Altares Dun & Bradstreet helps bpost to take care of it.

Imagine you could send yourself little parcels of time gains when working on your data management? That’s exactly what Altares Dun & Bradstreet delivered for bpost. Of course, not in the shape of parcels, but in the form of a daily dual exchange loop and further enrichments of a large database. This type of data management allows bpost to optimize their daily activities and focus pro-actively on their relationships with customers and suppliers.

bpost

20.000

Customers

582.000

Parcels per day

2.500

Service points in Belgium

Cristina Bonacasa, Credit and Collection Manager at bpost, explains: “We are a social player on the Belgian market and we want our risk decisions to be aligned with our company’s values. Together with Altares Dun & Bradstreet we worked out a navigation structure for D&B information that meets our organization’s needs. This structure allows us to import data directly in our systems. This means that most of our risk assessment today is done with a no touch base, so that we can focus our team efforts and resources on risk mitigation negotiations or collection."

Cristina Bonacasa
Cristina Bonacasa
Credit and Collection Manager at bpost

1. The Challenge

Direct classification and enrichment of data

"The goal is to always have up-to-date financial information so that bpost can focus on the more risky customers."

Time is of the essence. This is certainly true for bpost, the Belgian Post Group, responsible for the delivery of national and international mail. Time gains are key to a company that provides a wide range of postal, courier, direct marketing, banking, insurance, and electronic services for over 20.000 customers.

For 5 years now, Altares Dun & Bradstreet concern themselves with the specific data management needs of bpost. bpost is a state-owned company, which means they need specific classifications, enrichments and rating systems that are in line with the company’s values to, for instance, support start-ups or state-owned companies.

In Altares Dun & Bradstreet bpost found a partner with an international reach that can give immediate insight in a very large customer base, extending to more than 20.000 active customers, and adapt the database management to bpost’s specific needs.

For bpost, these requirements mean that their data, firstly, needed to be classified financially. Next to that, the data needed to be enriched, so that immediate insight is possible about which customer requires attention from bpost. The rating system needed to be adaptable according to the type of customers so that bpost, as a social player in the field, can support businesses such as start-ups or state-owned companies. Of course, all these processes needed to be automated to facilitate the daily monitoring of all data.

Cristina Bonacasa, Credit and Collection Manager at bpost, explains: “To complete our master data with financial information and with the identification of the riskier customers in our portfolio, we needed an international partner that could enrich the owned data and ensure an easy integration with our in-house systems.” The goal is to always have up-to-date financial information so that bpost can focus more broadly on riskier customers only.

2. The Solution

Data Integration Toolkit for enrichment and using a toolkit API

Thanks to the data management and the daily insights of bpost’s customer base by Altares Dun & Bradstreet, bpost received the gift of time. The solutions for this project include the implementation of Data Integration Toolkit for enrichment on the one hand, and, a seamless integration with bpost’s CRM thanks to the use of a toolkit API on the other hand. This approach is optimized to the fullest by means of a two-way flow between the two partners.

This two-way flow, used for customers, is automatically updated every day. The benefit of this dual flow double loop of exchange works as follows:

  • The first loop is called the “initial enrichment” which contains financial information for newly onboarded customers. During the onboarding phase, bpost sends a database with new customers to Altares Dun & Bradstreet, for initial enrichment. In this initial phase, bpost triggers the contact. Altares Dun & Bradstreet identifies the bpost customers and further checks and monitors the information.

  • The second loop is called “monitoring” which ensures that changes in the Dun & Bradstreet datacloud are reflected in the bpost system. Here, Altares Dun & Bradstreet sends out information to bpost in case the data requires extra attention from bpost.

During these two loop exchanges, both parties are in contact with each other about remarks that need special attention or follow-up. What makes this dual flow so efficient is that bpost does not continuously need to initiate the feedback loop from Altares Dun & Bradstreet. bpost receives information from Altares Dun & Bradstreet pro-actively.

As a result, bpost receives daily information to support the onboarding process Next to that, the dual-flow approach also allows bpost to establish and maintain relationships with customers.

As Cristina Bonacasa further clarifies: Together with Altares Dun & Bradstreet we worked out a structure which covers all bpost types of customers. This includes:

  • The rule applied to Dun & Bradstreet rating to define the rating that will be used in bpost system
  • The rule applied to key financial data to calculate the credit limit that will be integrated in bpost system
  • Several exceptions covering for example WCO* or bankruptcies
*WCO - The Business Continuity Act.
A company invoking the Continuity of Enterprises Act is protected from its creditors. The creditors decide whether they want to waive (part of) their debts and join in a reorganization plan or not. If there is still a future for the company, they will support the reorganization. In fact, most creditors will always - albeit reluctantly - choose this option. If they do not and reject the recovery plan, the company will go bankrupt and they will lose their money anyway.

244

distribution hubs

5,74 M

letters per day

5

sorting centers

A good example of this is the newly added classification of NB. This helps bpost not only to recognize new businesses, but it also allows them to adapt their daily operations according to the services that are necessary to support these new organizations.

Cristina Bonacasa illustrates: The structure is also responsive to bpost’s needs. A good example would be start-ups:

  • bpost encourages economic initiatives and is ready to give start-ups (for which no financials are yet available) the “benefit of the doubt”. This is possible thanks to Dun & Bradstreet’s “NB” classification which allows us to define more “generous” rules for those companies during the mapping process.

  • Another illustration of how Altares Dun & Bradstreet monitors and enriches the database, based on bpost’s specific requirements, is by allowing for a more “generous” rules for state-owned companies. As a state-owned company, bpost needs to give particular attention to other state-owned entities. Cristina Bonacasa continues to explain: “In such cases, it’s necessary to include more information than what is usually available during the initial flow, so that we can deliver customized credit solutions and limits for these customers. This is possible thanks to Dun & Bradstreet’s ‘legal form’”.

3. The result

Optimization of resources

Thanks to a seamless integration, the dual correspondence and the daily customized and automated update, human interventions are reduced to a mere 1,5% of total active customers. Due to the data being delivered in the right package, human resources, as well as time, costs and risks are minimized.

As Cristina Bonacasa clarifies:
Without the solution offered by Altares Dun & Bradstreet, we would need a lot more resources to enrich, maintain and analyse the financial information. Our partnership with Altares Dun & Bradstreet allows us to implement a credit management solution which is mostly no touch base. This gives us the opportunity to focus more on riskier customers and negotiations and collection.