Aggregate Industries (AI) is part of the LafargeHolcim group, the world’s leading company in the building materials sector. It has more than 350 operations across the UK, Channel Islands and Northern Europe. Employing more than 4,200 people, AI quarries, manufactures and supplies a range of materials used in construction and infrastructure projects.
AI was looking for an innovative payments and working capital solution that would allow the company to:
· Drive business growth
· Accelerate cashflow
· Create competitive differentiation for AI within the building materials sector
· Be more cost effective
At the same time, any solution would need to satisfy strict audit, legal and compliance criteria. With this in mind, AI required a product that was innovative, simple to implement, efficient and could be easily marketed by its commercial team
“The American Express team quickly understood our business and the market we were targeting and knew what was required to launch this product.”
Phil Rice, Aggregate Industries UK
AI partnered with the working capital division of American Express Global Commercial Payments, which was able to offer a separate unsecured line of credit to AI’s customers, independent of their existing bank lending. The solution enabled AI customers to extend payment out to 90 days, considerably longer than the conventional arrangement with their customers. AI offered this solution to a select number of creditworthy customers.
Thanks to the more flexible payment terms offered by American Express, AI was able to attract new customers whilst at the same time increasing its sales to existing customers. The additional line of credit also acted as a point of differentiation from AI’s competitors, which allowed them to expand their customer base. In an industry where geographical location often determines choice of supplier, AI could give potential customers another good reason to purchase from the Company.
American Express worked collaboratively with AI to produce an innovative product that accelerated cash generation at AI two months ahead of plan. The American Express product required no set-up costs and the flexibility of the solution differentiated AI from its competitors. Furthermore, American Express was able to provide a seamless transition; there were no changes required to the existing invoice process at AI or for the customer. Ultimately, the solution had a positive impact on AI’s sales: sales to customers on the scheme saw a monthly increase ranging between 5% and 7.5% compared to the same period the previous year.
The innovative nature of this project was recognised by the 2016 CICM British Credit Awards, where AI’s work with American Express won the ‘Project of the Year’ award.