Supply chain finance is an important but often underrated aspect of supply chain management. At its core, supply chain management is the management of the flow of material / services, data and money through a network of assets from the point of origin to the point of final consumption (and back). Natural disasters, geo-political crisis and financial crisis faced by the world over the past decade have forced companies to move away from only optimizing their supply chains to making them more resilient. For a supply chain to be truly resilient, all risks associated with the asset base managing the flow (i.e. the material & services, data and money) must be negotiated intelligently, keeping in mind that each one represents a point of failure or a point of opportunity.
Industries are habituated to ignore the significance of supply chain financing. While there has been a lot of collaboration between different constituents of supply chains, they usually center on inventory. However inventory and finance are intrinsically linked; increased players in the supply chain machinery is directly proportionate to the increased complexity in the financing of the process. This is especially true in a country like India, where the number of intermediaries, in many cases outnumbering the actual value addition points, poses a complex problem from the paradigm of supply chain finance and more importantly supply chain resiliency.
As with anything in a complex supply chain, the bulk of the power resides in a few constituents (maybe the retailer or the manufacturer depending upon the specifics of the value chain). These companies understandably look out for their own interests especially when it comes to supply chain finance. Though concepts like JIT (just in time) inventory and quick turnaround times from order-to-delivery have reduced inventory levels held drastically, most companies still hold onto the traditional 30-45-60 day of credit terms with their suppliers. This puts incredible financial stress on the supplier which in the worst case manifests in poor quality of supply. In the long run, this increases the total cost of ownership for the company, i.e. investment in more stringent QC processes, returns, disruption to the manufacturing process, supplier switching costs etc. Applying the same principles of collaborative thinking to supply chain finance will not only make the overall chain more resilient but also optimize the flows and pass on efficiencies in the long run to the end consumer.
In today’s business environment where “share holder value” is no longer a buzz word but the focus of every corporate board of directors, it might be wishful thinking to expect companies to share their margins or reduce days of credit to suppliers in the interest of collaboration. This is where a third party financial institution plays an important role. By providing liquidity to the supplier on the basis of the credit umbrella provided by the bigger company, the addition of the third party financial institution creates a win-win across all stakeholders involved. This is even more critical in the case of small and medium sized enterprises, which at this point are forced to spend only a fraction of their efforts on innovation and growth.
While some large corporates do have some form of supplier financing initiatives through tie ups with Banks and NBFCs, in most cases the coverage of the initiatives are limited (to some marquee suppliers) and in a larger amount of cases are a generic form of receivable financing based on existing credit policies of the financial institutions, which are out of sync with business realities. It is imperative for large corporates to have a supplier financing initiative for all their suppliers, especially the SMEs to manage their financial risks. In turn it is imperative for the financial institution to have a tailored product which reflects the operating realities of the industry and also the specificity of the supply chain. Collaboration of all three stakeholders, i.e. the large corporate, SME supplier and financial institution will be critical to ensuring a sustainable supply chain finance program.
We live in an interconnected world; therefore large corporates have the responsibility to ensure that their SME suppliers have access to finance, if they truly want to make their supply chains resilient.
Prashant has 11 years of experience in business strategy and operations, with specific expertise in the areas of project management, supply chain management and business process formulation , across the retail sector, United Nations system & international organizations, telecommunications & high technology, oil & gas and 3rd party logistics. He has successfully managed and delivered projects for clients based out of Europe, the USA, Africa and India.
At Capital Float, Prashant heads Business Development for Supply Chain Financing.
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E-commerce in India is growing at a rapid pace. It’s a highly competitive space as it gives opportunities to thousands of small sellers as well as big brands. However, to compete with the larger players, several sellers face the challenge of sufficient capital.
Be it in day-to-day operations, meeting sudden demand rise or to build a brand value, capital is all that you need to keep your venture growing. Loans are one of the most convenient financing options available for most online sellers. This is to expand their business and to manage gaps in cash flow. Be it a big brand or a small seller, financial backing is much needed to grow on e-commerce platforms.
Leading e-commerce companies have tie-ups with many financial institutions such as banks and NBFCs. These partnerships help encourage sellers on e-commerce platforms by providing them finance, mainly in the form of working capital.
Many financial institutions are working in collaboration with e-commerce companies. They have rolled out financing schemes for their online merchants and sellers. Lenders collect the database of sellers from the partnered e-commerce company. They then determine the quantum of loan and the interest rate for the potential borrower. Usually, loan amount varies from Rs 1 lakh to 100 lakhs.
Some lenders offer higher loan amounts depending on the pattern of the business. These e-commerce loans are offered to online sellers at a competitive rate with flexible repayment tenures.
Interest rate offered varies from 11% to 15 %, depending on the various factors and business record of the seller. It involves a quick and easy application process and minimum documentation.
E-commerce loans can be applied online through a simple process of form filling. Approvals are instant in most of the cases. Seller should be registered with the respective e-commerce company to avail the financing scheme. Usually, e-commerce loans are unsecured loans, i.e. loans without any collateral.
Lenders focus on many records related to the seller. Here are some of the Influencing factors based on which lenders determine the quantum of e-commerce loan:
1) Cash Flow Management:
When you are selling products online, it’s important to ensure healthy cash flows. Online sales are quite difficult to predict, especially during the festive season and on big sale days. Failure in your marketing strategy can leave you with a lot of inventory that you could not sell. Seasonalities are common in the online selling business. You may end up facing cash flow problems, which ultimately lead to a financial crunch. Effective management of cash flows is a vital element. Lenders take your cash flow forecast statements into consideration while determining the loan limit.
2) Past Record:
Lenders take into consideration the entire business record of the seller since inception of the enterprise. Some of the documents taken into consideration are:
- Business license,
- Incorporation or registration details
- Timely payment of sales tax etc.
The lender will then check your business plan and the performance since inception. They do this to understand the pattern and size of your business. So, be mindful of maintaining a good business record right from the onset.
It’s important for online business owners to keep their records updated. With good records, you may get a preferential rate on credit.
3) Operational History:
Numbers of years in business counts more in getting the e-commerce loan approved. Generally, most of the financial institutions provide e-commerce loan to online sellers with more than a year of operation. The biggest fear for lenders when providing loans to online sellers is the possibility of default. Hence, stability of business is taken into consideration. Your entrepreneurial experience plays a major role in getting a credit facility for your online business.
4) Return on Sales:
The efficiency of your business is measured basis the return on sales. Lenders consider the ratio of profit and sales to determine the credit limit that they can offer. The loan amount is determined by lenders based on your sales records of the last six months.
5) Type of Business:
A lender decides the percentage of finance that they can offer to an online seller. It depends on the type of business. If your business is fast moving and the frequency of buying such products is more, you are likely to get higher loan.
6) Customer Satisfaction and Review:
Earning customer loyalty and trust is key to being successful in online selling. The first impression of a seller needs to be good for customers to consider purchasing from the seller. Positive customer feedback will ultimately lead to more business. This creates more demand in the online marketplace. Customer review and rating defines your service quality. This helps you in building brand loyalty on the e-commerce platform. High customer satisfaction will ultimately boost your sales. This creates competitive advantage for you in the online marketplace. Lenders consider these elements to evaluate the level of your service quality.
With many e-commerce companies collaborating with financiers, availing credit for online businesses is no longer a challenging task. As lenders partner with e-commerce companies to offer customized finance solutions to e-sellers, more opportunities are available for new entrepreneurs to explore the online selling business.
Raising working capital for an online business is now convenient. It has become easy with the financial assistance from e-commerce companies.
With the help of details like:
- Cash flow forecast,
- Number of years of business experience,
- Sales volume
- Customer satisfaction report, etc.
Financial institutions are able to underwrite e-commerce loans for online sellers.
Oct 24, 2018
What is Working Capital?
Working capital is the difference between the total number of assets and the total number of liabilities in a company. This amount is spent on executing day-to-day operations in a business. As a result, it is used as an index to measure the health of a company. Enterprises with high working capital are often strong businesses.
What are the Uses of Working Capital?
In most situations, working capital is used to run operations. A well-managed business will also use it’s working capital to achieve growth. For instance, an online seller would spend to add a new type of product to his portfolio. A retailer may liquidate funds to increase his store size by adding a new section to his outlet.
Other uses of working capital include:
• Equipment and inventory purchases
• Hiring, salary payments and employee training
• Unforeseen expenses
What are the Outcomes of Low Working Capital?
Responsible financial management may help companies secure higher levels of working capital. On the contrary, poor management of capital could result in the following issues:
• Bankruptcy risk: In the case of negative working capital, SMEs use money received from creditors to finance business operations. Businesses run the risk of bankruptcy due to the lack of sufficient income to counterbalance the expenditure.
• Lack of investment opportunities: Investors are less likely to consider companies which regularly have low or negative working capital. This demonstrates that the company is not being run effectively.
• Missed growth opportunities: With large amounts of positive working capital, businesses will have money to spend on pursuing growth. With negative or low working capital, businesses may find it difficult to capitalize on investment opportunities. Low working capital could have stifling effects on the ambitions of any businessman.
• Trade discounts: Many suppliers will offer substantial discounts if they are paid on time. Low or negative working capital can make it difficult to meet payment obligations which, effectively, increases the cost of inventory.
What are the Ways of Accessing Working Capital Finance with Capital Float?
At Capital Float, we offer a wide range of financing options for small and medium scale businesses. By providing quick and easier access to funds and with flexible repayment options, we can give businesses the right financial support to help them achieve their next milestone.
We offer Online Seller Finance to e-commerce sellers who operate on online marketplaces. Through a simple online process, the seller can apply for a loan and receive funds in three days. The loan tenure ranges between 90-180 days and is repaid on a biweekly basis. This loan is ideal for sellers who are looking at expanding into other marketplaces, increasing their product portfolio or purchasing higher volumes of stock.
Term Finance is applicable for traditional businesses that have been operating for three years. The loan tenure varies between six months to three years. Small scale manufacturers, retailers and distributors can use this loan to meet short-term investment requirements and finance inventory purchases.
Invoice Finance helps SMEs convert their invoices into cash, that can be channeled into financing business operations. This loan product has an exclusive feature of one-time bullet repayment mode, which might suit the cash-flow needs of several SMEs.
We also provide Merchant Cash Advance which will interest vendors using point-of-sale machines with consistent card settlements. Merchants can receive working capital finance of up to 150% of their monthly card swipes within three days of the loan application.
Our unique product called ‘Pay Later’ is a rolling credit facility, that enables the borrower to make multiple drawdowns within a predefined credit limit. The borrower pays interest on the utilized amount and not on the entire limit. By repaying the amount utilized, the borrower resets the credit limit, thereby instantly availing the facility in whole. Click here to read more about ‘Pay Later’. You could read about the product features by clicking here.
Oct 24, 2018
Capital Float, the largest digital lender in India, has partnered with Payworld to provide kirana store owners with convenient financing options, enabling them to expand business operations. Small retailers are often underserved by traditional financial institutions because of their limited credit history. These retailers can now avail hassle-free working capital from Capital Float, which will help them manage inventory and cash flows with added scalability.
There are more than 12 million small retailers in India. Many of these businessmen put decision-making on hold because of traditional credit barriers. Through this partnership, Capital Float will provide small retailers with collateral-free loans, which will help to exponentially increase their capacity to do business on the Payworld platform. Once the loan is approved, the retailer can request for funds using the Capital Float mobile app and the funds are disbursed within 10 minutes.
“Due to the lack of established lending norms and consequent delay in financing activity, existing and new players in the retail space have lesser access to credit, which affects their growth and expansion plans”, said Gaurav Hinduja, Co-Founder, Capital Float. “With Payworld, we have simplified the lending process so that neighbourhood kirana stores are able to fulfil their financial needs and better service their customers,” he added.
With India becoming digital, Payworld helps customers in remote locations with limited access to electronic payment methods, perform daily transactions like booking bus tickets or paying mobile bills via Payworld’s network of retail points, which includes kirana stores. A proprietary algorithm developed by Capital Float uses non-traditional, surrogate data sources, including each retailer’s performance on the Payworld platform, to build a personalized credit profile and provide customized finance options to the retailer. In the long term, this will also develop an official credit profile for these retailers, thereby increasing their chances of availing credit products from traditional financiers.
“In keeping with our business philosophy of ‘Making Life Simple’, we have partnered with Capital Float to provide the retailers in our network the support they require to boost their business. This is critical in building retailer loyalty to our platform, giving them the confidence to increase the number of transactions, positively impacting revenues for them and us” said Praveen Dhabhai, COO , Payworld.
Click here to read the full press release on The Economic Times
Oct 24, 2018