The most impressive aspect of this initiative has been the remarkable speed in which it has been accomplished. For a company of this size and global scope to have completed such a significant treasury transformation within a two-year timeframe is simply put – remarkable. A combination of strong leadership, a keen vision for how significant treasury improvement could be achieved, and a fruitful collaboration between ASICS’s treasury team and J.P. Morgan’s team at both headquarters and regional levels was key to the success.
Photo of Marco Schuchmann, ASICS Europe B.V. and Sadachika Yoshioka, J.P. Morgan.
Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
Since its founding in 1949, ASICS Group has been committed to nurturing the world’s youth through sports in order to contribute to society. Its vision has been to “Create Quality Lifestyle through Intelligent Sport Technology” and its mission to provide goods and services that promote healthy and fulfilling lifestyles throughout the world.
in partnership with
Treasury transformed in just two years
ASICS’ ambitious growth initiative has created numerous challenges for treasury and finance, including the request to optimise the speed of delivery. As such, inefficiencies around manual account posting operations, trapped cash, foreign exchange (FX) hedging, and investments involving many accounts had to be eliminated.
Adding to the challenges, cultural differences across the regions and the many stakeholders involved, made the process of change slow and gradual rather than quick and expedient. Some subsidiaries were manually uploading reconciliation data from the system or using a template. These manual processes were not uniform and were cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient.
To address these challenges, the company recognised that new leadership in the treasury role was needed to effect change. ASICS recruited Marco Schuchmann as Group Treasurer with the charge to break down the barriers that would make an efficient treasury function impossible. Given his expertise and proven experience, Schuchmann was able to identify the issues and challenges facing the company’s treasury team. He quickly determined that each of the company’s subsidiaries was using its own payment data and different payment formats.
With strong leadership from treasury, ASICS was able to manage cultural differences while tackling the challenges that led to inefficiencies. J.P. Morgan was selected as the company’s banking partner. Working together with ASICS, the bank put in place a payment-on-behalf-of (POBO) structure for its subsidiaries. This has eliminated payments from being initiated at the local level, and excess cash from sitting in accounts. Now local accounts for collections are opened with J.P. Morgan, enabling cash to be concentrated at the regional headquarters, consolidating liquidity across EMEA.
To achieve this end, ASICS established a comprehensive treasury policy, as well as operational flow policy for all payments across all subsidiaries. Treasury also implemented SAP across Europe to achieve uniformity in the handling of payments.
Most notably, the ASICS treasury team, as a result of strong leadership, has accomplished this ambitious initiative that has enhanced ASICS’ treasury operation and instituted a state-of-the-art process within two years. A project of this magnitude would normally take many more years for a comparably-sized global MNC to implement.
Best practice and innovation
After discussions on account rationalisation and its structuring, J.P. Morgan offered an innovative two-layer multi-currency notional pool, which allows ASICS to manage global liquidity while maintaining control over regional cash management. This platform enables ASICS to initiate POBO for each subsidiary and manage various currencies at the regional treasury level. In addition, it facilitates end-to-end, streamlined, automated operations from every angle, eg establishment of a shared service centre, a single data format, access to each centralised currency, cross-regional liquidity management, a scalable platform, a SWIFT gateway and a new ERP system which rolled out across all of Europe.
Highly efficient EMEA regional treasury structure and SAP solution across its many subsidiaries within two years.
Fully automated regional pool, the global pool as well as the global liquidity pool, now help manage optimal working capital by effectively utilising 20% of global cash for repayment of short-term debt and redemption of corporate bonds.
Improved cost management in the areas of human resources and system maintenance costs. FX transaction costs have been eliminated, delivering additional financial benefits.
Marco Schuchmann is Group Treasurer at ASICS and has launched a treasury transformation programme within the multinational sports company to create a strategic treasury function. Before joining ASICS, Marco spent 18 years in treasury managing multinational projects at AkzoNobel, which included changing the treasury IT infrastructure and implementing a payment factory in 30+ countries and 200 legal entities and also at Amgen where he set up the treasury back office.