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Treasury and Blockchain?

In treasury management no two days are alike. The Treasury department manages the Mercedes-Benz Group's cash flows around the globe, providing the company with sufficient liquid funds and arranging refinancing, including risk assessment. It's also about the continuous development and digitalization of the tools. Jan Hofbauer works in Treasury at the Group and has special responsibility for digitalization topics, including Blockchain and workflow automation. What’s the connection between the two? Jan reveals the connection in the interview.

Hi, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.
My name is Jan and I am 27 years old. I learned about Treasury during one of the practical assignments in my dual study program at the company here. And I went back there after graduation.

To Treasury? Explain to us what the name means.
Treasury is an English word that describes a place where money is kept and released from. The Treasury Department controls the Mercedes-Benz Group's cash flows around the world, analyzes and acts on financial risks and ensures that enough liquid funds are available at all times. For this purpose, a total of around 350 employees work in many important international financial centers.

That really sounds very interesting. What have you done so far in your career?
To start with, I worked in Cash Management, which is a department that takes care of the relationships with the banks. My job was to manage contract negotiations and the opening of accounts with major banks around the world.
After about a year, I was given the opportunity to lead another project along with my daily work. This involved selecting and implementing a global payment system. In 2017, I switched to my current department, Treasury Process Management. In this department, we work on optimizing existing processes and implementing automation initiatives.
Starting this year, I have special responsibility for the worldwide Digital Transformation in Treasury. This means that I investigate and review digital trends, programs, systems, and solutions that have the potential to make our daily work simpler and more efficient.

Can you give us examples of a digital transformation within Treasury?
Probably the most notable example is the implementation of a promissory note based on Blockchain technology. But we are still doing a lot of testing. This means that we are checking whether and how Blockchain can be used effectively and efficiently.
In Treasury, there are many other innovative topics besides Blockchain. We recently had a workshop in which we developed concrete application cases for robots in Treasury. We have had “Pepper” (a humanoid robot) open our town hall meeting. We are currently checking if, whether and how we can continue using this technology. Along with this exciting work, we are also in the process of implementing workflow automation. This means that, in future, it will be possible to approve financial transactions in an audit-compliant manner by clicking on an app. That app would eliminate the previous paper-based process.

Why did you choose to work at Mercedes-Benz?
While applying for the dual study program, I was invited to assessment centers by a number of companies. But I had the best feeling here. Everything just felt right: the positive mood, the support, the atmosphere, the process and the favorable terms during the study program. Another plus was the opportunity to complete practical assignments and semesters abroad. For example, I was in Budapest and China during my study program.

What exactly did you do in China?
I had the opportunity to be involved in product launches and to learn the essentials of marketing. I was only 19 at the time. For me, who was fresh out of high school, this was very exciting and eventful. In China, I also had a chance to learn a lot about the culture and to acquire skills that I can still draw on today.

Please tell us something about the Treasury team.
We have a very open and honest culture. I appreciate the fact that my boss gives me the freedom I need to explore new approaches and to make decisions by myself. In our department you don’t see the usual hierarchical structures. Shared activities like the “Treasury ski weekend” or the “Treasury hiking weekend”, for example, are just as important to us as after-work events. And I like the fact that we often have international colleagues working with us in Stuttgart.

Your offices are designed in line with the open space principle. Without permanent workstations. How do you find this working environment?
I enjoy working here. Because we don’t have fixed workstations, we often end up sitting next to different colleagues. It makes communication between each other much easier. It can also happen that you are sitting next to the head of department. Every employee has their own locker for their personal belongings.

Do you have any vacancies at the moment?
Jobs are advertised on a regular basis. Anyone interested in looking for a vacancy can do so by searching with the search term Treasury in our current Jobs.

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