by Jennifer Tan Sue Een, Treasury Manager, Europe & Africa and Mario Del Natale, Director Treasury Operations, Systems & Applications, Johnson Controls
At Johnson Controls, Inc. we have been through a period of geographic expansion and financial process optimisation, including establishing regional shared service centres (SSCs). As part of this strategy, we made the decision to appoint one bank per country for cash management, whilst aiming to reduce our total number of banking partners overall. We use a variety of criteria when choosing a bank according to our requirements in each country, but they should be part of our lending syndicate (i.e., a relationship bank) and we will review each bank relationship in depth every five years. Our EMEA treasury department in Belgium is responsible for 47 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). In some cases, we need to work with a local bank for domestic cash management purposes but ideally we try to work with our relationship banks wherever possible.
Optimising bank communications
While a one bank per country strategy met our relationship banking and cash management requirements, there was a risk of fragmentation and replication of banking technology. Consequently, we made the decision in 2008 to migrate to SWIFT, leveraging XML to standardise communication formats at a global level. We have now implemented SWIFT in most countries of operation, enabling us to achieve our banking strategy whilst maintaining a high degree of efficiency, control and standardisation in our bank connectivity.