If one performs maintenance on a municipal transportation company bus in New York City, chances are it will be done on a lift bridge from the Frisian company Stertil. The company, housed in the village of Kootstertille, sets the standard worldwide when it comes to lifting bridges for heavy as well as light vehicles.
"We obviously don't want to do business with individuals or organizations that are subject to sanctions."
Stertil makes heavy duty vehicle elevators for heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks, light duty vehicle elevators for passenger cars and dock products for the logistics world. The global company has distributors and end users as customers, but sometimes also municipal transport companies of large cities. Not only New York City, but also Paris and Beijing count on the solid quality of the lift-bug manufacturer when it comes to maintenance in parts of public transport. Furthermore, the company has maintenance engineers in several countries to work on its own products, as well as those of third parties.
Whoever the customer is: Stertil holds existing and prospect customers to the light with a credit check (through Altares Dun & Bradstreet's D&B Credit services) and with indueD, a background check that reveals, among other things, who is behind an organization and whether the party appears on international sanctions lists. Groenendijk: "We obviously do not want to do business with individuals or organizations that are subject to sanctions."
"We use indueD about three years now, and we don't sell a liftgate anymore because of it," says the CFO, "but we have a duty of care. We cannot and will not sell to sanctioned parties. Lists for that can be found online, but with Altares Dun & Bradstreet we can determine very quickly whether people or entities are sanctioned."
So before, that was time-consuming human work. So about three years ago Stertil went to market to automate the background check process. "We approached three parties, but Dun & Bradstreet turned out to be the right choice for us," says Groenendijk. "We trade globally and they have data from all over the world. We literally asked: how would you do this? They had a good answer to that." Altares Dun & Bradstreet came up with the solutions and personalized them so they became workable for Stertil.
If a customer's status (sanctioned or unsanctioned) changes indueD, or legislation does, Stertil needs to know quickly. The company therefore chooses to check on existing customers periodically. The war in Ukraine made such checks even more relevant last year. Groenendijk: "There are international sanctions in place against parties in Russia. We don't want to do business with those parties then." "It's very simple. If you are overstepping the mark and do business with a sanctioned party, for example, the consequence could be that you are excluded from procurement processes by government agencies in America." That briefly sums up the need for compliance. "And what is also an advantage: the reports are internationally transferable," says Groenendijk. In other words: if, for example, it turns out that a customer of Stertil has unexpectedly ended up on a sanctions list, Groenendijk can hand over documents showing that he did his homework on his side when, at the time of the transaction, this was not yet the case.
Complying with the rules.
"More sexy than that, I can't make it either," laughs the finance director. "D&B Credit gives us an assessment of a customer's financial status. Are they good for their money? Can they pay? With indueD we know for sure that a customer is who they say they are, and that there are no penalties on them. We work with Altares Dun & Bradstreet because we are a positive, neat club that just wants to play by the rules nicely."
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"We obviously don't want to do business with individuals or organizations that are subject to sanctions.
'In the past, we used to spend a ton, or as much as a ton and a half, annually writing off accounts receivable.'
"Our data partner therefore needed to have international data.
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