Streamlining Bank Connectivity Through TIS
by Michael Haas, Group Manager, System Design & Interfaces, Finance, Legal & Tax Department, DACHSER GmbH and Co. KG
As a multinational business with subsidiaries worldwide, sustained growth and a strong heritage of international acquisition, the number of bank relationships, accounts and connectivity channels at DACHSER has proliferated. At the same time, as the business has grown and become more complex, the need for process automation and control has increased. In 2009, DACHSER implemented SAP FI (financial accounting) and CO (controlling) modules, initially in Germany, and the solution is now being rolled out globally. While SAP has proved effective in supporting transaction management and reporting, the company needed a straightforward solution to streamline bank communication and increase payments efficiency and control. In this article, Michael Haas, Group Manager, System Design & Interfaces – Finance, Legal & Tax at DACHSER describes how the company has achieved these objectives working with TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions).
DACHSER works closely with local customers and suppliers, so we have maintained a decentralised approach to payments and cash management. We have 17 payments processing locations in Dachser GmbH & Co. KG in Germany alone, with payments conducted also locally by each of our subsidiaries worldwide. Before implementing the recent bank connectivity project, the payments process itself was relatively arduous. When a payment run was triggered in the financial accounting system, a file was created. The internal EDI department then converted the file into the relevant format and forwarded it to the bank with an accompanying fax.
This process was replicated in every country in which we operate, across multiple banking channels and formats creating a significant administrative and technical workload. Furthermore, in some countries, such as Sweden and Norway, the payments process still relied on a number of manual steps.
Drivers of change
Both DACHSER and our banks recognised the need to improve our payments process and bank communication, a project which was ultimately triggered by the need to migrate to SEPA. As well as complying with the new SEPA payment instruments, our objective was to implement a cost-effective, easily implemented bank communication solution that would achieve the following:
- Enable us to communicate with all of our global banks in a secure and robust fashion;
- Support payment file formats required by each of our banks;
- Enable distributed electronic signatures to enable a consistent approach to security across our global locations.
Reviewing alternative solutions
We first approached SAP, but realised that we would need to acquire and implement the bank communication module and customise the formats required to comply with each bank’s requirements. This would have added considerable cost and complexity to our installation.
We also considered using SWIFT for bank communication. We recognised that SWIFT would satisfy our bank connectivity requirements in that it offers multi-bank connectivity, but it does not address the challenge of dealing with multiple file formats.