Protecting cash flow in the import and export market

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Stanley Gibson

In brief

With more than 16 years’ experience of using Coface credit insurance, Stanley Gibson’s Chairman says the personal touch makes all the difference.

Business challenge

One of the UK’s longest-established meat importers and exporters, Stanley Gibson trades in excess of 30,000 tonnes of poultry, beef, pork, lamb and goat each year. From its five offices in the UK and Europe, it imports meat from the Americas, Australia and New Zealand and sells to business customers in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Safe trading has always been a business priority for Stanley Gibson. The company has had a credit insurance policy since 1975 to protect its cash flow and it routinely checks the financial health of customers before they are considered for a credit account. “It’s simple: we won’t offer credit terms to a customer unless we can obtain insurance cover for them,” says company Chairman Rob Bowrey. “If they aren’t insurable, they have to pay for the goods upfront or it’s no deal.”

In 1998, Stanley Gibson were beginning to have concerns about the slow response times of its existing insurance provider and decided to switch to Coface after meeting one of its representatives.

“It was very easy to get up and running with Coface. We gave them a list of our account customers and all the credit limits were in place before we made the transition.”

Rob Bowrey, Chairman Stanley Gibson

Coface solution

Stanley Gibson manages its credit insurance policy through CofaNet, Coface’s secure online system. Rob and his team run monthly checks to ensure each account customer has the right amount of cover. They also obtain 1-2 new credit limits each week using Coface’s unique @rating system which classifies companies within 6 credit limit bands. Stanley Gibson can automatically obtain cover for a buyer up to the level denoted by the @rating or request a higher limit.

The speed and convenience of the @rating system is a plus for Rob Bowrey but he also values the customer service behind the virtual interface: “A lot of insurance is now online but the personal touch is just as important. With Coface there is always the option of talking to someone about limits and they are prepared to be flexible.”

In addition to credit information, the premium paid by Stanley Gibson includes insurance cover and debt collection. Rob notes that Coface has settled the four claims made by Stanley Gibson in the last five years and praises the effectiveness of Coface’s collections agents in chasing slow payers.

“Our payment terms are between 30 and 50 days and we generally report late payments to Coface after 80 days or when we know there is a problem,” he says. “For example, we had a regular customer who usually settled their bill at 40 days. After 50 days had passed, we reported the debt because we wanted the customer to know we were taking the matter seriously. Sure enough, Coface’s collections team was able to apply the necessary pressure and collect the payment for us.

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