of friends and family and walking the dog. Together with her sister, who runs a livery stable, Emma keeps horses. "I love the horses," she says, "but running the stable is very much my sister's thing – shovelling all that you-know-what is definitely not for me!"