Giving the floor to… Cofely

The power of empathy

Far ahead in terms of sustainable technology is the slogan of Cofely Nederland N.V. This enterprise offers cutting-edge and sustainable solutions in the field of energy supplies. Cofely responds to social developments, current affairs and issues in both working and living environments and provides solutions to the demand for energy efficiency. Cofely meets these daily challenges full of optimism and helps to build a better future with spirit, vigor and intelligence.

A leading organization like Cofely, that puts sustainability, involvement and innovation at the heart of its business, can only produce an optimum return when it chooses partners that share those core values. The same is true when it comes to selecting a collection partner. Cofely’s Rini Nijssen describes how his company manages its financial affairs and the role Trust Krediet Beheer (TKB) has played for many years.

Paul Akkermans (Manager collections TKB) and Rini Nijssen

Paul Akkermans (Manager collections TKB) and Rini Nijssen

‘Time and again, TKB has proved its excellence
in its area of expertise owing to the knowledge
and skills of its employees.’

More than anything, TKB’s strength lies in its
ability to identify with its clients and not to think in
terms of black-and-white solutions but to take an
open ended and flexible approach.’

Experience over many years
Rini Nijssen has worked for Cofely for many years, firstly in the role of Finance Manager. He has remained fascinated by this dynamic business throughout his entire career. Each time he was ready for a new challenge, he was offered a new interim project he could not resist. In 2006 he was asked if he would be interested in overseeing a comprehensive centralization process of the credit management
departments in Cofely’s seventeen business locations. He did not have to think about it for very long. Since 2007, Rini Nijssen has been responsible for the Credit Management department at Cofely Nederland N.V.
Succesvol Shared Service Center
Nijssen continues: ‘By setting up a Shared Service Center, we centralized Cofely’s financial administration. Amongst other things, we deal with accounts receivable, handle complaints and offer advice and support with regard to all aspects of credit management. With the Shared Service Center, we succeeded in putting Credit Management on the map within the organization.’ Rini Nijssen started off with approximately fourteen people, but this number has now been reduced to eight people, thanks to the use of various management tools and their employees’ increased expertise.
Analysis & Advice
Cofely had worked with Trust Krediet Beheer (TKB) for many years and so, in 2006, it was only logical to ask this credit management organization to carry out an analysis of the proposal for the integration of the Shared Service Center. TKB wrote a report that revealed the bottlenecks and offered solutions aimed at gradually clearing the backlog. Currently the Shared Service Center is well-organized. In the last period, Rini Nijssen successfully focused on reducing the DSO: the Days Sales Outstanding, or the average number of days an invoice is open. The DSO has improved by over 17% compared to previous years. Nijssen states: ‘We are very proud of having achieved such a target, especially in times of economic crisis.’
Great results
Nijssen indicates that the Shared Services Center’s credit policy is based on a comprehensive procedure. The credit controllers contact the debtors regularly by phone and in writing. In the event of a dispute, they will contact the responsible project manager. Whenever necessary, the team can also contact an internal legal expert. Nijssen continues: ‘If we have the feeling that we are reaching deadlock, we hand the case over to TKB. Time and again, it has proven its excellence in its area of expertise owing to the knowledge and skills of its employees. In 2011, TKB has once again achieved great results for us.’
Rini Nijssen explains that Cofely is so happy with TKB because it scores well in a number of areas: ‘Besides the result, an essential aspect, we are very satisfied with the relationship that we have with our nominated contact persons. They demonstrate that they are engaged with our company and that they know what they are talking about. That bond is important to me. But above all, the strength of TKB is its empathy: its ability to identify with its clients and not to think in terms of black-and-white solutions but to take an open-ended, flexible approach. In this way, TKB finds the most result-oriented solution for any problem. In addition, there is always room for dialogue and TKB works throughout the entire process. TKB is a very flexible, pro-active and reliable collections partner!’
Productive and pleasant collaboration
Nijssen is also positive about the opportunities for interaction. Thanks to TKB’s online service, Cofely’s credit controllers can check and manage the status quo of all the debts on a daily basis. Cofely receives a monthly report showing the results. Rini Nijssen: ‘I meet with my assigned contact person twice a year for an extensive evaluation, but we talk over the phone on a regular basis. Thanks to this frequent and in-depth contact, I have come to know the organization, and its employees, well. The collaboration is not only productive but also very pleasant.’