Bilfinger’s 1-System Solution for Group-wide Payments

Centralized international payments across the entire group
Payments Success Story Bilfinger Header

Company and starting point

Bilfinger is a leading international industrial services provider. The group enhances the efficiency of assets, ensures a high level of availability and reduces maintenance costs. The portfolio covers the entire value chain from consulting, engineering, manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, plant expansion as well as turnarounds and also includes environmental technologies and digital applications. Customers come from sectors that include chemicals and petrochemicals, energy, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and biopharma, mettalurgy and cement.

Bilfinger is primarily active in the regions of Continental Europa, Northwest Europe, North America and the Middle East. With its 36,000 employees, Bilfinger generated revenue of EUR 4.153 billion in the financial year of 2018.

Bilfinger has been a BELLIN client since May 2015. When the Group was restructured, this also affected treasury structures and triggered the search for a new treasury management system. The new system was needed to consolidate the highly fragmented e-banking system and IT landscape, to achieve group-wide visibility and transparency and to establish secure standards for the entire group. The search for a system was driven by payment needs. BELLIN’s integrated, multi-bank, multi-country payments platform in tm5 promised to meet requirements very efficiently with only one system.

Company and treasury profile

Total number of employees: 36,000
Number of employees in the central treasury department: 15 (4 of which front office users, 4 treasury operations users, 5 payments users, head of treasury and assistant)
Number of entities: 80 operating companies
Active in over 30 countries
Payments in 15 countries
Worldwide use of the tm5 treasury management system
Central treasury acts as an in-house bank with

  • Centralized funding
  • Centralized cash and liquidity management
  • Centralized FX management
  • Centralized payments processing

Number of core banks: 7
Number of electronic bank accounts: 300, 210 incl. payments

The challenge

Bilfinger operates worldwide and was faced with a fragmented system landscape made up of various ERP systems, different e-banking systems and specialized systems for market data, matching and deal reporting. The central treasury department was caught up in tedious data maintenance across different systems and had to contend with complex payment processing, a lack of transparency regarding fees and cash flows as well as time-consuming data collation.

By introducing the tm5 treasury management system with integrated payments platform, Bilfinger aimed to achieve the following:

  • Designated accessibility of all data in one centralized system
  • Centralized bank account management
  • Reduced transaction costs
  • Automated processes
  • Increased security and transparency
  • Significantly reduced efforts
  • Framework for additional projects, such as payments on behalf of (POBO)

Success Story Bilfinger Savings

Bilfinger’s payments project

System selection: The business case for tm5

Before they decided on a system, the Bilfinger treasury team drew up a business case that covered several scenarios: Maintain the existing set-up of multiple systems, a 1-system solution with SAP or a 1-system solution with the tm5 treasury management system.

tm5 presented the following advantages:

  • High degree of integration
  • Proven ease-of-use
  • Good acceptance by end users
  • Ability to administer the system without external support
  • Scope of functionality
  • Integrated payments platform
  • Reduced number of interfaces in the 1-system solution
  • BELLIN SWIFT Service for payments and integrated matching

At the time, Bilfinger was using one e-banking system for their two main banks in Germany as well as the dedicated e-banking systems of their other 6 core banks for international payments. This fragmented system landscape required much administration and training for employees. In addition, the many interfaces led to security risks that were hard to manage, in particular in connection with payments.

The multi-bank and multi-country payments platform, integrated in the web-based tm5 treasury management system, created a framework in which the majority of payments for Bilfinger operating companies can be processed centrally by a Shared Service Center.

Definition and integration of user permissions

One of the first steps in Bilfinger’s payments project was to define a secure user permissions model, specific user roles, and then implement both in tm5. The system allows Bilfinger to separate front office and back office roles, which enforced fundamental security standards that guarantee the secure and seamless processing of payments on a day-to-day level.

Bilfinger also decided to centralize master data maintenance: Central treasury enters and maintains all data for the entire group in tm5, adhering to a dual approval process.

Payment security through automated processes

In addition to defining user permissions, Bilfinger introduced standardized payment formats based on global ISO formats. Straight-through processing enables them to import payment files generated in their SAP systems directly to tm5 and to process them on the tm5 payments platform.

Bilfinger has automated a number of processes in tm5, leading to closed cycle processes that significantly boost security. Account statements and bulk payment files for worldwide payments are imported automatically. When it comes to market data, tm5 supports the treasury department with the import of market data from internal sources as well as an integrated connection to 360T. Bilfinger uses this 360T connection to trade deals that are then matched electronically in tm5 and can be reported directly to the Regis-TR repository if they fall under EMIR reporting requirements.

Banking landscape, bank connectivity and roll-out

For bank connectivity, Bilfinger followed the 80:20 Rule: They started with those bank connections that are used for the highest volume of payments. Here, they opted for a standardized EBICS connection to their German banks. As little as two months later, Bilfinger was able to replace all e-banking systems for German banks.

Only a few months after the start of the tm5 payments implementation project, Bilfinger received its own Business Identifier Code (SWIFT BIC) that connects the Group to the global SWIFT SCORE network within the framework of the BELLIN SWIFT Service. The integration of digital matching was followed by the international payments roll-out. Bilfinger uses the global SWIFT channel for international banking communication and payments. They use EBICS for SEPA payments and payments in Switzerland.

The benefits SWIFT affords in connection with international payments are particularly important to Bilfinger. Thanks to the SWIFT connection, it is very easy for Bilfinger to retrieve account statements, even from third-party banks, as they’re made available 24/7. The introduction of a corporate seal has simplified the maintenance of authorized signatories worldwide.

Success Story Bilfinger Project

All in all:

Thanks to the integrated multi-country and multi-bank payments platform in tm5 and the connection to the SWIFT network, Bilfinger was able to replace over 20 standalone e-banking and specialized treasury systems.

This 1-system solution has boosted payments efficiency and security significantly and harmonized payment processes. It helps Bilfinger save on banking fees and has reduced the administrative account maintenance efforts by over 50%.

Bilfinger uses EBICS and SWIFT for their payments processing. In addition to payments, Bilfinger uses the connection to the global SWIFT bank network within the framework of the BELLIN SWIFT Service to collect bank statements and to process and match trade deals electronically.

Results:

  • Accessibility of all data in one centralized system
  • Centralized bank account management
  • Reduction of payment transaction costs by 20+% (15% of which bank fees and around 30% processing efforts)
  • Reduced account maintenance efforts by 50%
  • Automated processes
  • Increased security and transparency
  • Framework for additional projects, such as payments on behalf of (POBO)
  • On-schedule implementation and speedy allocation of company BIC
Key Facts
Industry
Industrial Services
Founded, Headquarters
1880, Mannheim | DE
Employees
36,000
Companies
80
Annual turnover
EUR 4.153 billion (2018)
With BELLIN since
2015
Visit Bilfinger SE

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