AkzoNobel: Global Decision Maker is an innovative example of a tailor-made solution

Interview with Michael van der Steen – SBU Credit Manager at AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is the world’s largest producer of paints and coatings and a major producer of specialty chemicals. The company has operations in more than 80 countries and 55,000 employees worldwide. “My business unit, Automotive & Aerospace Coatings, sells automotive paints for car repair. Many people know us as a sponsor of the McLaren Formula 1 team, for which former world champion Lewis Hamilton rides.”

AkzoNobel: Global Decision Maker is an innovative example of a tailor-made solution

Interview with Michael van der Steen – SBU Credit Manager at AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is the world’s largest producer of paints and coatings and a major producer of specialty chemicals. The company has operations in more than 80 countries and 55,000 employees worldwide. “My business unit, Automotive & Aerospace Coatings, sells automotive paints for car repair. Many people know us as a sponsor of the McLaren Formula 1 team, for which former world champion Lewis Hamilton rides.”

1. The challenge

Better insights on debtors

At a time of credit crunch and collapsing markets, AkzoNobel decided to intensify its partnership with Altares Dun & Bradstreet. Our first need was to gain insight into the quality of our debt portfolio. The second wish was to have a better method to monitor this portfolio, especially the larger customers. Finally, we were looking for a simpler way to set our credit limits. Within AkzoNobel we work with the three C’s: customers, costs and cash. With this focus, we started to screen the customer portfolio, which is spread over more than 20 countries worldwide. Our main focus was on saving time in our country organizations. By making their work easier, they can concentrate on the collection of money. Until the introduction of Altares Dun & Bradstreet, each country worked with its own tools, which did not meet the standards we had in mind at the heart of the company. Another of our objectives was to structure the process of assessing our credit limits. Thanks to Altares Dun & Bradstreet, we have become more uniform within the company.

I greatly appreciate our partnership with Altares Dun & Bradstreet. I’m particularly satisfied with the custom work they deliver. Within Altares Dun & Bradstreet there was a realisation that a standard solution is not sufficient for companies listed in the Fortune 500. AkzoNobel operates internationally and needs innovative products. Altares Dun & Bradstreet has an eye for the playfield in which large companies operate. With their tailor-made solutions, they are suitable as partners at the highest level.”

2. The solution

Global Decision Maker (GDM)

“For our first need, Altares Dun & Bradstreet advised us to use Portfolio Manager. DBAI was then recommended as the most suitable product for monitoring debtors. A standard solution was not enough to set our credit limits and we had to deliver a tailor-made solution.

In the end, we chose Global Decision Maker (GDM). We did a regression analysis to see if there was a connection between customers, which is specific for an industry, for example. Together, we analysed our customers’ portfolios over the past two years. This gave us insight into which customers had not paid, but also into the signals that they had given.

Data of the highest quality

Another important added value of Altares Dun & Bradstreet is its specific knowledge of scoring models. Furthermore, the data is of high quality. In addition to data from public sources such as the Chamber of Commerce, Altares Dun & Bradstreet adds a lot of extra information (such as payment experiences, collections, corporate structures and interviews). With the additional quality control performed by Altares Dun & Bradstreet, we can rely on this information.”

De maatwerkoplossing van Altares Dun & Bradstreet heeft als extra voordeel dat we de data ook kunnen opladen in ons eigen SAP systeem.”

3. The result

Top-300 customers under the microscope

The results were remarkable. For example, the overdue receivables fell by 60 percent. Michael van der Steen: “In addition, our payment terms were reduced by 15 to 20 percent. Thanks to Portfolio Manager, we have access to a system in which we can see what our customers are doing at group level, but also at branch level. DBAI gives us the opportunity to monitor the top 300 of our customers.

At AkzoNobel, 20 percent of our customers generate 80 percent of our sales. That’s why it’s important that we keep ourselves fully informed about this group. I see Global Decision Maker as the best result. As a result of the regression analysis, a model was built that produces customer lists with a division into ‘good’ and ‘closer inspection’. We are a separate industry when it comes to payments. In the telecom industry, people always keep calling and buying phones, crisis or not. In our sector you can see that in times of crisis people spend less on repairing damage to their cars.”

When it comes to payments, we are different compared to other industries. In the telecom industry, people always keep calling and buying phones, crisis or not. In our sector you can see that in times of crisis people spend less on repairing damage to their cars.”

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