Belden was founded a century ago in America for the production of electrical cables. Various acquisitions followed and today Belden produces and sells a comprehensive portfolio of connectivity and networking products into a variety of markets, including industrial, enterprise, and broadcast. Belden EMEA opened its doors in Venlo at the end of the 20th century to serve the European market, the Middle East and Africa.
Belden people add value to its highly differentiated, high-performance products through unsurpassed design and engineering, manufacturing excellence and customer service. These core strengths enable Belden to create end-to-end signal transmission solutions that meet the most demanding standards for data, sound, and video applications. Special projects include cabling for the highest tower in Dubai and the Olympic Games. Read what we learned from the team at Belden.
Our business is global. As a result, we’re always exploring unknown markets, with varying laws and rules, and we must comply with all of them. We also have to know the countries where payment installments are usual, where purchasing conditions apply and if political issues are involved. And we need to know how creditworthy each (potential) customer is and what maximum limit we should observe. Also important, what characterizes the market? What are the laws and rules? Who is your customer? How is his business doing? Can they pay?
These are all questions that Wilma Arends, Credit Risk Manager at Belden EMEA needs answered and Arends, a credit manager of the year, relies on Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) for the global insight she needs to minimize credit risk.
How it Works
The relationship between Belden and Dun & Bradstreet for credit risk management has been long-standing. As an international player we looked for a strategic partner for the purchase of global business information. D&B is the market leader and like us is represented in many countries. For the acquisition of reliable information we prefer one supplier and not have to deal with several parties in order to obtain detailed local information. Moreover, the quality of the information we receive from D&B is of high value making it easy for us to process the estimation of risks, the monitoring of developments in the customer portfolio and the attunement of the credit policy accordingly. And what is also not unimportant: the more we take, the lower the tariff.
We use Portfolio Manager on the advice of D&B. This solution provides insight into annual figures and creditworthiness and we value the D&B assessment of a customer. What is more, for the smaller customers we fully rely on the expertise of D&B. We also subject bigger customers to a thorough analysis ourselves. It is ideal that D&B uses D-U-N-S numbers for each separate entity, so we can assess if we would like to do business with a certain customer even before a project begins.
Results and ROI
What I value enormously is that Dun & Bradstreet, in spite of its size and international character, maintains personal contact with us. Our D&B Relationship Manager visits us regularly and I can always contact him if anything is going on. He is always ready to think with us.
We believe the following applies to credit management: “prevention is better than cure”. Our relationship with Dun & Bradstreet is based on this premise. With Portfolio Manager we always know with whom we are doing business. This limits our risk, because incorrect decisions are prevented. Looking ahead, we expect to proceed to an automated integration of the data of D&B in our own systems, such as our ERP, so that a complete overview is quickly produced of what is current and what is history. D&B fully supports us in this process of business intelligence.
The outsourcing of the acquisition of business information saves us a lot of time, money and energy. We don’t have to do it ourselves and we can quickly draw conclusions. Naturally it is also sometimes difficult even for D&B to acquire detailed information about companies in certain countries where information is known to be limited such as Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Middle East, but in general the approach is highly successful. During the credit crisis we have seen less than a handful of bankruptcies amongst our customers and these also involved small amounts. As a result, using D&B Portfolio Manager we write off virtually nothing on account of bad debtors.