Packed for optimised cash management
Established in 1920 in Kokkola, Finland, Huhtamaki is one of the world leaders in food and beverage packaging. In the 1970s they expanded their presence and technical capabilities outside Finland, and the company has continued to grow since then. Now operating around the world and manufacturing in six continents, Huhtamaki continues to form partnerships and make acquisitions to support their customers, in addition to growing organically.
In 2014, Huhtamaki successfully integrated the business operations of Hong Kong-based Josco companies, acquired nearly two years before. The management’s focus turned to merging cash and liquidity management processes across the company’s various legacy systems.
However, Josco and Huhtamaki's existing Asia arm had separate IT systems. The acquisition also meant that Huhtamaki inherited numerous bank accounts spread across several banks. This resulted in receivable inefficiencies and large amounts of trapped cash that Huhtamaki could otherwise use for future investments.
A carefully thought-out cash management solution was thus imperative to improve this undesirable situation, not only to manage the trapped cash in Hong Kong, but also to eventually build a platform for growth in Asia.
The new package
After discussions with Huhtamaki, DBS used design-thinking to identify three particular key areas to address. The first was the need to devise an alternative cash collection method from Huhtamaki’s small-sized customers to increase the firm's control over cash flow. The second was to streamline bank accounts needed for daily operations to optimise liquidity through cash concentration. The third was to identify automation opportunities for transaction workflows and reconciliations to achieve faster processing times for the company.
With over a thousand customers in Hong Kong, a central aspect to improving efficiency was in minimising the number of the company's bank accounts and increasing automation in reconciliations. A multi-currency saving account achieved the former, while a virtual account solution aided in the latter, enabling Huhtamaki to handle collection recognition almost 50% faster than before.
To help automate cash flow, a two-way daily target balance sweep for Huhtamaki's Hong Kong entities was implemented. This system automatically moves funds between different corporate accounts depending on where payments needed to go.
Impressive results, perfectly packed
With all this time saved, Huhtamaki was now able to focus their efforts on collecting outstanding payments. Compared to the average in the previous years, there was an improvement of over 65% of receivables from their Hong Kong based customers, and trapped cash level was successfully reduced by 30%.
But it wasn't just DBS' solutions that impressed. The bank’s team showed a commitment to adapt their working processes to best suit the Finnish firm's requirements. The agile structure of this solution optimised working capital while facilitating payments to company subsidiaries that have cash concentration structures. This means the firm's aggregated balances now obtain the highest possible interest yields and minimised facility costs.
"DBS has been one of Huhtamaki's relationship banks for over ten years. Throughout the whole RFI and RFP process, DBS clearly demonstrated its commitment to understanding our needs, and made the extra effort to find the optimal solution for us."
Lifei Li, Treasury Manager at Huhtamaki Group Treasury
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