Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Wilhelmsen Ship Management Group

Wilhelmsen Ship Management Group, Highly Commended, Best SWIFT Solution

Aman Singh Chadha, Citi, Mee-Yin Soong, Ee-Ching Chang and Voon-Sang Eg, Wilhelmsen Ship Management

Wilhelmsen Ship Management Group (WSM) embarked on an ambitious re-engineering project to streamline and enhance its structure and processes. Today, WSM’s SSC in Kuala Lumpur processes more than 10,000 payments each month, in 61 currencies through four major global banks to serve their global clients. Combining their banking partner’s solutions with SAP and SWIFT capabilities, WSM is able to harness the power of information transfer and technology to reinvent its treasury operations.

Photo of Aman Singh Chadha, Citi, Mee-Yin Soong, Ee-Ching Chang and Voon-Sang Eg, Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Mee-Yin Soong

Vice President Finance

Wilhelmsen Ship Management Group (WSM), part of the Wilhelmsen Holding ASA Group headquartered in Norway, is one of the world’s largest providers of third-party ship management services.

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The challenge

Prior to 2012, WSM was using an old accounting application complemented by manual accounting processes. Different countries adhering to different processes resulted in inconsistencies of financial data, inefficient manual effort and late payments. WSM faced high-volume of manual payment transaction processing, tracking and reconciliation work, leading to less timely payments and deployment of additional resources to resolve related late payment issues. Since 2012, WSM have been having ongoing discussions for solutions to address these challenges.

Mee-Yin Soong, Vice President Finance explains, “We were looking for a banking partner to assist us in creating a seamless and automated payment process, strengthen the governance on payment cycle and streamline reconciliation to achieve automation.”

The solution

During the last three years, WSM has implemented various financial process re-engineering initiatives:

  • Phase 1: System integration (2012).

  • Phase 2: WorldLink host-to-host (H2H) solution.

  • Phase 3: relates to Swift connectivity and fully automated payments and receivables reconciliation during 2015 to enhance the quality of its accounting service deliveries to its clients.

WSM has re-engineered its incoming receipts and outgoing payment processes and leveraged Citi’s WorldLink Payment Services to achieve straight through processing (STP) and straight through reconciliation (STR) for its high volume cross-currency payments from more than 250 bank accounts, representing the vessels from its clients.

Moreover, the team was able to implement a phased approach to enable WorldLink capability via SWIFT to facilitate STP payment instructions.

  • Streamlining outgoing payments

    By leveraging Citi’s cross-currency payments capability, WorldLink, WSM was able to efficiently execute settlements of cross-currency and cross-border payments from its primary functional currency accounts in more than 60 currencies across the globe.

  • Straight through reconciliation

    WSM typically performed manual reconciliation of incoming receipt and outgoing payment items via specific reports provided. With Citi’s STR capability, the company is now able to streamline the reconciliation process and leverage on enriched itemised data and information as part of the bank statement in the MT940 format.

  • SWIFT corporate connectivity implementation

    With SWIFT corporate connectivity, complete end-to-end automation was achieved, where all transactions are uploaded and authorised through the single ERP system. As a result, manual payment tracking and the need for senior management to log into various banking systems to perform transaction authorisation are no longer required, thereby saving time and resources.

Best practice and innovation

With a vision to transform its treasury organisation, WSM embarked on an ambitious re-engineering project to streamline and enhance its structure and processes. Today, WSM’s SSC in Kuala Lumpur processes more than 10,000 payments each month, in 61 currencies through four major global banks to serve their global clients. Combining Citi’s WorldLink and STR solutions, SAP and SWIFT capabilities, WSM was able to harness the power of information transfer and technology to reinvent its treasury operations. In doing so, WSM has eliminated manual functions and reconciliations, thus enhancing its compliance and control processes, achieving significant operational efficiency gains and increased scalability of its resources.

Mee-Yin Soong concludes: “For WSM to have a competitive edge and to shape the ship management industry, the company continues to deliver high quality professional services by harnessing on operational and technical excellence, customer care and our state-of-the-art information systems.”

Key benefits

  • Integrated procurement system with SAP accounting to improve the quality, integrity and visibility of accounting data.

  • Consolidated global financial and accounting functions into a centralised SSC in Kuala Lumpur in order to achieve economies of scale, streamlined procedures and become more cost competitive for service delivery.

  • Improved employee morale and increased productivity.

  • Increased automation levels, removed manual processes.

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