About: Headquartered in the US, with operations around the world, Afton Chemical Corporation develops and manufactures petroleum additives including driveline, engine oils, fuels, industrials and metalworking additives. Afton is a subsidiary of NewMarket Corporation, a firm concentrating on speciality chemicals.
The Challenge: Afton has significantly expanded its presence in India in recent years, in tandem with the country’s rapidly developing economy. The firm’s primary focus in India is marketing and distributing petroleum and lubricant additive products, with operations in Mumbai and Hyderabad.
As Afton deals with large amounts of imports into India, the country’s highly regulated environment means it faces substantial challenges in managing cross-border and tax payments. These include:
- Manual collation and submission of supporting documents to banks before cut-off times, across both operational locations
- Lengthy processing times and lack of visibility into transaction status
- Maintaining a single point of visibility and control for transaction flows
Afton was looking for an automated solution that would allow it to manage the huge volume of documentation across its two locations in a better way, and reduce reliance on highly manual processes.
The J.P. Morgan Solution: J.P. Morgan introduced Afton to the Virtual Branch solution. It is a platform that allows the firm to manage cross-border and tax payments digitally. It fully integrates with its existing banking platform. The solution enabled Afton to:
- Upload and submit all supporting documents for cross-border and tax payments directly via the Virtual Branch portal
- Track and trace documents submitted for payments using unique reference numbers
- View detailed audit trails of each transaction in real time
- Track payment (MT103) messages sent to the beneficiary bank
- Share statutory payment details via a structured input screen
- Download acknowledgement receipts directly from the portal as soon as payments are processed
The Virtual Branch is accessible via J.P. Morgan Access®, which means Afton employees can leverage existing user IDs, passwords and tokens to log on to the platform. The firm can also create different user-level entitlements based on specific user needs.
The Result: The Virtual Branch has allowed Afton to automate cross-border and tax payments while also improving operational efficiencies through:
- The reduced need to manually collate and share paper documents across both locations
- Improved processing and turnaround times by eliminating the need for staff to visit physical bank branches for document submission
- Enhanced visibility of workflows and transaction status to allow quicker resolution when discrepancies arise
TMI View: Some of the best ideas are the simplest, and this is one solution that fits that bill. Handling documentation manually is a major pain point for most businesses. Simply by automating the sharing of documentation, the Virtual Branch application sets up a number of other benefits for users, and ultimately for the business.