Technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to make it easier for treasurers to gain visibility and control over their cash. But simply investing in these technologies is not enough to achieve working capital efficiencies – treasurers must deploy them in combination with human skills, while reviewing and upgrading existing processes.
In many ways, the core responsibilities of the treasurer have not changed over the past decade: the main objectives of visibility and control over cash flows to ensure the optimisation of working capital and corporate finance for the company remain the same.
Nevertheless, the operating environment is shifting – bringing with it new opportunities for treasurers to meet these objectives with less manual effort. One of the major factors shaping this new era for working capital management is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0.
The First Industrial Revolution was driven by mechanisation, and the Second by mass production. The Third leveraged digital tools to automate production. Now, Industry 4.0 is utilising technology to bring digital and physical worlds together, essentially combining the skills of humans and machines to create better ways of working.