Photo of Rohit Jamwal, Citi and Fina Ching, Mars Foods Inc.
Mars introduced a four-phased approach to its benchmarking exercise which has identified best in class solutions, working with its partner bank, across each of its key business lines. They have realised operational and treasury efficiencies and it is a process of continuous improvement supported by an annual two-day session between Mars and its bank.
Asia Tax, Treasury and Benefits Director
Mars Foods Inc. is part of Mars, Incorporated, a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars has more than US$35bn in sales from six diverse business segments: petcare, chocolate, Wrigley, food, drinks and symbioscience. More than 80,000 associates across 78 countries are united by the company’s five principles: quality, efficiency, responsibility, mutuality and freedom and they strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver the growth that they are proud of as a company.
in partnership with
In Asia Pacific, each of Mars’ business segments operates in multiple locations and in different business units, interacting with a diversified group of suppliers and distributors. This creates various opportunities and challenges with respect to the consolidation of bank services and products across the different businesses.
Mars’ treasury team worked with Citi to identify opportunities to achieve operational and treasury efficiency by implementing innovative best-in-class solutions, without disrupting the business commercially. Mars was able to leverage Citi’s experience with multinationals on benchmarking exercises. Mars embarked on a journey to simplify, automate and harmonise its treasury processes and tools across the region and focus on key solutions and countries where they could maximise the work effort.
Mars developed a phased approach to its benchmarking exercise based upon the following key stages:
Identified and mapped the current process for each vertical – accounts payable, liquidity management, accounts receivable, information systems using Citi Analytics.
Identified best-in-class solutions for each of Mars’ lines of businesses by leveraging Citi’s sector and industry knowledge and analysis from Citi’s Treasury Diagnostics.
Identified the most suitable best-in-class solutions for implementation in terms of ease, scope, scalability and fit for business purposes.
Identified the resources required, business goals and technology changes and sought support from internal and external stakeholders. This process was executed by Mars and Citi via a dedicated team as per a joint project plan.
Best practice and innovation
Fina Ching, Asia Tax, Treasury and Benefits Director explains, “The best practice of harmonisation and automation is to take a bottom-up approach – beginning at the business unit level within a country and using data analysis to identify product gaps at this level, while seeking to transfer best practices across countries and segments so as to meet our overarching objective of regional synergies. The benchmarking process also allows Mars to leverage on best practice from an external perspective through the experience of Citi. Another best practice to achieve success is by setting up milestones for all internal and external stakeholders.”