Global Decision Maker is an example of innovative customization

About AkzoNobel

Michael van der Steen is the SBU Credit Manager of AkzoNobel, the world’s biggest producer of paint and coatings and an important producer of special chemicals. The company has activities in more than 80 countries and 55,000 employees worldwide. 'My business unit, Automotive & Aerospace Coatings, sells car paints for the repair of cars. Many people know us as the sponsor of McLaren’s Formula 1 team, for whom former world champion Lewis Hamilton drives.’


More insight into customers

In a time of credit crisis and collapsing markets, AkzoNobel decided to intensify its partnership with D&B. ‘Our first need was to get an insight into the quality of our customer portfolio. The second was to have a better method to monitor this portfolio, particularly the bigger customers. Finally, we looked for a more simple way to determine our credit limits. We work with the 3 Cs within AkzoNobel: customers, costs and cash. With this focus we began to screen the customer portfolio, which is divided worldwide over more than 20 countries. Our aim in this was mainly to save time in our country organisations. By making work easier for them, they are able to concentrate on the collection of money. Until the introduction of D&B, each country worked with their own tools, which did not comply with the standards that we had in mind. Another of our objectives was that we wanted to introduce structure into the assessment process of our credit limits. Thanks to D&B we have begun to work more uniformly within the company.


The solutions of D&B

‘D&B advised us to use Portfolio Manager for our first need. D&B Access for the Internet (DBAI) was then advised to be the most suitable product for monitoring customers. A standard solution was not sufficient to determine our credit limits and a tailor-made solution had to be supplied. Ultimately, we chose Global Decision Maker (GDM). We performed a regression analysis to see if a link could be discovered between customers, which is specific for a branch for example. Together we analysed the portfolio of our customers over the last 2 years. This showed us which customers had not paid, as well as the signals they had given.' The tailor-made solution of D&B has the extra advantage that we can also load the data into our own SAP system. Another important additional value of D&B is the specific knowledge of scoring models. The data is also of high quality. In addition to the data from public sources, such as the Chamber of Commerce, D&B adds a lot of extra information (e.g. payment experience, debt collection, concern structures and interviews). We can trust this information thanks to D&B’s supplementary quality control.’


The Results

The results were remarkable. The claims in arrears were reduced by 60%. Michael van der Steen: 'Our payment instalments have also been reduced by 15 to 20%. Thanks to Portfolio Manager we have access to a system in which we can see what our customers are doing both at group and at branch level. DBAI gives us the opportunity to monitor the top 300 of our customers. 80% of the turnover at AkzoNobel is generated by 20% of the customers. It is therefore important for us to become fully informed about this group. I see Global Decision Maker as the finest result. As a result of the regression analysis a model was built, which makes customer lists with a classification into 'good' and 'investigate further’. We are a separate branch as far as payments are concerned. In the telecom industry people will always use and buy telephones, crisis or not. In our sector you see that people spend less on repairing damage to their cars in times of crisis.’


Partner at the highest level

‘I greatly value our partnership with D&B. I am especially pleased with the tailor-made solutions they provide. There was the realisation within D&B that a standard solution is not sufficient for companies in the Fortune 500. AkzoNobel is internationally active and needs innovative products. D&B has an eye for the field in which large companies operate. Their tailor-made solutions make them suitable as a partner at the highest level.’

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