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Judges’ Choice Winner: Flex Ltd APAC Treasury Centre

Published: Jan 2022

Photo of Alex Chen, Regional Treasury Manager, Yvione Zhou, Treasury Director, Candy Deng, Regional Treasury Manager,  Leon Cao, Regional Treasury Manager.

Photo of Alex Chen, Regional Treasury Manager, Yvione Zhou, Treasury Director, Candy Deng, Regional Treasury Manager, Leon Cao, Regional Treasury Manager.

Yvione Zhou

Regional Treasury Director

Alex Chen

Regional Treasury Manager

Leon Cao

Regional Treasury Manager

Candy Deng

Regional Treasury Manager

Flex is the manufacturing partner of choice that helps a diverse customer base design and build products that improve the world. Through the collective strength of a global workforce across 30 countries and responsible, sustainable operations, Flex delivers technology innovation, supply chain, and manufacturing solutions to diverse industries and end markets. Flex’s corporate headquarters is located in Singapore and its administrative headquarters in San Jose, California. The company has ~160,000 employees and 100 facilities across 30 countries.

In-house developed Smart Treasury ecosystem delivers for Flex

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The challenge

The past 18 months have been a complex, challenging environment, including the COVID-19 pandemic. With a considerable operational footprint in Asia, Flex’s regional treasury team plays a critical role and serves as a strategic business partner in navigating an evolving world. The complexity of Asia’s business environment is clear, as three critical countries in the region, China, India and Malaysia, are highly regulated.

To ensure optimal regional liquidity combining high efficiency, competitive cost, and effective management of FX risk, the team focused on automation and digitisation of treasury processes using advanced technology. Even though existing treasury management systems (TMS) and solutions are on the market, the team faced numerous challenges in integrating existing systems with different data resources, achieving a real-time data feed with optimal visibility, developing customised automated functions, and cost-effective digitalisation.

Specific challenges included:

  • Less flexibility from TMS providers to make changes and system customisations.

  • Difficult integration between TMS and new technology.

  • Treasury data is coming from various sources including banks, ERP systems, and internal processed finance data, such as AR and AP forecasts.

The solution

To address these challenges, the team created Smart Treasury, an innovative, web-based treasury ecosystem to:

  • Easily and quickly connect different systems or tools for data collection and archive.

  • Ensure full, real-time data visibility with high accuracy.

  • Achieve high efficiency on daily operations by streamlining, standardising, and automating treasury processes.

  • Lower operational risk by minimising manual work and eliminating human errors.

  • Drive fast and flexible treasury management reporting to help ensure data quality and enable analysis or even future machining learning capability.

  • Have the flexibility for new function development or system upgrades.

The key components of the solution can be seen in the diagram below.

Features

Flex features diagram

Best practice and innovation

Flex’s treasury team developed the tool in partnership with IT and launched Smart Treasury, which features a home page, working platform and dashboard. “The solution harnesses automation, digitisation and visualisation with high efficiency and effectiveness,” explains Yvione Zhou, Regional Treasury Director.

Smart Treasury provides high flexibility to connect different data resources via robotic process automation (RPA) with higher effectiveness, which can enable the integration of various systems from internal system and external banking platform and enable the faster implementation of new functions. After the integration, Smart Treasury generates customised reports, provides analysis to highlight trends, proposes recommendations for cash and FX management automatically and enables higher visibility through the home page and dashboard in real-time.

Key benefits

  • Improved visibility and real-time information.

  • Increased automation and systems integration.

  • Risks mitigated.

The rapid development of technology spanning digitalisation, automation, API, machine learning, and AI poses an opportunity to embrace cutting-edge solutions, even in the financial function. However, identifying and applying the appropriate technology to the right use case can be challenging for treasure management. Flex treasury always strives to stay ahead of the curve and find solutions for complex business environments and their Smart Treasury solution clearly demonstrates this – a worthy Judges’ Choice.

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2021 awards attracted a record-breaking 497 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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