Hartfiel Automation provides pneumatic, hydraulic, motion control and automation solutions throughout nine states in the Midwest. Founded in 1958, the Minneapolis-based firm employs more than 100 people and serves food, medical, oil and gas, and automotive manufacturers.
Key to the company’s promise: its trademarked Customer Profit Reinforcement process, which provides customers with real-time dollar figure feedback on the savings and profit opportunities of working with Hartfiel. To maximize the company’s own profitability, Hartfiel partnered with Dun & Bradstreet to generate better credit management and finance/sales collaboration.
The Challenge: Assessing customer payment activity
As a growing business, Hartfiel was challenged with assessing the likelihood of its customers paying on time. The company needed effective and efficient account credit insight that not only spoke to risk, but revealed growth opportunities. “We really are built on growing relationships with our customers,” says Betsy Nothom, who has managed Hartfiel’s credit department for more a decade. “Ultimately, I need insight into risk, and I need it at a high rate of probability.”
The Solution: DNBi’s complete risk data enables Hartfiel to more confidently extend credit
In a win-back for D&B, Hartfiel Automation chose DNBi and Portfolio Risk Manager (PRM) for consistent and complete content offerings and industry leading matching capabilities. Employee details, alerts, corporate linkage, and an easy-to-read dashboard with colored indicators are among the chief reasons Hartfiel Automation relies on the product. “Utilizing the data, I can decipher with a fairly high degree of accuracy whether a customer will remit timely or be delinquent, and if so, by how many days,” Nothom explains. “This aids in structuring a value-based relationship that will secure us as a preferred supplier with our customer. As well, it ensures we are taking on the optimum amount of risk to drive growth.”
PRM’s analysis helps Hartfiel strategically manage its risk and opportunities throughout its customer portfolio as well as strengthen and grow relationships within its own sales department. Utilizing PRM, the company’s sales teams can collaborate to pursue partnership opportunities with their healthiest accounts. “The ability to prioritize our collections and manage our customers’ credit limits more efficiently enables us to support our sales team in growth opportunities, versus fighting fires and writing off bad debt,” adds Ms. Nothom.
Benefits/ROI: Reduced bad debt, decreasing DSO
Even when the numbers on a company indicate risk, Hartfiel Automation can use the information to adjust its risk tolerance levels and safely extend credit in certain situations. For Ms. Nothom, DNBi has helped effectively reduce bad debt while decreasing days sales out. The combination of the Viability Score, Financial Stress Score, commercial scores, trade, history, filings information and real-time statistics channeled through PRM gives the company a view to the healthiest balance of risk necessary to support growth. “Gone are the days of a credit department being viewed as a hurdle that sales must jump to complete their ‘win’ with a customer,” Nothom says. “With data we receive from DNBi and Portfolio Risk Manager, we proactively assess accounts on the front end, giving our sales force the confidence to sell.”