Eliminating the risks of an international dealer network
Know your customer. It seems simple enough, but for a company that operates worldwide it’s not always self-evident. How do you know exactly who you are dealing with, when potential partners are thousands of miles away?
Toshiba Medical Systems Europe needed to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
For the firm, doing business in Europe is relatively clear-cut, thanks to the laws and regulations that govern its industry in the EU. However, doing business with outside the continent is a skill in itself.
And while Toshiba’s medical equipment is often financed by public money, it cannot do business with governments directly. Instead, it relies on some 70 dealers around the world - with much of its business conducted in Europe, Russia and a large number of ex-Soviet states.
However, the cultural norms and rules around doing business can vary considerably from country to country. In the Netherlands, for example, companies have to register with the Chamber of Commerce. Contrast this with Russia, where there is merely an obligation to register.
Toshiba needed a mechanism in place to help it systematically identify risk in its global dealer network and to ensure it only partners with good and reliable firms. The company turned to Dun & Bradstreet for the insight to make it happen.
Responsible for monitoring and screening every commercial relationship, Monique Diepenhorst-du Burk, Contract Review Manager at Toshiba Medical Systems Europe, now uses D&B’s DNBi online credit management system to centrally manage risk assessment across an extended customer portfolio – in the EU, Russia and beyond.
Logging in at least twice a week, she can review all Toshiba’s dealers, end-users and suppliers in one place. Monique receives instant alerts the moment a customer’s annual figures are updated, if a board member leaves, or a customer is overdue in making a payment. Since medical equipment is expensive, she needs to keep a close eye on any outstanding debts - and that’s easy to do with DNBi.
From an operational standpoint, DNBi delivers additional benefits. Alongside maintaining an accurate database of every dealer, it also lets Toshiba centrally manage the details of all equipment end-users, ensuring its service teams can travel quickly to the right location should problems occur.
Toshiba’s internal affairs department also relies on DNBi – this time to get a clear picture of suppliers and buyers, calling on D&B to assist in investigations should suspicions be raised about a particular party. This means Toshiba can make carefully considered decisions and determine whether or not to do business with the party in question.
More recently, Toshiba has been taking advantage of the additional insights delivered by D&B Onboard, an online tool that streamlines Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and compliance checks. Making it easier and faster to verify that all its dealers – no matter where in the world - meet with current regulatory requirements.
The quality of international data is crucial for Toshiba’s day-to-day operations, and D&B delivers at speed – and on every count. And when Toshiba encounters a company it’s unfamiliar with, it turns to D&B to investigate and deliver the necessary insights it needs within days of requesting a report.
Using D&B Onboard, Toshiba now confidently manages its international dealer network against a background of continually changing regulatory requirements. It can efficiently and quickly undertake screening checks in territories such as Russia or further afield where compliance requirements may not be as robust as those found in the EU.
It also ensures Toshiba stays on top of relatively new phenomena like international sanctions lists - something the company must be constantly on the lookout for.