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If you wanted to pick a company less well suited to centralized treasury, you couldn’t come up with a better candidate than WinWholesale Inc. in Dayton, Ohio. A $2.6 billion distributor of plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning equipment and supplies, WinWholesale isn’t just decentralized–the company is essentially an organization of 452 separate, locally owned and entrepreneurially run businesses. But for Ward Allen, Win’s vice president of finance, getting the efficiencies from centralization and automation of treasury processes was important enough to attempt to jump those hurdles. “We want our guys moving merchandise into the back of pick-up trucks, not taking checks to the bank,” Allen asserts. “But we have a unique structure, and no off-the-shelf technology would work for us. Everything has to reconcile back to the local level. So we built our own, which gives us the flexibility to build out our corporate structure our way.”

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