The Power of Centralisation at Autoneum
by Janko Hahn, Head of Treasury Operations, Autoneum Group
In 2012, global vehicle acoustic and thermal management solution leader Autoneum launched a project to transform its treasury technology infrastructure as a catalyst for enhancing processes, improving cash management efficiency and control, and reducing costs across the group. In this article, Janko Hahn, Head of Treasury Operations, Autoneum discusses some of the considerations when planning and implementing such a complex and far-reaching project.
When we launched our project in 2012, we had a group treasury function comprising 2.5 FTEs based at our company headquarters in Winterthur, Switzerland, but payments processing was conducted by local business units. We had over 100 bank accounts globally with a variety of banks, with large cash balances in different locations, making it difficult to leverage our liquidity positions globally. Although we had a treasury management system (TMS) it had become outdated and no longer met our operational and reporting requirements. Similarly, the wider ERP environment was no longer appropriate to the company’s needs.
A related challenge was the lack of standardisation in the files we transmitted and received from our banks. This led to fragmented, paper-based processes for both payments and statement reconciliation. Furthermore, as payments were conducted locally, treasury had little visibility or control over processes and controls, and there was no common approach to payment systems or bank connectivity. For example, some business entities were using international electronic banking portals provided by their banks, while others were using solutions developed locally. We also lacked the ability to import electronic statements from systems used by local entities into our ERP, so balance and transaction information had to be recorded and reconciled manually.
A wider transformation project
In July 2012, Autoneum embarked on a group-wide project to re-engineer our business processes based on SAP as a standard platform. The project is being implemented in phases, with two to three business units migrating to the new platform and processes each year. We started first with our Swiss entities, and will roll out the project across the business over the next few years.
From a group treasury standpoint, this project coincided with our decision to evaluate new TMS options and review our treasury processes. To be consistent with group strategy, we therefore selected SAP TRM (treasury and risk management) together with SAP BCM (bank communications manager) for connectivity. We also licensed the SAP In-House Cash module for future use. As our SAP implementation partner did not have the capacity to support the treasury and bank connectivity functionality in SAP, we have formed a relationship with SAP Treasury’s consulting partner, Eprox Consulting (based in Cham, Switzerland).
Having recognised the limitations of our existing treasury infrastructure and processes, our primary aim was to enhance efficiency and control over treasury and payment processes, and optimise cash and liquidity management.