Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Bruker Corporation

Bruker Corporation, Highly Commended, Best Cash Management Solution

Rosa Tan and Stacey Desrochers, Bruker Corporation and Don Tay, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Until 2013, this company was working with around 25 different banks in Asia, where the company operates in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, India and Japan. This resulted in multiple inefficiencies and disparate processes across the region. Now, working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the company has eliminated manual payments, adopted electronic payments and implemented standardised services and controls across the entire Asia Pacific region.

Photo of Rosa Tan and Stacey Desrochers, Bruker Corporation and Don Tay, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Stacey Desrochers

Treasurer

Headquartered in the US, Bruker Corporation is a manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis. The company has over 6,000 employees working in more than 30 locations around the world.

in partnership with

A smart single bank cash management solution across the region

The challenge:

Until 2013, the company was working with around 25 different banks in Asia, where the company operates in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, India and Japan. This resulted in multiple inefficiencies and disparate processes across the region.

When a new CFO was appointed, Stacey Desrochers, Treasurer set in motion a new initiative to gain better control over the company’s cash and bank accounts across Asia Pacific. The goals of the project included gaining visibility over all the company’s cash on a real-time basis, putting in place standard authorisation processes and lines of credit for overdrafts and guarantees and adopting online payments in a consistent way across the different countries.

The solution:

By transforming its cash management structure across the region, Bruker has demonstrated best practice in a number of ways. The number of bank accounts has been reduced, while standard authorisation processes have been adopted.

Processes relating to letters of credit (LCs) and guarantees have been automated. The company has also achieved real-time visibility and greater control over its bank accounts across the region, while less processing time is now required to carry out day-to-day cash management tasks. “People now have the ability to run reports and see their balances where they might have previously gone to the bank or picked up the phone,” explains Desrochers.

The first stage of the project was deciding which bank to work with in Asia Pacific. Bruker looked at several different banks and decided to work with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, based on the strength of the company’s existing relationship with the bank as well as its competitive pricing and geographical footprint, which was a good match for the company’s needs.

Winning an Adam Smith award is very rewarding and a nice recognition for all the hard work and effort that went into the project for the Bruker and Bank of America teams. It is a great moral booster for the entire team.

At a regional level, the company’s cash management structure has become dramatically simpler. In most of the countries of the region Bruker is now working solely with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The exception is Korea, where a couple of relationships have had to be retained with local banks – this is because some large clients in the country prefer to make payments within their own banks due to peculiarities of the local banking environment. Nevertheless, processes in Korea have still been dramatically simplified. Bruker previously worked with ten banks and held 42 different bank accounts in Korea but today the few accounts which are still held with local banks are now zero-balanced into the company’s main account with Bank of Merrill Lynch, its regional banking partner, providing a much simpler, automated process.

The new solution was adopted one country at a time, partly in order to spread out the time taken to review and negotiate the relevant documentation, and partly to manage resources – particularly with a similar project being carried out in Europe at the same time. Implementation is currently under way in India, the last of the countries to adopt the new structure, after which the regional project will be complete.

Best practice and innovation:

With this ambitious project, Bruker Corporation has eliminated manual payments, adopted electronic payments and implemented standardised services and controls across the entire region. “Lots of companies wouldn’t have done this project the way we did it,” says Desrochers. “The mantra of the project was that we were going to stick with one bank wherever possible. In Korea we had to continue to work with a couple of other banks, but otherwise we implemented a one-bank solution across Asia, which many people would find difficult to do.”

Key benefits:

  • Cost savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Reduction in bank charges.

  • Risks mitigated.

Key learning points:

  • Understand the country specific details of the documentation/administration and how it affects future process and resources, but always keep the end goal in mind as you work through all of the unexpected items as they arise.

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