Real-time cash and flexibility

A world leader in small household appliances, Groupe SEB was founded in France in 1857 and has gone on to establish a strong international presence. Today, the company sells around 300 million products a year (4 to 5 every second), is present in nearly 150 countries, and counts 140 locations, 40 factories, and 33,000 employees worldwide.

In 2020, the group’s total revenue hit €8 billion thanks to an exceptional portfolio of local and international household brands, including T-fal, Moulinex, SEB, All-Clad, Lagostina, Calor, Rowenta, Krups, Samurai, Supor, Arno, Panex, and WMF Group.

With this level of revenue, and with business spread out across the globe, Groupe SEB needed a system powerful enough to centralize its treasury operations and standardize how it communicated with its many different banking institutions.

Too many cooks in the kitchen

Groupe SEB was unhappy with the TMS it was using, which did not satisfy all its treasury needs. With multiple brands and locations scattered across the globe, tracking and following the tapestry of banking activity that its many entities generated was a nightmare. The company needed a solution that could centralize many different kinds of international bank statements and standardize all bank communication within a single system.

In addition, the treasury department wanted to become less dependent on banks when it came to performing and approving different operations. They wanted to be able to log and reconcile bank statements with their accounting records automatically, and make approvals within their own system, instead of having to download information manually from a third-party bank website first. They also wanted to be able to make system changes on their own, without having to wait for IT. Meanwhile, the IT department wanted a SaaS solution that would eat up less of their time and resources, so they could focus on more strategic projects.

“Datalog is an excellent solution for streamlining banking communications, in-house banking and cash management for large corporate treasuries,” says Emmanuel. “We are following with interest the evolution of Datalog’s products, including in the areas of reporting, business intelligence, risk management and user experience.”

Emmanuel Arabian, VP Financing and Treasury, SEB Groupe

Flexibility for the win

Groupe SEB had two main goals for its treasury project:

1/ To safeguard the company’s liquidity—a key concern for any multinational group experiencing significant growth.
2/ To mitigate the substantial foreign exchange, currency, fraud, and cash flow risks that are inherent to their business model. In addition to running a commercial operation, SEB produces its own goods, exposing it to commodity risk and price fluctuations in aluminum, plastic, or nickel. They wanted a solution that would help them manage their financial instruments to minimize this risk as much as possible.

After looking at other options on the market, Groupe SEB chose Datalog for its flexibility, which far outshone the competition. Users could easily create or change bank formats without needing to call tech support. And in case there was an issue they couldn’t handle, Datalog consultants were on hand to keep the project running smoothly, and its hotline was available post-implementation to help find solutions to new problems.

In the end, Groupe SEB decided to invest in two Datalog modules: Payment Factory (formerly known as CashPooler) and Bank Reconciliation (formerly known as CashNetting). The company’s flexibility, innovative technology, and in-house expertise had won them over.

Good housekeeping

“Thanks to Datalog, we have been able to connect 100% of our bank statements and secure all payments,” explains Emmanuel Arabian, VP of Financing and Treasury, SEB Groupe.

For the first time at SEB, 100% of its bank statements are now logged and recorded on a daily basis, thanks to Datalog. This gives the treasury department immediate access to the group’s real-time, worldwide cash position so they can find and move cash when needed—a huge boon that allowed them to continue meeting their financial obligations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Having a centralized, accurate overview of all the company’s cash allows SEB to optimize its liquidity in real time, avoid going into overdraft, improve how it tracks and manages its cash, and secure its payments on SWIFTNet.

Finally, Datalog’s in-house banking features allow SEB to consolidate and streamline its internal cash flow, minimize bank transactions and bank fees, settle debts, or lend money internally to save on interest charges and reduce foreign exchange risk.

A recipe for success

“For us, Datalog is an excellent solution for large-scale treasuries like ours, designed to streamline bank communication, in-house banking, and cash management, which is where we needed help the most,” says Arabian. “We are following their product roadmap with great interest and keeping tabs on how they’re innovating when it comes to reporting, BI, risk management, and the user experience.”

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