How is your company structured to manage receivables?
In 2019, we created a credit management department to oversee our company’s trade receivables. This department works closely with the accounts receivables, sales administration and sales teams. We regularly lead credit committees and constantly share our respective information on payment terms, disputes and ratings. This allows us to manage our receivables in the simplest, safest and most efficient way possible. Our main strength in this area today is that we succeeded in creating a real cash culture at all levels of the company.
What have been your challenges in terms of customer credit?
The two years of the recent crisis have reinforced one reality we already faced at Balmain: it is essential to manage your accounts receivables with skill and precision. Now more than ever, we must constantly ensure that the payment terms we provide customers are suited to their financial situation and ability to pay. Credit insurance is particularly important in this respect: we always consult with Allianz Trade before making a credit decision. Therefore, we are sure to avoid mistakes and preserve our company's cash flow.
Have your challenges changed in view of the Covid crisis, followed by the Ukrainian crisis?
Our challenges have not really changed: our priority is still to ensure proper payment of our trade receivables. Having said that, these crises enabled us to strengthen ties with our customers. As everyone faced these particular situations, we focused on solidarity and a personal touch and as a result, we have developed a real relationship of trust, partnership, with our customers, which makes our daily exchanges go even more smoothly.
Why did you choose to take credit insurance?
This is an ideal solution to reduce the risk of non-payment and protect your cash flow. Credit insurance gives us good visibility on all of our customer receivables, and security in case of non-payment. We also have peace of mind because we can quickly adjust our credit policy. To manage our accounts receivables effectively, it is important to have external information that complements our records and internal scoring. It is reassuring to be able to rely on a partner like Allianz Trade, as it offers us greater granularity of information.
How do you know Allianz Trade?
I knew Allianz Trade when I started working at Balmain, and what impressed me right away was the responsiveness of your teams. As soon as we have a question, a request for information or a decision, the response is very quick. It's nice to have someone in front of you who is so responsive.
How do you benefit from your credit insurance?
Credit insurance is a safety net for Balmain. We can follow how the situation of our customers evolve, which is essential, especially for those we know less well. Credit insurance gives us a global and dynamic view of our customer portfolio, and allows us to continuously adjust our credit policy, while supporting our business development.
Interested in trade credit insurance?
How does Allianz Trade meet your business development challenges?
Managing receivables begins with prospecting. When we contact a potential new customer, we must check their ability to honor a payment before we can commit. In this sense, Allianz Trade actively supports our business development: as soon as our commercial teams identify a prospect, we consult Allianz Trade for its rating and the guarantees that we could obtain. Based on the coverage Allianz Trade grants, we decide on the follow-up and the payment conditions that we will give to the prospect.
What do you think are Allianz Trade’s key strengths?
The responsiveness of your teams, the expertise you bring to us, and the relevance of your ratings.
What do you think of Allianz Trade Online, your credit insurance contract management tool?
It is very practical platform, with a user-friendly interface, which is simple and efficient to use. We are very satisfied. I use Allianz Trade Online every day, for various functions: credit limit requests, need for information, declaration of overdues, etc. This tool is so much part of my daily life, I would even say that it makes my daily life easier! I can obtain information easily and make decisions quickly, which is essential for my job.
What feature do you use the most?
I mainly use Allianz Trade Online to get information on prospects identified by the sales teams. I enter the name of the company and information concerning it, and I very quickly receive its rating and any outstandings associated with it. This is not only a real plus for our credit policy, but also for our commercial policy.
What can you tell us about using your credit insurance contract?
We are regularly confronted with clients or prospects who do not publish their financial results, which means we grant them quite rigid payment terms. In order to give these companies more flexible payment terms, we ask them to submit their financial information to Allianz Trade. This often allows us to unlock an agreement, and therefore to relax our payment conditions. It's a win-win!
Do you have anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
The information you collect about your customers is essential to managing your credit policy. But credit insurance is the ideal complement!