Razel-Bec: how to manage guarantees in a global civil engineering company?

For a global civil engineering company working on construction sites worldwide, it is advisable to take guarantees in order to get liquidity through advance payments and to avoid holdback amounts, which can be retained up to one year after the end of the works. This task can quickly become a nightmare.

“By its very nature, our business in civil engineering requires at least two guarantees for each project”, explains Virginie Gilbon, treasurer of the Razel-Bec Group. If we also take into account counter-guarantees – issued among civil engineering companies – and all the construction sites in a dozen countries, we can understand the extent of the task performed by Virginie Gilbon’s team. Altogether, it is about centralizing at least 1,500 advance payment guarantees, performance guarantees, holdbacks and counter-guarantees: a real puzzle when it comes to the calculation of the outstanding amount.

To add even more complexity, the guarantee management process is built around an Access database, which can only be accessed through the servers in the headquarters. As a result, it is really hard for the nine subsidiaries that issue guarantees in the Group to gather all the information required.

Looking for a global guarantee management solution

On this basis, at the end of 2015, the Razel-Bec Group decided to adopt a global solution built around a single database. “We thought at first to develop our own tool internally, but this proved to be complicated and expensive. Therefore, we analyzed the different solutions available on the market”, recalls the treasurer of the Group.

From the outset, Razel-Bec had to face a primary challenge: finding a tool supporting counter-guarantee management, an essential requirement for their business. “We found heavy, hard-to-deploy solutions and other tools that did not support counter-guarantees. Finance Active was the only publisher to offer an ergonomic solution suitable for our needs”, tells Virginie Gilbon.

A guarantee management software solution in less than three months

In December 2015, the Fairways Guarantees project got off to a good start at Razel-Bec. Finance Active’s experts started adapting the tool to the specific needs of the civil engineering company: “Our organization is composed of business units, which are grouped into “agencies” or accounting entities. In addition to counter-guarantee management, we needed this distinction to be taken into account in the tool”, clarifies the treasurer.

Once this step was completed, a new phase involving Finance Active’s and Razel-Bec’s teams was launched: “We imported into Fairways Guarantees all the historic data in Excel format. The big challenge was then to check data integrity and accuracy. For such a large project, the process proved to be extremely quick and smooth”, tells Virginie Gilbon.

Then it was time to train the users. Four members from Virginie Gilbon’s team got trained, before extending the project to about 50 users of Razel-Bec: “The deployment of Fairways Guarantees was extremely quick. The tool is ergonomic and easy to use, so much that we didn’t have many questions during the training sessions”, recalls the treasurer. The solution was finally deployed in February 2016, which is less than three months after the launch of the project.

Centralizing and optimizing guarantee management

One year later, the Group has already observed significant results: “Today, we gain a lot of time in our daily activities. We edit reports in just a few clicks and we can monitor bank fees at a glance, a radical change with respect to the complex calculations we had to perform before”, tells Virginie Gilbon with satisfaction. In addition, all subsidiaries and users can now easily collaborate with each other: “We share a common database, we get email notifications for each guarantee flow and we no longer need to switch among tools to get information”, explains the treasurer. These positive results appeal to the parent company of Razel-Bec as well: in fact, the Fayat Group is also interested in implementing Fairways Guarantees.

Business sector(s)
  • Civil engineering
  • Guarantee management
  • Fairways Guarantees
  • Smooth collaboration among subsidiaries
  • Time savings in guarantee management
  • Centralized solution for the group