Valmet moved its GLOBAL PAYMENTS TO THE CLOUD

A company with more than 200 years of history in industry, Valmet decided to build a harmonized global infrastructure for vendor payments and for processing customer payments and bank accounts in its Financial Service Centers in North America and Europe. A cloud-based payment solution with global bank connections is the new backbone for its payment management.

The Valmet of today was created at the end of 2013 when Metso Corporation demerged into two separate companies: the new Metso and Valmet. Metso Corporation’s Pulp, Paper and Power businesses were transferred to Valmet. Valmet is the leading global supplier of technology, automation and services in its field. The company operates in four business areas and five geographical areas around the world.

In conjunction with the demerger, two Financial Service Centers were also transferred to Valmet: one located in Montreal, Canada, which serves the company’s units in North America, and one in Jyväskylä, Finland, which serves the company’s large European units. The Financial Service Centers are responsible for making payments and processing customer payments, as well as currency hedging and cash flow forecasting.

According to Annika Westerholm, Director, Treasury Market Operations at Valmet Corporation, the new company wanted to create new, consistent payment, reconciliation and posting processes. Treasury, the department responsible for the company’s global payment infrastructure, also wanted to reduce the number of systems and parallel payment channels.

GLOBAL SWIFT CONNECTION THROUGH SaaS

Valmet’s Financial Service Center in Finland has had good experience of OpusCapita’s payment solutions over a long period of time. Valmet chose OpusCapita’s cloud-based payment solution as the new international backbone for cash flow and payment management. The solution comes integrated with global bank connections through the SWIFT Alliance Lite service. This flexible solution that is independent of ERP systems meets the company’s needs perfectly.

“It is in line with our strategy to favor SaaS solutions, and a centralized bank channel supports risk management. Both our IT department and our Financial Service Centers have been pleased with OpusCapita’s cloud-based service. We are also impressed with the high level of information security,” says Westerholm.

NORTH AMERICA ENTERS THE DIGITAL ERA

The new solution was implemented in 2015, first in the company’s Financial Service Center in Montreal that serves its units in the United States and Canada, and soon after that in its European Financial service Center.

“Up until that point, the account statement and payment processes in the North American Financial Service Center had been highly manual. Bringing the center into the digital era had significant advantages. Even though the need for change was not initially identified in Montreal and there were doubts about automation to the level found in Scandinavia, they are very happy with the solution now,” says Westerholm.

Automation for reconciling and posting customer payments has been built using lockbox files provided by local banks in conjunction with check payments, for example. The day-to-day operations of the Financial Service Center are running much more rapidly and effortlessly than before.

“It is easier to keep cash accounting up to date, which has improved the Financial Service Center’s ability to support the units’ sales operations. In terms of a centralized Treasury, it is important to be able to trust the cash flow forecasts provided by the Financial Service Centers. When the basic payment processes have been harmonized and they run rapidly and reliably, the quality and predictability of data improve and liquidity management becomes easier for the entire company.”

During the project, Valmet centralized cash management to its core banks. In Europe, for example, the number of cash management banks decreased to a tenth of the previous number.

SMART AUTOMATION

In the near future, Valmet intends to expand the operations of its Financial Service Centers to cover an increasing number of its units.

“We have built a good payment infrastructure, and we want to benefit from it as much as possible. We have decided to transfer to a single ERP system and will implement these changes during the ERP project.”

Valmet and OpusCapita continue to cooperate in a project that develops new solutions for automatic reconciliation and posting of customer payments without references.

“We are very interested in the opportunities offered by new technologies, such as software robotics and machine learning, and in making use of them to further increase automation. We intend to use historical data and identify patterns that could enable the system to automatically create and suggest better and better entry rules,” Westerholm explains.

Published in OpusCapita Journal 2/2016. Read the whole magazine here.