Roche, Highly Commended, Working Capital Management/Financial Supply Chain

Published: Aug 2011

Roche was seeking a standardised, global Supplier Financing solution that offered a worldwide contract framework. In addition, Roche wanted a harmonised IT-interface that allowed them to fully utilise its global Swift-based Payment Factory connectivity and payment process for invoice-related data exchange with its banks.


Photo of Martin Schlageter and Bernhard Henseler, Deutsche Bank.

Martin Schlageter

Head of Treasury Operations

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over CHF 9 billion in R&D. The Group posted sales of CHF 47.5 billion.

in partnership with

The pilot implementation in Europe with Deutsche Bank was scoped during the second half of 2010 and went live in February 2011 in Spain in accordance with the agreed project implementation plan. The solution was implemented in Portugal in March 2011. Other countries, regions and banks are scheduled to follow during 2011.

So far Supplier Finance solutions were rather country-specific offerings from banks, based on local contract documentation, local data exchange/IT-connectivity with banks and local Supplier Financing portals for suppliers.

What Deutsche Bank provided to Roche was a standardised solution in terms of documentation, contract and technology available as a global proposition. This allows Roche to fully utilise the solution it has implemented at its Payment Factory, using SWIFT connectivity globally and its payment process for invoice-related data exchange with its Supplier Financing banks.

The possible deployment of the developed solution is now much quicker – even across banks – with minimal IT effort, allowing suppliers to benefit from Supplier Financing across borders.

As Martin Schlageter explains, “Supplier financing initiatives within multinational corporates very often fail because of the local flavour of the programmes and the required IT effort at the local level which very often do not get funded, because of a low or unacceptable ROI. Additionally, these local programmes often do not fully serve international suppliers as they are either interested in Supplier Financing or not – so they expect to have this offering either everywhere or nowhere.”

Roche’s solution addresses all of these issues. To implement Supplier Financing now means that Roche’s subsidiaries can join mainly by changing master data of participating suppliers and by continuing with their established accounts payables processes. ROI has, therefore, improved substantially.

Furthermore, the implemented solution is also beneficial for Roche’s supplier base which has become more and more globalised, as it gives them access to regional if not global web-based Supplier Finance platforms and therefore increases the attractiveness of Roche’s Supplier Financing programme.

Martin Schlageter concludes, “In close cooperation with Deutsche Bank, Roche’s requirements were analysed and the solution scoped. Roche also mapped all requirements with its other core cash management banks in order to allow the future solution to work across a number of banks across several regions. We selected two pilot countries, Spain and Portugal, to implement first and the solution was first tested successfully in November 2010. Subsequently the rollout started, including the on-boarding of suppliers and the payment term extension concept and we went live in Spain in February 2011. Portugal followed in March 2011 and we have been very satisfied with the results so far.”

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