Free use of an Audi A6? Not quite as don’t forget the tax on the benefit.

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I met up with a good friend of mine the other evening. He was rather excited as he was in the process of choosing a new company car. As part of his remuneration package he’s lucky enough to be given a company car and this car gets replaced every 3 years.

He’ll shortly be provided with the use of an Audi A6 TDI SE company car. He’s obviously done his homework though as when another friend who was with us said that it must be nice to be given the free use of a car he rightly pointed out that there is a tax benefit in kind on the car and had worked out that the benefit for the tax year 2009/10 was £9,506.

His top rate of tax is 40% so the actual tax he will be paying for the use of the car will be £3,802 or £317 per month. He was right therefore in pointing out that although the car was provided for his use free of charge by his employer he would be paying something for it in terms of tax.

For any F6 (UK) or P6(UK) students out there who want to check his calculations then the list price of the car is £36,560 and the CO2 emissions are 179g/km (and don’t forget the 3% extra seeing as it was a diesel!)

So, how will Tom be impacted by the scanning of the outbound logistics?

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Tom, the postman that delivers letters to our street always seems to be happy and full of the joys of life. Whether it’s the middle of a cold and wet winter or during a hot summer (admittedly in the UK we don’t get a lot of hot summers but that’s another story!) he’s always smiling and ready for a quick chat.

I wonder whether he knows though that he is in fact part of the “Outbound logistics” of the Royal Mail’s Value Chain.  Value Chain Analysis is a model by Michael Porter and provides a “bird’s eye view” of a business.

The postal service in Finland has recently announced that they will be running a trial where individuals can sign up for a pilot programme which would allow the postal service themselves will open the individual’s letters, scan them and then store them electronically on a password protected  electronic mailbox.

Individuals who use this service will then be sent a text message or email telling them that they have received mail and they can then log on and decide whether the mail item should be shredded or sent to them via the postal system.

This is a novel way of changing the outbound logistics of the value chain. As well as potential costs savings for the postal service in terms of transport costs it would certainly enable people to reduce the amount of junk mail that they received.

There will be obvious issues to address such as confidentiality when the letters are opened and scanned but this is certainly a pilot programme which will be worth watching to see how it develops.

I mentioned to Tom about the pilot programme in Finland and he didn’t seem at all bothered by it – his view was that he’s getting older so the less junk mail he carries the better it would be for him!