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Best Card Solution Highly Commended: Grifols

Published: Aug 2020

Turtle only ASA 2020

Steve Wong

Senior Director of Treasury

Grifols is a global healthcare company that develops, produces and markets a range of innovative products and services for the medical community in more than 90 countries around the world. Established in 1940 as a family-owned business, the company has grown consistently over the past several decades.

in partnership with

Donating blood now a better experience thanks to prepaid card solution

The challenge

Issuing payments is part of doing business but the process can be cumbersome, particularly when the beneficiaries are young, perhaps unbanked, individuals. This introduces security risks for both payer and payee.

Grifols, a pioneer in the field of blood plasma science, has struggled with this issue. With more than 250 facilities across the US, Grifols provides payments to as many as 45,000 plasma donors each day. Dealing with significant volumes of payments and geographically dispersed collection centres was a challenge for the treasury team, which was relying on two separate locally based prepaid card providers to facilitate payments.

As Steve Wong, Senior Director, Treasury, recalls, “the major issues we faced were related to bank system integrity and uptime, which created customer experience failures when systems were not functioning properly. Also, card programme costs for cardholders and ourselves made the existing solutions less than ideal. We also encountered counterparty risk around credit exposure.”

One of the primary goals of Grifols is to ensure the best experience for donors, and ensuring they feel valued requires paying them promptly, so that the donation process is an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

To overcome these critically important challenges, the company recognised the need to switch to a single prepaid card provider – one that would offer the latest technology innovations, such as online apps and mobile options – to be certain Grifols could deliver the best donor experience possible.

The solution

Grifols scored the banks invited to respond to a request for proposal (RFP), and ultimately selected Bank of America to implement their innovative prepaid card solution. This state-of-the-art card programme has allowed the company to dramatically improving the donor experience.

The five-member North America treasury team was able to implement this transition to an innovative new prepaid card solution in a remarkably short two-month timespan. This project has been vitally important to Grifols because nothing is more important to the business than ensuring that donors can gain access to payments quickly, have a good experience and maintain a strong brand loyalty.

Best practice and innovation

On the technical side of the project, Grifols was able to successfully reengineer its internal IT systems to communicate with the bank’s card platform. Instead of transmitting payment messages via a proprietary application and the bank’s portal, a more advanced technology solution relying on an internet-based channel supported by an application protocol interface (API) was used to facilitate better and more robust communications. The IT team, which develops all its technical solutions in-house, worked closely with Bank of America to coordinate the successful programme launch.

Due to the breadth and scope of the initiative – reaching 20,000 employees - the extensive communications programme included local staff training through FAQs, training guides, marketing materials, pamphlets and handouts. It is worth highlighting the aggressive timeline of this programme, which spanned 100 donor centres in less than two months. The speed and success of this change management effort was instrumental in rolling out the prepaid cards to hundreds of thousands of Grifols donors. While aggressive, the rollout plan was staggered over the two-month timeline, communicating with staff on a region-by-region basis, in order to incorporate lessons learned from each subsequent rollout effort.

Key benefits

  • Credit exposure reduced.

  • Greatly improved donor experience.

  • Scalable solution.

  • Cost savings of US$900k to date.

“This project has been an overwhelming success for Grifols and stands as a stellar example for others looking to improve customer payments,” concludes Wong.

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