For many multinational corporations, effectively managing their working capital across numerous regions can be a significant challenge. Additionally, optimizing cash streams in a complex data environment can be a time-consuming process. The same issue goes for Dawn Foods, a global B2B bakery ingredient supplier with multiple entities & finance departments. With more than 50 locations worldwide, serving products in 106 countries and 40.000 customers served globally it is one of the main players in the food industry.
Starting 2015 the company started a change management process to turn Dawn Foods into a more cash orientated company. A taskforce was created supported by Bart Messing, European Treasury Manager and Marc Kersten, European IT director, sponsored by the VP Finance & IT Michael Calfee.
Their key objective was a 10% year-over-year reduction of Net Working Capital Days.
One of the essential building blocks of this plan was implementing a 24/7 working capital tool whereby the KPI’s could be reported into several dimensions that are relevant to the different business units and functions. The different dimensions are important, as the business will only support improvement processes and accept targets unless the KPI’s are measured in relevant dimensions.
After careful comparison based on an extensive survey under key business people between internal/external tools on quality requirements, costs and potential benefits, Cashforce, a ‘next-generation’ cash & working capital analytics solution, came out on top. By designing a proof of concept, in cooperation with the internal IT department, a successful solution was reached. After the implementation the results were already significant in a short time: an instant working capital dashboard that provides 24/7 insights, as well as with simulations in different dimensions that are relevant for each department.
By providing the right technology, in combination with an unmatched cross-departmental cooperation, Dawn Foods was able to build a bridge between its finance department and the rest of the departments, thus reducing complexity and increasing visibility and insights.
This led to millions of dollars saved since setting up the new project (over a three-year period). The cash that was freed up has in the meantime been used to finance a strategic acquisition.