TMS Testimonial (Arnault Gitzinger, Eurofins)
Arnault Gitzinger, Head of Group Cash Management at Eurofins, comments on the project that led the French biotechnology group to implement the TMS Treasury Line in 2018.
Testimony (January 2019) and feedback.
Hello Arnault, can you present Eurofins in general, and the Treasury context more specifically?
Eurofins is a group of independent test laboratories created 30 years ago. It operates in 4 main business lines: food, environment, pharmaceutical industry and, more recently, clinical diagnostic.
The company currently employs 45,000 people spread over 650 operational laboratories in 45 countries. The turnover was 3.2 billion euros in 2017 and a turnover of 4.6 billion euros is expected in 2019.
The Treasury department has evolved significantly over the past 3 years, from 2 to 7 people, from a long-time manual management until the implementation of Treasury Line.
Our particularity in terms of cash management is the great complexity of management related, on the one hand, to the large number of subsidiaries and, on the other hand, to our financing rules for our subsidiaries, which are based on internal loans and capital increases (and not through automated cash pools).
In order to meet all the above-mentioned constraints, you therefore launched a TMS request for proposals in 2017. What are the reasons that led you to choose Treasury Line? What were the key factors?
Eurofins indeed raised a TMS request for proposals which included also an integrated bank communication module. For the latter, we wanted a global multi-bank tool, very flexible from an interface perspective, able to adapt both to the diversity of internal systems (ERP in particular) that are present within the Group and the multiple banking formats. From our experience, we knew that other systems on the market were struggling to manage the various banking formats, and we wanted to internalize this business-specific function to be entirely autonomous.
We were also impressed by the tool’s strong automation capabilities, thanks to its integrated scheduler. This has greatly simplified the daily routine of users, while reducing the number of non-value-added work.
We had to find a solution that would meet our strong IT security requirements. Here again, Treasury Line was able to meet this challenge by providing, for example, a double authentication factor to access the solution and to approve the payments. We wanted a software installed in-house for security reasons, while proposing a web-based interface to the users in order to ease the deployment. Treasury Line qualified many IT configurations, so that the Eurofins IT department was able to set up the required infrastructure while being in their comfort zone (OS Windows, SQL database, Apache Tomcat application servers) and containing the internal costs.
Finally, from a human point of view, we have appreciated the solutions provided by DataLog Finance teams to the very complex specificities of our cash management, and the adaptability they have demonstrated throughout the entire project.
By the way, under what conditions did the project take place? What was the implementation time frame?
The project was short, with initial design workshops at the end of January 2018, tests in May and a production run in mid-July. User tests were fairly quick, as the delivered solution was very well tested in advance; adjustments were made very quickly thanks to the availability of DataLog Finance’s teams.
The implementation time was therefore less than 6 months.
Can you already draw the first benefits from the implementation of Treasury Line and if so, what are they?
Until then, we were dependent on our back-offices for the preparation of payment transactions, and had limited visibility. From now on, we have a centralized and real-time visibility on the Group’s cash position, both in terms of cash positions and loans. We have increased efficiency and productivity.
Of course, change management was necessary, but the teams now enjoy the tool and have taken ownership of it with real benefits in the day-to-day work.
What are the next steps / projects for Eurofins’ treasury?
We actually started with the most challenging part of the project, being the “Front to Back to Accounting” process. Within 3 months we will complete the Reporting phase, using the Business Intelligence tool integrated into the solution.
2 other phases are planned. In the short term, by May 2019, we will integrate SWIFT communications via a service bureau connected to Treasury Line. We will gradually roll it out to all countries.
By the end of the year, we will implement the functionalities for intra-group netting management, cash flow forecasting and bank fees management, which are part of the solution but not yet deployed.
In conclusion, what more could you say about this experience?
One of the main keys to the successful completion of the project was that DataLog Finance teams took into account the use cases of Eurofins’ cash management, which, as mentioned above, is not straightforward. This has led to a fully customized solution, in line with our operating model.