Global, Dynamic, Secure Banking for Brose Using BELLIN Technology

The MOBI project: modernization of the group’s global banking infrastructure
Brose_HEADER
What was achieved?
  • The company uses two primary systems worldwide: the SAP ERP system and BELLIN’s treasury and banking system. The group’s global MOBI (Modernization of Banking Infrastructure) project achieved seamless communication between the two systems, enabling extensive process automation and straight-through processing.
  • The group reduced the number of banking partners it has by 50%. The workload involved in processing payments was reduced by up to 40%. The company was able to get rid of more than 30 different local e-banking solutions.
  • Brose now uses standardized, mostly automated workflows worldwide. Reducing and standardizing payment formats enabled Brose to drastically reduce IT administration.
  • All account statements worldwide are now retrieved electronically. 92% of group-wide payments are currently processed via BELLIN’s system and work is underway to incorporate a further 5%.
  • Brose increased security through automation and group-wide standardization of workflows and by introducing a fully digitalized process for signing authorities.
Company and starting point

Brose is the world’s fourth-largest family-owned automotive supplier. The company develops and manufactures mechatronic systems for vehicle doors and seats and electric motors, drives and electronics for steering, brakes, transmissions and engine cooling. The group has around 26,000 employees at 64 locations across 24 countries and generates sales revenue of 6.2 billion euros. One in two new vehicles worldwide is fitted with at least one Brose product.

The group’s global banking project, MOBI (Modernization of Banking Infrastructure), aimed to harmonize the existing payments infrastructure and to standardize and automate processes across the group. The objective was to significantly improve global banking transparency, visibility, security and efficiency, while ensuring responsibility for payment processing remained decentralized.

Company and treasury profile
  • Number of employees: 26,000 employees
  • Number of employees in the central treasury department: at start of project (2016): 3; now (2020): 4.5
  • Number of tm5 users: 400+
  • Global use of tm5 for
    • Payments
    • Cash management/cash positioning
    • Signing authorities
    • Investments
    • Internal financing
    • Netting
    • Guarantees
    • Management of FX, commodities and derivatives
  • Locations in 24 countries
  • Uses the SAP ERP system and BELLIN’s tm5 treasury system worldwide

Brose’s central treasury is responsible for:

  • Asset management
  • Cash management
  • Financing
  • Financial risk management
  • Management and control of payments
The challenge: highly complex setup with 30+ e-banking tools, different processes locally and non-standardized data

Brose has been a customer of BELLIN since 2003 and has been using BELLIN’s system for core treasury functions such as cash management, contract management and planning and for intercompany reconciliation and netting. However, Brose administered the BELLIN system manually outside Germany, which meant that central treasury had to wait for information and additional manually entered data from abroad to obtain the daily financial status overview. Obtaining an overview of cash flows or the status of the authorized signatories at the click of a button was not possible.

There was no single standardized platform for group-wide payments, which led to disparate processes across local finance departments. More than 30 different e-banking solutions were in use at the group worldwide. Another difficulty was that, although a single ERP system is in place group-wide, the various companies had configured it separately and used it differently in practice. As a result, the quality of the data generated by the ERP system was extremely variable.

“Figuring out how to achieve a single standard banking model which would really work worldwide was a challenge. Using BELLIN’s system enabled us to reduce the workload involved in processing payments by up to 40%. We even halved the number of banking partners we have,” explains Andreas Meyer, Director Treasury.

The Modernization of Banking Infrastructure (MOBI) project

Initial considerations and decision

Brose attached great importance to tackling the group-wide banking project itself, without external consulting. The treasury team visited trade shows, banking partners and system providers to find out what kind of system support was available on the market. The team also held workshops over several days to analyze its own structures and requirements and identify its objectives in terms of structures and processes.

The outcome was that Brose opted for BELLIN’s banking system with integrated BELLIN SWIFT Service because the flexible connection options enabled rollout to banks and individual companies worldwide and third-party systems used in treasury such as trading platforms could be fully integrated.

 

Approach: an ERP system and a treasury system for a standard global banking model

The approach adopted for the MOBI project was to use just two systems – the SAP ERP system and BELLIN’s treasury and banking system – to achieve group-wide standardized processes and to automate these processes wherever possible. Automation of the harmonized, standardized processes was global, enabling the two systems to communicate seamlessly and accomplish straight-through processing. Conversely, the fact that the BELLIN system is independent of the ERP system ensures maximum flexibility in banking communication.

Brose uses the fully integrated SWIFT connection in the BELLIN SWIFT Service and the EBICS channel in Germany. The company automatically collects all account statements worldwide via these two channels, providing full visibility over all cash flows and accounts.

The integrated user rights system, which is managed electronically by central treasury and therefore helps provide a corporate compliance audit trail, enables separation of duties and multi-level approval to be incorporated at every stage, bolstering process security and reliability. The standardized processes and high degree of automation prevent errors and manipulation.

 

Change management on three fronts: technology, processes and mindset

Brose’s treasury team was aware that the introduction of a single standard group-wide model would mean that employees would have to get used to some completely new rules and procedures. The team therefore initiated change management at a very early stage – all heads of local finance departments were informed in workshops during finance manager meetings at the start of the project in 2016. Changes had to be initiated on three levels: technology, processes and the mindset of the impacted users. By providing information at an early stage, the treasury team was able to demonstrate that the changes would strengthen the group companies rather than curb their role.

BELLIN’s system is able to free up valuable time for value-adding activities and get results faster. Local users no longer waste their time collecting data or performing redundant manual tasks. “Feedback from our companies has been great: users spend up to 40% less time preparing payment files and have seen their workload significantly reduced by the automatic provision of electronic account statements. Local finance managers are also delighted. They know that the processes are absolutely secure and protected from any manipulation,”explains Vanessa Rose, Treasurin.

Global rollout of BELLIN’s banking system on a bank-by-bank basis

Brose split implementation of BELLIN’s central banking platform and the BELLIN SWIFT Service into a number of aggregated sub-projects, with rollout staggered on a bank-by-bank basis. The first stage of this process involved Brose informing the banks of each group company about the project and clarifying in advance which formats were to be delivered and processed in the future (ISO 20022 CGI). “Although there is a global CGI format, each bank has its own requirements, which must also be accounted for in the SAP system. BELLIN’s system enabled us to standardize the different formats and thus reduce by 50% the work required to ensure the SAP system operates properly,” explains Andreas Neumer, Treasurer.

The ERP system was adjusted to enable straight-through processing with BELLIN’s treasury and banking system and both went live. Rollout of the BELLIN banking system enabled the number of file formats and thus the work required to ensure the ERP system operates properly to be drastically reduced worldwide. “Each bank connection and format project presented its own challenges, which we were able to take into account at the next stage. We therefore became more efficient at each step. This provided huge motivation for the team,” says Vanessa Rose.

Brose’s banking processes now

Across the group, payment files are now created in the ERP system, checked and completely automatically transferred to BELLIN’s system. Within the system, the signing authorities are checked, and the payment files are then sent to the banks. Worldwide, the electronic account statements (MT940/CAMT.053) are sent to Brose’s own corporate SWIFT code and automatically transferred to the ERP system every 30 minutes.

During the transfer to the ERP system, a batch input file is generated that minimizes the manual steps for booking account transactions. In addition, for most companies pre-booked items are automatically displayed in BELLIN’s system at regular intervals in order to improve the efficiency of daily cash positioning on accounts. Andreas Meyer: “Our focus on implementing a single standard global banking model allowed us to maximize automation of bank communication processes using BELLIN’s system. We now also enjoy significantly improved transparency, visibility and security.”

In focus: successful format integration for a local Chinese bank

A particular challenge was to apply the standard global banking processes to a local bank in China. As the bank did not provide any information on the formats which could be delivered, Brose used the existing formats of a major global bank also based in China. Using this format, Brose carried out test payments through tm5 with historical payment files for the local bank to check that the payment files were processed without any problems. From the test runs, it was possible to identify the code and develop an appropriate payment file format which ensures smooth communication with the local Chinese bank. “Connecting the local Chinese bank was a milestone for us. The workload involved in processing payments in China was reduced by 40% and we now enjoy full visibility over cash flows locally,” says Andreas Neumer.

In focus: completely digitalized bank authorizations process

Together with rolling out BELLIN’s banking platform, Brose has completely digitalized the process for electronic bank authorizations in BELLN’s system. Before the BELLIN banking platform was introduced, central treasury had no overview of the current signing authorities; now it can even grant and withdraw authorizations at the click of a button. A full audit trail is also recorded in the system. Vanessa Rose: “Digitalizing our electronic signing authorities in the BELLIN system enabled us to significantly increase banking security. We know about every authorization and central treasury is able to act quickly and at any time.”

The individual department submits a request digitally in tm5 for new signing authorities. The request is digitally signed by two people from the company’s senior management team. The request then goes to central treasury which adds the signing authority to the BELLIN system via the user rights and roles of the relevant users.

Results:
  • A single, centralized BELLIN banking platform with integrated SWIFT connection
  • Group-wide banking communication integrated in the BELLIN system
  • Fully automated account statements for real-time financial status and improved cash positioning
  • Reduction in the number of banking partners by 50% and correspondingly reduced costs
  • Elimination of 30+ e-banking systems, providing increased security
  • Straight-through processing
  • Harmonization of payment formats
  • Reduced IT workload in relation to the SAP system
  • Reduction of electronic bank statements to a single format
  • Maximum security through standard group-wide banking model and digitalization of signing authorities

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