Treasury Practice

Problem Solved: Solveig Findal-Hansen, Ineos

Published: Nov 2009

Prior to 2007, Ineos – at that time called Hydro Polymers, part of a Group Hydro organisation – was using a proprietary Group Hydro ERP system called FELOS. This system covered payments worldwide. Manual processes such as payment approval and bank-related process-handling were still in place in several countries in which the company operated.

Solveig Findal-Hansen

Central Accounting Officer, Norway

A global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, Ineos comprises 17 businesses, each with a major chemical company heritage. The company’s production network spans 64 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries worldwide. The group’s annual turnover is in excess of $40 billion.

Problem…

Reconciliation of bank accounts and incoming payments was also handled manually, taking up significant resources. At the time, direct debits did not form part of the integration between the company and its house bank. During 2007, Hydro Polymers was separated from the Group Hydro organisation into an independent company and Danske Bank Group was selected as Hydro Polymers’ new house bank.

With this new choice of house bank, the company also decided to implement SAP in place of the FELOS system. Danske Bank Group promised to deliver a full-scale international payment set-up covered by a single point-of-entry integrated with Hydro’s SAP system. “We had several meetings with the client to discover their real pain points and work towards their tight implementation deadline, which was due to the divestment from Norsk Hydro,” remarks Jakob Holst, Head of ERP Business Integration, Danske Bank Group.

…Solved

Danske Bank Group had just finalised an SAP/PAYMUL module developed in partnership with SAP headquarters in Walldorf. The module offered a single file format and single point-of-entry approach in all countries covered by the tender issued by Hydro Polymers – now Ineos.

Ineos joined the programme as a pilot customer in February 2007. According to Solveig Findal-Hansen, Central Accounting Officer, Norway, “We felt a very strong commitment to the project, particularly from the ERP Business Integration department of Danske Bank Group, who built the necessary bridges between Ineos, SAP and the implementation team to ensure a timely implementation.”

Today, Ineos has a very efficient STP both in terms of formats and communication and covering all bank-related processes directly in SAP. These bank-related business processes include payables, receivables, direct debits, salary payments, reconciliation and automatic update of currency rates.

The solution has automated all file traffic and process handling and removed the need for manual input, saving the company a great deal of time and resources. All payments are executed upon receipt by Danske Bank Group without further human intervention because payment approval now takes place directly in SAP before being sent to Danske Bank Group’s central EDI gateway. “The STP solution has also ensured a secure and fail-safe file handling process internally at Ineos which is achieved by using Danske Bank Group’s Business EDI setup,” remarks Findal-Hansen.

The solution has made the company’s daily operations at accounting level more efficient because of the extremely high STP rates achieved both on incoming and on outgoing payments. Reconciliation now takes up a fraction of the time spent previously and as the solution covers six countries, but can be handled centrally from Oslo, the administrative burden on the company has been significantly reduced.

Findal-Hansen elaborates, “The solution implemented covers all kinds of payments including salaries and SEPA payments within Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the UK and Germany. The solution really does save me and my team a huge amount of work because of the degree of automation achieved.”

In the future, there is the potential for Ineos to develop the solution since Danske Bank Group has a one-bank-one-system offering in many other countries. Ineos may also choose a central e-invoicing and direct debit set-up handled out of a payment factory in Norway, covering all countries within the Ineos organisation.

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