Adam Smith Award: Autoneum Harnesses the Power of Technology to Transform Treasury Operations

Fides customer Autoneum has a long history of treasury innovation. In 2011, the former automotive supplier division of a Swiss-based textile machinery company was listed independently on the Swiss Stock Exchange. At the time it was spun off, Autoneum had an outdated treasury management system, completely unharmonized banking landscape, fragmented payment processes, and a very small treasury team to manage it all. But that team had a long-term vision and a goal — to form a technology-forward, state-of-the-art treasury landscape.

Cut to 2024, where after more than a decade of ongoing treasury transformation efforts, Autoneum has received the coveted Highly Commended designation in the 2024 Adam Smith Awards from Treasury Today. Autoneum received the honor in the “Harnessing the Power of Technology” category for its multi-year, technology-forward treasury transformation project.

Each year, hundreds of Adam Smith Awards nominations are submitted from companies of all industries and all sizes, located in dozens of countries. It’s a true honor to be selected from such a diverse pool of applicants, all of whom have incredible success stories — especially as many represent firms with larger corporate revenues and larger treasury teams.

A History of Innovative Thinking

Innovative thinking has been at the forefront of Autoneum’s treasury transformation story from Day One. Head Treasury Operations Janko Hahn has been with the company since its inception, and led the treasury projects aided by Senior Treasury Manager Alessandra Peter, also a member of Autoneum’s treasury team since 2011. Treasury Manager Fatma Karaman joined them in 2018.

Together, this small but mighty team has wrought miracles. From the initial planning and implementation process of the company’s TMS system to APIs and virtual IBANs, they have shown the possibilities for treasury advancement through technology.

It Started with a Payment Factory

Back when Autoneum was formed, its Board of Directors determined process re-engineering was needed and began rolling out SAP as the company’s new ERP to support this initiative. The SAP ERP, coupled with SAP’s TMS solution, would help standardize Autoneum’s treasury processes worldwide.

Over the next few years, the SAP ERP was rolled out, with completion in 2019. During this time, Treasury worked to implement treasury modules, in conjunction with a fully-fledged payment factory in SAP. The payment factory, which uses Fides as a hybrid service bureau, was initially rolled out in Switzerland in 2013 and subsequently implemented across nearly all of Autoneum’s subsidiaries. ISO 20022 was selected as the standard payment format for all countries to manage the complex environment of the challenging automotive industry in the best and most cost-efficient way. Standardization and automation of payment processes were paramount, and the adoption of ISO 20022 would help Autoneum achieve those goals.

Embracing APIs and New Payment Models

Throughout the planning and implementation process, Autoneum’s treasury team also researched new and innovative technologies that could be used and implemented to improve its processes. They developed a pilot solution using APIs not only to achieve real-time balance information but also to stay current on signatory rights and transparency regarding e-banking users.

This included extending the payment factory from a standard payment “in the name of” approach to a payment and collection “on behalf of” solution (POBO and COBO). This allowed Autoneum to centralize all Euro transactions on one bank account and consolidate its bank and bank account landscape to a few key partner banks.

To effectively work with just one bank account for more than 10 different legal units, Autoneum rolled out a virtual IBAN solution. The vIBANs allow Autoneum to easily apply any credits collected from clients to the individual legal units for which Autoneum Holding collects receivables.

Autoneum’s transformation is not yet complete: pending a current study for the implementation of the “on-behalf-of” approach in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, an implementation in those regions is also expected by 2025.

Enhancing Efficiency and Resilience in Treasury

Today, Autoneum’s Treasury is efficient, effective, ahead of the curve, and ready to harness any new technology that may help improve the business. All their hard work has paid off, and the Adam Smith Award is just one public acknowledgement of their exceptional achievements.

Special thanks go to Janko Hahn for working closely with us and allowing us to share this story. The Fides team is extremely proud to be a contributor to Autoneum’s success, and extend our congratulations on their well-deserved Adam Smith Award!

To learn how Autoneum used Fides to standardize processes and payment file/bank statements formats for better security and centralized visibility, read our Autoneum case study.

About Fides

Fides is the world leader in multibank connectivity, payments and transaction communications. A market leader for more than a century, Fides is committed to making financial operations as efficient, transparent and secure as possible for all organizations. More than 4,000 clients rely on Fides for efficient cash and liquidity management, through connectivity to more than 13,000 banks and comprehensive workflow, reporting, conversion, validation and security services. Whether you access via the secure Fides ONEHub or leverage our seamless integration with third-party ERP, TMS and other backend systems, Fides is the only platform you need.

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