Treasury often has all the data it needs just out of reach within its ERP system. Whilst this can prove frustrating, forward-thinking treasury teams are tackling this issue by using a host of new digital tools that are enabling them to access this data and improve the effectiveness of the treasury function.
The treasury team at Nordson were acutely aware that much of the data it required to achieve its objectives of being a professional, innovative and core partner to the business sat within their ERP system. The frustration, however, came from the fact that much of this data could not be used because it was either inaccessible or of poor quality. As a result, Nordson was obliged to work with an incomplete data-set, and forced to manually carry out many tasks that it knew could be automated. This was time-consuming and created unnecessary risks.
A series of events sparked by the global financial crisis forced Nordson to reconsider how treasury uses technology. “The objective was to streamline our financial processes by creating a system-driven workflow to allow us to better support business and inform management decisions,” says Alexander Schulze, Cash Manager Europe at Nordson. “Given that we are present in nearly 40 countries around the world, it was vital that we had a single global solution that was embedded into our ERP system to drive consistency in the data. We were also keen to ensure that the new system worked as a platform that we can easily update when our business requirements changed.”
To achieve this, Nordson partnered with Hanse Orga Group, leveraging the vendor’s FinanceSuite (FS) for SAP. “We analysed multiple providers in the market and found that Hanse Orga Group’s solutions most closely matched our requirements,” says Schulze. “We quickly got to work, rolling out three solutions that today make up the core treasury technology infrastructure.”
Following an extensive master-data clean-up and streamlining of many of its processes, Nordson rolled out the FS AutoBank solution for all of its entities in Europe in 2013. The solution gives treasury full visibility over its cash flows by reconciling all bank balances once statements are imported into SAP. With the high automation rate of FS AutoBank (increased from 45% to 85%) Nordson improved the accuracy of the overall process and reduced the manual effort and risk of human error which blighted Nordson in the past.
The improved posting quality and the shortened process cycle time (reduced by 50%) are the optimal bases to provide best data for all relevant cash management and treasury activities.
Immediately after the rollout of FS AutoBank, Nordson turned its attention to Hanse Orga Group’s FS Payment Management module. The solution enables the company to be SEPA compliant. Nordson was also able to centralise all its payment authorisations in one single platform, fully embedded into SAP. “Today we have six signatories and three people running all of our payments, down from over 100 previously,” says Schulze.
With precise data now coming from FS AutoBank and FS Payment Management, Nordson could roll out the third solution: FS Cash & Liquidity. This centralises and consolidates cash, liquidity and treasury management functions in one tool. “We get instant cash information for all European operations via SAP, AutoBank and Payment Management,” says Schulze. “This has given treasury a unique view of the SAP environment allowing us to provide sufficient liquidity to the business when and wherever it is required.”
The use of these solutions has delivered a host of benefits to the Nordson treasury that have enabled it to become more automated, efficient and effective as a strategic partner to the business. Schulze highlights that they are not resting on their laurels, however, and are keen to continue pushing the boundaries of technology. “The next step is to move from FS to the next generation FS2,” he concludes. “We are also considering additional Hanse Orga Group tools that could add value, like FS2 Analytics, which provides comprehensive business intelligence and a central overview of key performance indicators. Moreover, we will look at their new tools for credit management, disputes and collections.”
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