By developing our modern credit management system, we reduced our average DSO from 42 days to a sustainable figure of less than 20 days in the medium term.
Germany’s building industry is booming. At the same time, the sector is still giving credit managers sleepless nights. The reason: although their order books are full, a large number of construction companies are exposed to above-average risks of payment default.
Henrich Baustoffzentrum has been an active stakeholder in this challenging market for more than 150 years. One of its success factors: continuous work on its own credit management. Here the family-run company describes how it relies on us to cover its receivables.
“We serve companies of all sizes in the construction, structural engineering and civil engineering industries as well as in the gardening and landscaping, tiling, roofing materials and drywall sectors,” explains Thomas Schulte, who is responsible for credit management at Henrich Baustoffzentrum.
“They are all outstanding in their fields, but sometimes not enough attention is paid to the commercial side.” Moreover, customers in the civil engineering industry often request relatively lengthy payment terms when implementing construction projects for public clients as they themselves are paid relatively late. If such a company has few capital resources, it can very quickly find itself in financial difficulties.
“We also support our clients on the commercial side wherever possible, for example by arranging extended payment terms or organising customer events focusing on topics relating to invoice and receivables management,” says Thomas Schulte.
“However, we can only accept responsibility for this if we are using an efficient, reliable credit management solution. We have spent the last few years creating, updating and digitising this. Credit insurance plays an important role in this context.
“The path we have chosen requires a modern, flexible provider who can make fast decisions in line with market requirements and provide us with personal contacts.”
We have been Henrich’s first choice for receivables protection for many years.
The client is looked after by regional director of Atradius, Rainer Knappe, account manager Uwe Barth and underwriter Frank Lüders, with claims being handled by Rita Klein. “We don’t just rely on Atradius for cover. Our cooperation goes far beyond this,” says Thomas Schulte.
Henrich considers the close partnership with our account management team to be indispensible.
The credit management system developed by Henrich is certified by TÜV Rheinland. We provided the construction materials experts with crucial support while developing its current system by linking Henrich’s accounts receivable management with our underwriting
system using the software interface Atradius Connect.
If an order falls within the scope of our blanket coverage and if the consumer achieves a certain rating, Henrich automatically receives a credit limit from us through the Atradius Connect interface. This process does more than just reduce the need for manual input
and thus the potential for error.
“The contract solution also saves time and resources that we can then use for difficult cases,” explains Thomas Schulte. These have noticeably decreased in number since the current system was introduced.
“With the help of our modern credit management system and the support we have received from Atradius, we have succeeded in reducing our average days of sales outstanding from 42 days to a sustainable figure of less than 20,” says Thomas Schulte.
This can also improve the support available for sales and marketing. Just recently, Schulte received a call from one of our underwriting staff. “I was told that a hitherto risky client was now back on a sound footing and that it was again safe to do business with him. I passed this on within the company.”
This information was provided as part of the New Cover Opportunity services provided by us – a fixed internal process, through which our clients receive prompt notification as soon as a receivables risk is reduced and they can safely generate additional sales.
“For me, this direct call is also further evidence of the excellent business relationship between our two companies,” says Thomas Schulte. “This personal aspect will always remain indispensable in an increasingly digitised business world.”
About Henrich Baustoffzentrum
Henrich Baustoffzentrum has eleven locations in the Rhine and Moselle region and employs around 360 staff in all.
The company’s traditional strengths are loyalty to the client, extensive competence in its area, high product quality at fair prices, and reliable delivery.
The Fink-Stauf family of entrepreneurs became the proprietors of the leading construction materials centre in the 1990s.