Choosing the best option for connecting to the SWIFT Network is a major decision for a corporate treasury department. During Sysco Corporation’s (Sysco) evaluation process, they discussed the best way for them to connect, which was to build their own infrastructure, use Alliance Lite 2 or a SWIFT Service Bureau. At the end of their process, it was decided that the best route for their goals and budget was to connect via a SWIFT Service Bureau.
Sysco issued a global RFP to find a vendor for connecting to SWIFT. Vendors that responded to the RFP had the capability to implement the connection for Sysco. What they found out through their evaluation process is that for most of the Service Bureau vendors, SWIFT Connectivity is less than 10% of their business. During the evaluation of Axletree Solutions (Axletree), Sysco found out that our core business is SWIFT connectivity with additional services being SWIFT-related professional services. All vendors claim how great they are. The best vendors though have their clients to confirm those claims of providing superior service and support.
Below is an interview completed with Carrie Reyna (CR), Director of Treasury Operations at Sysco Corporation by Benjamin Haws (BH), Director of Marketing at Axletree Solutions.
BH: What should a treasury department look for when evaluating a SWIFT Service Bureau?
CR: Customer service, system availability, a good disaster recovery plan, maintenance times which make sense with our business operations and occur when files from banks are not being transmitted.
BH: Once contracts were signed, how long did it take for Axletree to implement a SWIFT connection with Sysco?
CR: It took about 6 weeks for us to go live with you. You just said “When are you ready to start – just give us a few days’ notice.” Nothing with you was ever delayed from the Axletree end. We had more interaction with our banks than Axletree.
BH: How does Axletree add Value to Sysco’s treasury operations?
CR: Our goal was to stop having Host-to-Host (H2H) connections with banks and use SWIFT for any transmissions from our banks to Sysco. With our H2H connections, if an SFTP server was down, the only option was to call the bank and have them resend the file. This process could take about 30 to 45 minutes. Getting the right person to talk to at the bank was always an issue. With Axletree, if a server goes down, files are resent by Axletree without having to go through the banks. Currently, we use our SWIFT Connectivity to send and receive BAI, NACHA, ACH Return, MT940, MT942 and MT101 files. When a problem occurs now, instead of calling the banks, we call Axletree and our problem is solved.
BH: In a conversation with our Executive Vice President, you rated our support a 10 out of 10, can you elaborate on that point?
CR: Axletree works fast, getting issues resolved quickly and does not need to be babysat. When our team has an issue, we make one call and the issue is resolved, making it so we don’t have to follow up with you.
BH: Looking back, at the first talk about SWIFT, options were given to choose between a Service Bureau and SWIFT services. Why choose a service bureau?
CR: Service and support. Failure of messages, for any reason, results in Sysco calling the 24-7 Axletree support line. You already have all the files and have figured out the solution by the time we call.
BH: What lessons have you learned?
CR: No Suggestions for the Axletree Team. For my team, we learned that using FileAct was the most efficient way for us to communicate with the banks.
When evaluating your potential SWIFT vendor, it is best practice to see how well their past implementations went as well as talking with their clients to prove their claims. Since the banks must work with the Vendor as well, any bank recommendations will ensure a successful implementation of your SWIFT Connectivity. Another advantage of using a Service Bureau like Axletree is the added solutions that they bring to the table. When files do not get properly formatted from your internal systems, a next-gen Service Bureau will be able to help you with the integration and translation of your files. Run a swift treasury with Axletree’s SWIFT Service Bureau.
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