Joris ten Westenend Sligro Food Group
“The benefits are not just in time and efficiency but also in improved internal cooperation at Sligro. Using Infoscore has intensified and improved the cooperation between commerce and debtor administration.”
Speed, efficiency and cooperation in the customer acceptance process are fundamental necessities for Sligro. “What do you do with a customer who wants to make a purchase, but whose credit limit has not yet been approved, for example? Deliver, with all the risks that involves? Or not deliver, with the consequence that the customer won’t want to do business with you anymore. Our customers count on us,” says Joris ten Westenend, Debtor Administration and Funds Manager at Sligro Food Group. “Together with CreditDevice, we were able to optimize this into a streamlined process, letting us serve clients rapidly and covering the risks as much as possible.”
The importance of a rigorous customer acceptance procedure
Consumers’ food and drink needs take centre stage at Sligro. Sligro’s food service-companies offer a full range of food and food-related non-food products and services. About 500,000 card holders use our products and services each month. In 2018 this resulted in a turnover of €2.35 billion. Most purchases are made in one of our 50 shops, but Sligro delivers products to over 28,000 of those clients from one of its eight distribution centres. These customers purchase on account. “With these numbers, rigorous customer acceptance procedures are essential,” says Joris.
“The protocol for new customers is that the automatic collection procedure should be completed within 24 hours. This means that the credit acceptance needs to have taken place even earlier. A client should be completely ‘ready to-go’ within 72 hours, meaning that an efficient procedure is vital. That is to say, we need to make few mistakes and act rapidly, because we receive 60 new client applications each week. So we aim to gain time where possible.”
Efficiency through reliable information
Reliable information is essential for Sligro in order to be able to adapt quickly. “Before, we needed to double-check the previous supplier’s data, because we could not rely on the information being accurate. That’s fine now thanks to CreditDevice’s InfoScore. We have set up the InfoScore module together with CreditDevice. InfoScore is a computerized acceptance process that follows a decision model, as it were. We first fine-tuned this decision model internally and then configured the multiple weighting factors together with CreditDevice. This ensures that each client is accepted or refused according to the same rules, which makes the process way more efficient, saving us a lot of time,” Joris explains.
The customer application process has improved since we started working with CreditDevice, meaning we now get it right the first time.
Improved internal cooperation
According to Joris, the benefits are not just time and efficiency, but also Sligro’s upgraded internal cooperation. “Cooperation between commerce and debtor administration has now been intensified and improved. Thanks to InfoScore, our commercial department -in particular the front office that deals with acquisition- can see immediately whether a prospect is worthwhile. After a short and quick check, the field sales staff can decide whether or not to visit a potential new customer. This has helped to create a very good relationship between commerce and debtor administration. Which has very recently been acknowledged once again,” according to Joris. “Both departments are very happy with the current cooperation.”
A new approach to debtor management
An important change Sligro has seen since the cooperation with CreditDevice is the approach to debtor management, as Joris tells us. “The whole debtor administration experience is different now; better. Before, when we worked with a conventional debtor ledger, we focused on debtor risk – whether it was OK or not. After we implemented pro-active credit management, we started to think more in terms of possibilities. Not just whether it’s OK or not, but rather about the conditions it would be possible under.”
Active product development.
Joris has witnessed the development and growth of CreditDevice’s products. Partly thanks to his own feedback, he says. “The quick check has seen a number of adjustments at our request. It feels good to see our feedback actually being processed.”
“CreditDevice really listens.”
Sincere interest is key to a good relationship according to Joris. “CreditDevice don’t visit us to tell us what they’re good at, but to ask us what they can do for us and what we need. That’s where CreditDevice makes the difference. I get calls every week from companies and collection agencies telling me what they can or can’t do, but they never ask what they can do for Sligro. They don’t know that. They never thought about that.” Joris continues talking about his personal contact with CreditDevice. “CreditDevice -Joke, Hans-Peter and Robbert too- they know their customers. And they know what the customer needs. They try to get a deeper understanding of the customer beforehand and that’s something you notice. Because you can’t just make a flying visit to a customer or prospect to make their acquaintance. No: you need to get a deeper understanding of the industry, the organizational structure and so forth. Only then can you understand the customer’s needs and how you can add value. And that’s precisely what CreditDevice understands.”
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Rick Dijkers explains the importance and influence of a consistent and efficient customer acceptance process.