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Credit Q&A - Mitch Erickson

Director, Cash Management – Yazaki North America

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Novi, Michigan. I attended Michigan State University where I earned a B.A. in Finance in 2006. While I was there, I had an internship at Federal-Mogul, and began my career there after graduation.

How did you first enter the field of Credit & Collections?

While I was at Federal-Mogul, I worked in purchase finance for three years, and then moved into a new business unit in a finance role. After three months in this position, due to issues in the economic environment in 2009, I was downsized. I was retained at the company, and ended up taking on an accounts receivable role as a financial analyst, and that is how I began my career in credit and collections.

What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?

I am currently the director of cash management at Yazaki North America. I am responsible for North and Central America A/R functions, FX and copper hedging, Mexico treasury, and cash flow management for the region.

Can you describe your typical day?

My day starts at 5:30am.  For my outstanding wife and I, it’s a mad dash to get the kids ready for their day, first, and then we begin ours. I’m currently working hybrid, and am in the office 3 days a week. My first action is to review any meetings I have for the day so I can plan my time efficiently and prepare for each agenda. After that, I look at the current day’s dealings and any fires that need to be put out. I then speak with the management team and tasks will vary depending on the day. I also check the peso rate each day for possible buying opportunities and look at collections issues that may require escalation.

What would you say are your greatest accomplishments in this industry?

I’m proud of consistently holding a +$600M AR at 3% or less past due. Also, I created a new policy that adopted an interest charge (based on WACC) to bill our customers if they’re past due. This penalty is now used as a global policy at Yazaki. Also, we’ve maintained nearly $0 in write offs over the past three years.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It’s hard for me to say exactly, but I hope to still have responsibility over areas that touch cash and AR. I never would turn down an opportunity and I am always looking to expand my knowledge.  My dad always taught me that if the opportunity is good…take it.  You will be able to figure the rest out once you get going.  When taking on a new challenge, I like to think that I am comfortable being uncomfortable at this point in my career.

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?

The best advice I can give is to treat everyone around you with respect and dignity. You never know who you might be working with down the road and good relationships are an asset.  Don’t ever take your team or their efforts for granted.  Their success and happiness is the foundation for everything that happens in the future.  Also, you always need to be adaptable, there is always going to be a problem or new challenge around the corner, so it’s best to be ready for it!