Tracy Rosenbach Named 2016 CMA Credit Executive of the Year

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Tracy Rosenbach, Financial Services Manager for Silgan Containers, has been named 2016 CMA Credit Executive of the Year, at a ceremony which took place at the recent CreditScape Spring Summit and Annual Meeting, Powered by United TranzActions. This award is given to the credit professional who stands above others, who is willing to help out at any moment, which defines Tracy’s role with CMA.  She has been in credit for over 18 years, has served on the CMA board for 7 years and is the incoming chairperson. Additionally, she is Chair of the Membership Task Force, whose mission is to work with CMA staff to create meaningful services for members, and actively participates for the good of all of CMA’s members.  Professionally, she has also been successful in obtaining her CCE certification and who is engaged in many functions for CMA and NACM.

Congratulations to Tracy Rosenbach, and we look forward to a great year with you as the new Chair.

Kimberly Wagenman named CMA 2015 Student of the Year

Kimberly Wagenman Named CMA 2015 Student of the Year. Pictured (left to right): CMA Chair Melissa Kobus, Wagenman, Pam Craik
Kimberly Wagenman Named CMA 2015 Student of the Year. Pictured (left to right): CMA Chair Melissa Kobus, Wagenman, Pam Craik

Kimberly Wagenman was named as CMA’s 2015 Student of the Year at the 2015 Credit Management Association Annual Meeting on April 9. Wagenman is an enthusiastic supporter of continuing education. She has a BS in Business; she is currently working to obtain her CBA and will be attending Credit Congress this year for the first time. Congratulations to Kimberly Wagenman!

Proud to be a CMA Member, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I am honored to have served as the CMA Chairman of the Board for the last year and as my chairmanship ends this month, I would like to share my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the membership. It was a great privilege to serve on behalf of the entire membership. My goal was to provide guidance, insight and enthusiasm to the membership and to the credit industry as a whole. I am proud to be an active volunteer for CMA.

Sharing ideas and processes are important to me and I very much enjoyed creating my Chairman chat every month. I hope that you found little tidbits of information that you could use in your every day credit life. I believe in learning every day and hope this contributed to you learning something new. Education will always be a personal top goal. Learning is power!

As I complete my service, I challenge you to get involved with your association. CMA gets bigger and stronger when its members give back and are engaged. Look to volunteer on a committee, participate in your industry credit group or attend a networking function. Share your ideas and best practices. Quite frankly, this week is the CMA Annual Meeting, if you are not already registered, do so today. It will be the best $99 you will spend for an entire day of learning and networking. Please connect with me at the annual meeting; I really cannot wait to have a little “Credit Paradise”!

I appreciate your time in reading these posts. If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to email or call me. Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Chairman of the Board.

I Love My Credit Industry Group, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Last week someone asked me why my company joined CMA. I did not have to think long about why we became a member of CMA, it is all about the access to resources. The number 1 reason we joined was the electrical credit industry group. I have been a group member for over 15 years. The other credit professionals in the group at that time were wonderful, excellent credit managers in their own right, that group made me want to get involved.

I learn so much from participating in the group. I can ask questions and not feel uncomfortable. I am exposed to best practices that I can bring back and implement immediately. I developed friendships with people who understood what I face every day. A commitment of two hours every month helps me become a better credit manager, helps my company protect their assets and allows me to contribute to the growth of the credit profession.

Every month I have my credit industry group meeting on my calendar. It is not something I can afford to miss. I make the time to attend, it’s important to me, my company and the other group members. Contribution to and participation in the group is the key to a successful experience. My contribution is submitting our aging report every month so that the group has access to the most current data available. My participation is coming prepared to talk about new ideas, give insight on processes, and discuss upcoming educational opportunities.

One of the most significant parts of the group is the submission of aging information. The aging goes into the CMA database for access on anscers and in group reports. The contribution of your data is so very important, as it makes the meetings so much more valuable to deal with real-world problems. If you are not submitting your data today, please find a way to do it. There are contacts at CMA that can assist. Talk to your IT person to find an easy and simple way to download the data.

I love my credit industry group. I respect the credit managers that are a part of my group. I hope you find the same enjoyment with your group. If you are not part of an industry credit group today, ask why not. Contact CMA to find a group or even better, create a group for your specific industry needs. Please let me know if I can answer any questions about CMA’s credit industry groups.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Finding Hidden Gems in Your Organization, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

The role of credit is ever changing.   What credit professionals handle on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is challenging and can sometimes feel overwhelming.  The requests from your customers, internally and externally, require you to reprioritize at any minute of the day.  What happens when the requests outweigh the resources available?  How do you handle the workload?  What steps have you taken to help balance your day?

I recognize that every company is different, what is a priority at one may not be a priority at another.  As the workload changes, have you taken a moment to rank your tasks by importance?  Are there tasks that you do as a matter of course “it’s always been done this way”, that are no longer really required.  Have you asked those who you are supporting, if the action is still necessary?  Eliminating redundant or outdated activities will easily add time to your day.

A challenge that I face with regularity is keeping up with technology.  Our customers ask us to support any number of different platforms for billing services and customer research.  Having the time and knowledge to provide excellent customer satisfaction is important, so I engage weekly with our IT group.  They have strong technical skills and have helped us out of a bind in a number of cases.  They too lack resources but I have found a good relationship has been mutually beneficial.

Sometimes there are those special projects that seem to come out of nowhere.  What about those projects that have been on your to-do list since last summer?  I have found resources outside the credit department to be extremely helpful depending on the project.  I have engaged sales support and front office staff to assist in getting the job done.  They welcome the new experience and opportunity to be involved.  They become part of the credit department extended family.  Who knows, they might bloom into the newest credit team member.

Streamlining your main activities and prioritizing; partnering with other departments; and developing resources outside of your specific team will help in balancing the ebbs and flows of the credit dept.  Can you too find hidden gems in your organization?

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

How Can You Give Back to the Association, and Get Something in Return?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I find that the more you give the more you get back.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s in smaller increments.  In the credit world however, sometimes it can be hard to give.  You never know if your customer will send the payment your way, if the sales rep will get that RA or credit issued.  If you give too much, will you be able to meet your objectives?  Well, I have found a way to give back to CMA and its members that actually helps me to be more comfortable with my credit decisions.

Anixter has been a long-standing member with CMA.  We had always participated in the credit industry groups, submitting accounts for discussion and being involved.  In the last 5 years or so, we started to submit our aging too.  It was a great decision!  We are able to have our data available monthly for the members to pull electronically.  Having fresh data is so important in making an informed decision.

I download a report the first week of the month and submit it to the CMA data group.  They do all the rest.  They make sure the data gets into the anscers system quickly.  All members who pull a credit report from CMA have the immediate data at their finger tips.  If someone pulls an RFI, they will see the trade line from that month.  It is great!

I am making a call to action for all CMA members in 2015!  Start the New Year off by giving back to the association: submit your aging!  It is simple to submit the report in an Excel, CSV or tab delimited form. Simply send it via email at lwong@emailcma.org.   When you give to CMA, you will reap the rewards tenfold.  You will be able to make a solid credit decision and you will be helping other credit professionals too!

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com.

 

To Ship to Not to Ship – Should a Credit Manager Be Santa Claus or the Grinch?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

It’s December, the last month of the fiscal calendar for most companies.  There is a lot of pressure to make sure your results are strong.  The sales team wants to have as many orders as possible go out the door. You need to have as much money as possible come in but your customers are having cash flow concerns, and it’s not making your job any easier. What is a credit manager to do?

It might be easy to just say ship the material and say “Happy Holidays.”  It will help increase sales and will make your past due percentage smaller and possibly improve your DSO.  The orders will help your customer complete the job they are trying to finish before the holidays.  Your sales manager will be happy as that will increase their bonus payout for the month, no coal in their stocking this year.  You can collect those funds in January.  However, is this really in the best interest of the company?  Are there other options that might secure the order, entice your customer to pay you sooner or can you just bring in the cash?

In my credit experience, I have worked with a lot of contractors.  We ask questions about the order and find out if this is material that is being used to improve a particular piece of property, if it is we will ask for a job sheet.   With that information, we create a job account to secure our transactions either through lien or bond rights.  There is a level of comfort when we have a job account: we know that if there is a payment issue, we can reach out to the owner or the general contractor for their assistance.  If I am questioning if an order can go out the door, I will always ask, “Can we secure it?”

All credit professionals are trying to be paid before other suppliers.  Providing excellent customer service helps as the customer is more willing to pay you first but that may not get the job done.  Have you ever tried to offer a one-time discount for a large payment?  Have you asked the customer if they can dip into their line of credit?  In the construction industry, you can ask for a joint pay agreement, when they get paid by their customer, you’ll get paid at the same time via a two-party check.  We are all leery about accepting a credit card payment, but is that an option you can offer?  Being creative is a key asset to success in credit. Find a way to get the order out the door and to collect the funds.

Your goal within the credit department is to maximize sales by managing risk and minimizing write offs.  This is the same throughout the year but even more important at the end of the year.  So how do you make that decision to ship or not to ship?  Are you going to be Santa or the Grinch?  My suggestion, pull out your red bag of tools & tricks and surprise the sales team, your boss and your customer and show them that Santa does really exist and find a way to accept the order and get paid.

I wish you all the very best during the holiday season.  If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

Chair’s Message: How to Spot Fraud, by Melissa Kobus

In today’s connected world, fraud is an epidemic that can hurt any company, big or small, and it’s becoming more common.

In my company, we recently were hit with some large fraud both with “phony” PO’s and stolen credit cards.  As credit managers, make sure that you are diligent about watching for the red flags so that we can stop these before we take a hit.  If something does not smell right, look right, etc. – ASK your credit analyst and investigate further.

Please pay attention to the following details when accepting orders (on terms or credit cards):

  • No contact except via email
  • Phone number is from outside the area or linked to Magic Jack phone
  • Urgency of getting a quote or in shipping material (must have it air freight today)
  • Email address is outside the normal address (gmail and yahoo too)
  • Reluctance to complete online forms
  • Typos and misprints on pre-printed information
  • Material type and quantity is out of the ordinary (hard drives, projectors, testers, etc)
  • Material has a high copper content and seems out of the ordinary for a credit card purchase
  • Shipment going to a different location or a location outside of their territory  (Use google earth to research ship-to address)
  • Shipment made close to a border town
  • Credit card number and name does not match the way the account is setup

Our best defense against fraud is a strong front line, so please make sure to keep your eyes open and ask questions, make phone calls, do the research.  We can continue to stop these thieves from hitting your company.

It is important to make sure everyone on your team gets this information.

What measures are your companies taking to prevent fraud? We welcome your feedback.

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com