Enhancing Efficiency and Risk Management in Cash Collection
by Karolina Tarnawska, Treasury & Credit Risk Director, Grupa Žywiec
As a result of a largely cash-driven payments culture in Poland, Grupa Žywiec collects around half of its revenues in cash, with thousands of customers across Poland. As cash collection can often be expensive and subject to a variety of risks, it was very important for Grupa Žywiec that it had an efficient, cost-effective and risk averse means of collecting, posting and reconciling cash. This article outlines how the company embarked on this transformation and the outcomes it has achieved so far.
Grupa Žywiec is part of the Heineken group, and represents the group’s business in Poland. Of the 30 beers we offer on the market, the most famous brand that we produce is ‘Žywiec’ which is one of the leading premium brands of beer in the country. We also sell a number of other alcoholic and soft drinks brands. We are one of Poland’s largest employers, with around 5,000 staff across the country. We have five breweries, with a unique sales and distribution model in our industry. Instead of selling our products only to wholesalers, which is typically the model adopted by our competitors, we have four sales channels:
i) Modern trade (sales to a limited number of very large companies)
ii) Wholesalers (around 700 customers)
iv) Catering outlets (hotels, restaurants, cafes)
We sell our products to around 60,000 retail and catering customers across Poland, from small shops to large stores. There are a variety of reasons why we have adopted this distribution model. For example, we are able to maintain a closer relationship with our customers than we could do through a reseller model. In addition, rather than channelling our business through a few wholesale partners, which could create substantial business and credit risk, a direct sales model enables us to diversify our credit risk more widely.