Could treasury processes become as real-time as transactions?
In April 2021, Delivery Hero broke another record: processing 100 orders per second on a single day. That’s 100 servings of pizza, pasta, sushi, schnitzel and curry — whatever hungry customers desired — per second. In the first quarter of 2021, Delivery Hero handled more than 650 million food orders overall. Orders that were cooked in local restaurants, processed through the Delivery Hero platform, ordered, and paid for by hungry customers across about 50 markets.
These numbers tell an impressive success story that Delivery Hero has written, over recent years. Founded in Berlin in 2011, the start-up grew from 12 to more than 29,000 employees globally. Today, Delivery Hero is the largest food network outside China and has been a member of the DAX-30 since 2020.
Traditional treasury approaches reached their limits at Delivery Hero
All those millions of food orders worldwide, every day, make for a significant amount of money coming in together with a large amount of corresponding payment transactions being carried out. For the treasury function at Delivery Hero, the great success of the business also created great challenges, because traditional approaches and systems could hardly keep up with growth figures on this scale.
"We found that the existing software solutions could no longer meet our requirements for mass processing, automation and transparency. So, we worked with our long-time advisors from SAP and EY to determine how we could get an innovative and efficient treasury solution deployed," says Thomas Boully, Senior Director Finance Systems at Delivery Hero.
Christian Schmahl, Treasury Director at Delivery Hero, explains: "On the one hand, there is the incredibly high and steadily growing volume of transactions themselves. We must keep this in mind. On the other hand, payments always involve risks that need to be addressed. The technological infrastructure must grow with the business."
A tall order: An innovative and ambitious solution
“Developing and implementing an innovative and ambitious treasury solution like this was a tall order for the team at EY and for our alliance partner SAP," says Thomas Schmidt, Head of SAP Treasury Consulting GSA, Ernst & Young GmbH. Schmidt and his team specialize in adapting SAP solutions specifically to customer environments and challenges.
"Delivery Hero's business model would push even mature finance departments in large corporations to the limits of their treasury management performance. It is even more remarkable that Delivery Hero has sought not only a suitable solution, but also an innovative and ambitious one," says Schmidt.
A dynamic digital system for a dynamic delivery environment
Unification, integration, automation — these are the pillars of Delivery Hero's treasury function transformation. The approach was to unify existing systems and data landscapes in an overarching design and take advantage of all the possibilities that technology offers.
"With growth rates of approximately 100%, we always have to ask ourselves whether we are responding to economic growth with additional headcount or by investments in technology to keep up pace and momentum," says Seda Kavaklipinar, Senior Manager Finance Systems Delivery Hero. "In the case of our treasury function, we wanted to implement this comprehensive digitalization strategy directly, in as many process areas as possible," adds Gerald Taylor, Senior Manager Treasury at Delivery Hero.
To achieve this, Delivery Hero first had to create a strong foundation. "The success of any treasury project ultimately depends on the capabilities of the banking partners and the variety of banks and accounts to be integrated," says Schmahl.
To lay the right foundation, Delivery Hero's treasury department developed a global banking strategy in 2018. As a result, the previously highly diversified banking landscape was consolidated into five core banks. These could then be integrated into a new payment infrastructure.
Based on an existing SAP S/4HANA oneERP system, the EY team, the finance systems and treasury departments helped to implement the entire spectrum of treasury applications from SAP step by step. "The core requirements were cash management, risk management, payment automation, liquidity planning and treasury analytics. So, a wide range of treasury applications from SAP were included," says Kavaklipinar.
The recipe for success: Openness to innovation
Delivery Hero successfully introduced the latest innovation of SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) for treasury. This makes it possible to record payment flows worldwide and plan analytically. As a result, both transparency and centralization have increased.
"In principle, this has paved the way for the provision of cash management dashboards with real-time data. The management board can use this to make faster, better decisions in a dynamic and competitive food environment, far beyond increasing compliance," explains Schmidt.
One system. Constant extensions
Today, the entire system is based on a hybrid solution consisting of SAP S/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud. Further adjustments to this system structure are currently being introduced. For example, with foreign exchange management, Delivery Hero is in the process of tying incoming 360T foreign exchange trading transactions to SAP S/4HANA using SAP trading platform integration. The use of bi-directional communication to transfer trading requests to 360T is also in progress. In this way, the entire action cycle can be processed automatically, at an early stage. In addition, existing requirements for speed, efficiency and compliance are fully met, and manual transmission errors are avoided.
System-based transparency and security aspects were particularly important in the overall structure because enabled compliance standards to be scalable throughout continuous acquisitions and expanding business activities.
Communication with banks, payments to restaurants, monitoring of cash flows: Delivery Hero wanted the complete package
In addition to compliance, the most important functional element of the treasury solution developed for Delivery Hero was the automation of processes to banks and restaurants. The challenge here was to create standardizations to avoid manual effort later on, when processing payments.
"Given the huge payment transaction volumes and the number of different countries, we have achieved a high level of automation and standardization. We have also filled existing functional gaps in the relocation of payments from bank portals to SAP-based advanced payment management and bank communication management solutions used by Delivery Hero. These are good examples of continuous improvements that Delivery Hero and our partners are working on,” says Boully.
"We have managed to map out the entire cash cycle in the SAP S/4HANA system and thus make use of the latest automation standards," adds Schmidt.
Setting the pace instead of keeping pace - even during a pandemic
Even after many months of cooperation, there is still plenty of innovative energy in the collaboration between Delivery Hero, SAP and EY. The latest SAP solutions are tested in current pilot projects and continuously improved. In so doing, they create additional value for other SAP customers. Delivery Hero is also considering cloud-based solutions so different functions can benefit quickly from new releases.
"No one in the sector has seen such a complete and innovative payment platform. When it comes to treasury, Delivery Hero is simply setting standards. We are proud Emmanuel Thomassin, Delivery Hero’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and his team have entrusted us with this forward-looking and innovative task," says Schmidt.
The project shows how technology can be the lever to transform treasury into a strategic-analytical consulting aspect of the CFO’s role, while creating significant benefits for the operational business.
"Even in uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to implement modern and scalable solutions through the use of EY and SAP, which increase transparency and security for us. At the same time, we were able to take the efficiency of our cash forecasting as well as the liquidity management, which is so important in the crisis, to a new level. In this way, we don’t just keep up, but also determine, ourselves, the pace in our market,” says Christian Schmahl, Treasury Director at Delivery Hero.
Emmanuel Thomassin, CFO of Delivery Hero, agrees: "I am very grateful for the great commitment and results of the joint team from Delivery Hero, EY and SAP. In our business, intelligent, scalable solutions are a competitive factor against which we, as a globally active company, are ideally positioned."
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