Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Fresenius

Harnessing the Power of Technology Highly Commended: Fresenius

Dirk Schreiber and Gabrijela Dadic, Fresenius

Fresenius required a payment factory and a payment processing platform which is fully integrated with its various ERP systems and also provides security and compliance.

Photo of Dirk Schreiber and Gabrijela Dadic, Fresenius.

Dirk Schreiber

Head of Group Treasury

View biography

Fresenius is a global healthcare group offering high-quality products and services for dialysis, hospitals, and outpatient treatment. With over 250,000 employees in more than 100 countries around the globe, and annual sales exceeding €25bn, Fresenius is one of the world’s leading healthcare companies.

Bank relations consolidated first, then comes payment factory initiative

The challenge

Fresenius required a payment factory and a payment processing platform which is fully integrated with its various ERP systems and also provides security and compliance. The key drivers on the path to efficiency within Fresenius’ treasury operations were an IT strategy and compliance and shared services centres in relation to a payment factory.

The solution

Fresenius is a global player with significant complexity in its banking and finance landscape. The project itself breaks down as follows, and contains a focus on compliance, best practices in payments optimisation and efficiency in treasury:

  • Roll-out schedule: October 2016 to December 2019.

  • Twenty relationship banks.

  • 1,100 bank accounts.

  • 300 legal entities.

  • Fifty-three countries.

  • Twelve SAP systems (including test environment).

  • Integration of SAP in-house bank.

Best practice and innovation

This project is significant in scope and complexity. Fresenius demonstrated inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural cooperation between external and internal stakeholders such as shared service centres (SSCs) in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Global internal and external IT initiatives were used to standardise SAP functionalities within the business segments of Fresenius (templates for payment run, import of electronic bank statements), finance and IT colleagues of their local subsidiaries worldwide (retained organisation) being responsible for local cash management, bank partners, legal and tax teams, TIS as their service provider and also the central treasury team. The project was intensively led by four people alongside their daily cash management activities and other treasury responsibilities.

“An Adam Smith Award is a terrific honour for us, that rewards explicitly the huge performance of my cash management team. It also documents the great commitment towards a best in class payment solution for Fresenius Group.”

Dirk Schreiber, Head of Group Treasury explains, “So far, we have had an excellent communication flow and structured planning processes regarding the project steps. As a team, we have already seen success in the first phases of this project, and are motivated to continue down the path of optimised payments and treasury processes together. We have learned that the outsourcing of payment file reconciliation enables rapid roll-outs but that the clean-up of account infrastructure and payment methods are essential pre-requisites for a successful implementation.

It is also necessary to check and clean up vendor and bank master data within SAP prior to on-boarding new company codes, and it is essential to clarify all IT security and privacy topics prior to on-board new countries. We are confident that working together, we will move through the next project phases and complete an amazing project – as one strategic treasury team.”

Key benefits

  • Lower maintenance costs for bank accounts.

  • Reduction of bank transaction fees.

  • Lower operational costs.

  • Reduction of bank claims (returns/rejects).

  • Savings of local IT cost for interfaces/formats.

  • Transparency for reporting/covenants.

  • Reduction of counterparty risk.

  • Mitigation of compliance risk.

  • Harmonisation of processes.

  • Harmonisation of IT products.

  • Improved IT security.

Portrait of Dirk Schreiber

Dirk Schreiber

Head of Group Treasury

Dirk Schreiber has worked for the group treasury department of Fresenius for almost ten years. Initially he was responsible for the FX management prior to heading up group treasury in 2012. Before that he worked in different finance and accounting functions for Lafarge Roofing (today Monier).

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