Decision-making: how QIAGEN applies data to emerging markets

QIAGEN treasury chief Thomas Neidert tells Simon Caulkin why his firm needed a hands-on approach to gathering data about emerging economies

Molecular biology instrumentation company QIAGEN has a footprint in EMEA and Asia-Pacific. The $1.3 billion revenue company’s treasury function was established in 2008, well into the company’s 30-year history, following an acquisition that brought a debt of $1bn into the business.

For QIAGEN, operating in emerging markets while streamlining cash collection and treasury processes across the entire organisation necessitated a far more hands-on approach to gathering data on local regulations and banking services than merely fact-finding about them from a distance.

Thomas Neidert, vice president and head of global treasury, describes a high degree of reliance on the experience of people on the ground. “In regulated markets, especially China, it would be extremely difficult to effect certain payments,” he says.

“We decided that for Asia-Pacific we needed to opt for one bank only and then only deal with one electronic banking system.”

What the company did with its local banking decisions in Asia-Pacific and particularly in China was to rely on the local knowledge and judgement of staff on the ground.

Neidert describes, for example, how he would narrow down decisions on banks and branches by asking staff which bank they would choose if they had to choose between just two banks.

“What we did better in APAC than in EMEA was to talk to colleagues to find out what we really needed and to really understand the local issues,” he says.

Even so, when operating in a highly regulated environment, there are hurdles. “When you’re dealing with a bank with many branches [we were advised to] take care to avoid anything that could be considered regulatory shopping,” he says.

About the author

Simon Caulkin is a freelance writer specialising in business management

Further reading

Read our main feature on data in decision-making

Find out how British American Tobacco uses data in Africa

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