Photo of Virginie Darbo, LafargeHolcim Algeria and Ouiza Zerka, Citi.
LafargeHolcim Algeria (LHA) is the leading company in building materials and solutions in Algeria, active in four business segments: Cement, Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete and Solutions & Products (Mortars and Gypsum). LHA serves more than 2,000 customers and employs 2,000 people. LHA is part of LafargeHolcim, the global leader in building materials and solutions with around 75,000 people in around 80 countries.
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At the end of 2017, LafargeHolcim Algeria (LHA) launched a programme aimed at improving the customer experience by bringing customers closer and offering an exclusive payment service with a high level of availability and security. LHA wanted to both streamline and simplify its collection process (very high volume), knowing that electronic payments, are in Algeria, a new and therefore unfamiliar solution. Laws and regulations approving the use of e-payments were enforced in Algeria early 2018.
Citi proposed a direct debit solution, which has been customised, fully automated, and integrated to the LHA customer web-portal and company ERP, hence removing all manual handling and associated risks.
LHA rolled out this solution to new clients and plans to progressively convert existing clients who currently pay by bank transfer or cheques. During the implementation, considering the newness of the solution, LHA overcame a number of challenges, mainly on the direct debit authority signature with customers’ banks, which need some efforts to popularise this payment method.
How does it work? Following preliminary administrative validation processes that allow the client to use this payment method, the customer logs into the web portal for order taking, fills in the direct debit form with the due date and amount and finally validates with a one-time password (OTP) received on their mobile phone or email. This generates a direct debit file that is transmitted to both LHA ERP and Citi banking system, and routed to Official Algeria’s e-clearing system. A report highlights the missing information that allows LH to take remedial action.
In Algeria, more than 98% of payment transactions are made by cash, cheques and transfers, electronic payment methods are new for customers. In this context, Citi greatly supported LHA in enhancing its customers’ payment methods with the roll-out of the direct debit solution. Both were pioneers with this innovative solution rolled out in Algeria, a highly regulated economy, in compliance with local regulations. It has been fully customised to meet the needs of LHA and its clients.
Better customer experience.
100% online web-based solution, connected in real time to company ERP’s system.
Fully accessible to clients 24/7.
Start gaining new distant customers.
Fully automated: transaction takes two minutes and few clicks versus more than four hours through the previous certified cheque payments process.
Reduced usage of credit facilities through better monitored and faster collections.
Improved visibility, reconciliation and control over collections.
Minimised operational risks by reducing the use of other paper-based collections.
Lower cost per operation.