Combining internal payment experiences with external credit information always gives PontMeyer – thanks to monitoring – a 360-degree picture of its debtor
PontMeyer is a wholesaler of all kinds of supplies for renovation works. A wide range of timber, sheeting- and building materials and tools is kept in stock in 45 branches throughout the Netherlands. Kevin Jonkman, Credit Manager at Timber and Building Supplies Holland N.V. (which PontMeyer is part of), and his team of 10 credit controllers manage over 250,000 debtors. “And new debtors are added every day,” Jonkman says.
In his capacity as Manager Credit Control, Kevin Jonkman set up the Credit and Control department at TABS Holland. “Together with my team I aim every day to be part of a sound, reliable and transparent department that adds value by optimizing the turnover and managing the debtor portfolio to promote the working capital. Our goal is to monitor the holding company’s investments in debtors. Reliable information, in particular credit information is indispensable for achieving that goal.”
Interpreting credit information
“There’s a huge diversity in credit information suppliers,” says Kevin Jonkman. “The most important question when choosing a credit management partner is how they interpret credit information data.” Jonkman believes it is very important that the credit information supplier is interested in entering a proper partnership. “After a study in which we compared the various parties, CreditDevice emerged as the best party for us. The way that CreditDevice handles its data is very similar to our own customer assessment.”
“It feels good to do business with a party whose way of working and thinking matches what your own organization does.”
“New orders from the sales organization end up at the Credit and Control department, that’s our procedure.” Kevin and his team see to it that credit limits are handled responsibly. “It’s my mission to provide both the sales organization and the management with appropriate answers about limits, turnover and DSO. With up-to-date credit information we can ensure responsible handling of recommended limits. It also helps us to make sensible decisions and provide useful advice to the sales organization.”
Combining internal and external data lets Credit and Control not only provide risk limiting benefits but also lets them signal customer opportunities. “When our sales organization places an order for one fifth of the specified limit, we know there’s potential”.
Combining internal and external customer data
Using up-to-date and complete credit information lets PontMeyer operate better and more effectively. “Sound credit management starts with a high-quality solid customer acceptance policy. We can improve the customer acceptance process as well as assessing the risk of defaulters and being more active in the dunning process. Requesting a credit information report is a compulsory criterion: on the one hand to obtain credit insurance cover, but even more importantly to determine our trading conditions for the customer.”
Combining internal payment experiences with external credit information always gives PontMeyer – thanks to monitoring – a 360-degree picture of its debtor. “We can already choose a lower risk profile in the acceptance process, or in the event of alarming changes, we can adjust the dunning process in time,” Jonkman emphasizes. Credit and Control can monitor high-risk customers and thereby limit risks thanks to the available data. “Debtors with a high-risk profile – e.g. because CreditDevice indicates that the credit advice has dropped or when we ourselves notice delayed payment behaviour – are treated more strictly than low-risk customers,” explains Kevin Jonkman. In cases of high-risk profiles we call or send letters and e-mails more often in which we address the debtor sternly.
The Credit and Control team consists of ten people. They manage all debtors with outstanding invoices. “The system categorizes debtors in a risk profile based on the credit advice and the payment behaviour. Based on the credit advice and payment behaviour, the system decides whether a customer can buy on credit or not and which risk profile the debtor qualifies for”.
“Because the PontMeyer credit score is related directly to a risk profile,” Kevin explains, “we can fine-tune the dunning process exactly to the risk group. In the case of a positive score, the debtor will receive a payment reminder no sooner than a week following the due date of the invoice. In the event of a negative score, we will be right on top of it and we will dispatch an account statement much earlier. Our credit managers always have a clear daily task: going through the action list. The process alternates between calling on, issuing reminders or in extreme cases ‘outsourcing’ the process.”
If we constantly keep a finger on the pulse, it helps debtors avoid falling behind with payments. “Which is of course,” Kevin says, “an agreeable way of doing business for both parties.”
PontMeyer has struck gold with the direct link between credit information and the credit management system, as Jonkman puts it. “Gold might sound somewhat exaggerated, but we’ve shown a positive impact on our DSO with our strict processes and clear criteria. Every change to the risk profile matters to us; we want to keep track of both negative and positive changes. Because we can keep the credit information for our existing customer portfolio up to date through monitoring, we are always informed of the latest, most current information.
“The DSO shows a declining trend, partly due to this active use of credit information. Using the CreditDevice information combined with the DirectDebiteur control package, let us take important steps for the future.”
Cost savings through risk control
At PontMeyer, Credit management is a streamlined process of risk analyses, debtor management and a combination of internal and external data instead of ‘credit information’ and ‘debtor management’ as individual elements.
Where the Credit and Control team used to be occupied with lists and reports, it’s now possible to take immediate action.”
“We’re more effective and better informed and we can make decisions based on facts, sending a clear, unambiguous message from Credit and Control to the organization.”
A dunning process based on a customized risk profile brings major advantages, Kevin explains: “Because debtors pay within the specified period more often, we submit fewer claims to the credit insurance company, leading to fewer write-offs, lower premium costs and, -our prime objective-, a healthy cashflow.”
“To us,” Kevin continues, “client segmentation, dynamic risk profiling and a strict and clear dunning policy are a condition for sound credit management. Besides realizing financial results such as DSO reduction, minimizing uncollectable receivables and the controllable age of receivables, we are increasingly able to help commerce by signalling opportunities. Where possible, we want to show commerce how to create revenue and profit effectively with minimized risks.”
Imagine not having an action list or workflow? How do you start your day as a credit manager?
Omar Ayubi, Credit Manager at Koninklijke Jongeneel tells us how he bridged the gap between commerce and credit control.
Rick Dijkers explains the importance and influence of a consistent and efficient customer acceptance process.