Improving Performance through Treasury Innovation at Geox
by Federica Vello, Treasury Manager, Geox S.p.A.
Since the end of 2015, leading footwear company Geox, together with partner bank UniCredit, have collaborated in an ambitious project to rationalise and streamline cash management processes, bank relationships and connectivity. Geox has a centralised treasury based at its Italian headquarters. The team comprises Federica Vello and ten further treasury and finance professionals including four in back office, two in vendor relations, three responsible for sales audit, and one person who runs the cash desk and manages travel expenses. In this article, Federica Vello, Treasury Manager of Geox S.p.A. describes the background and objectives of the project together with the progress they have made so far.
Treasury challenges and objectives
As a large, geographically diverse business, the Geox group comprises 40 companies located across 28 countries. As a result, we had built up a complex banking infrastructure with 65 banks and 150 accounts, with around 100,000 payments each year. We accessed these accounts via a variety of different electronic banking platforms, which made it difficult to achieve timely and accurate visibility across our global cash balances and to standardise and automate processes. Each of our banking systems had different security protocols, and we had to maintain multiple user profiles and passwords.
Innovation and technology are central to our business, and this applies to treasury just as it does to our footwear. This was a key factor behind our decision to rationalise and streamline our banking relationships, accounts and the processes and technology that we used to manage our cash management activities. Our aim was to simplify and automate processes at a group level to achieve greater cash visibility and process efficiency. In addition, we aimed to optimise the security and integrity of our processes by minimising manual activities and adopting best practices in security in accordance with SWIFT.
A first step was to appoint our cash management banking partners. We needed banks that could provide the depth of solutions and services we needed in each country across our geographic footprint, whilst also providing consistent commercial conditions and a single point of contact across all countries in which we worked together. Following an extensive evaluation process, we ultimately appointed UniCredit as our cash management partner bank for all Geox group companies globally across all 28 countries and 14 currencies.
We selected UniCredit for a variety of reasons. We already had a close relationship with the bank and had been a pilot customer for the bank in countries such as Hong Kong and Romania as well as for a variety of solutions. Throughout our relationship, we have been impressed with the quality of the bank’s service, its international reach and the depth of its solutions and technology that would enable us to make significant improvements to our cash management efficiency.