Author: Anita Hawser

By Anita Hawser and Paula Green

BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—BANK

Citi

With trade and supplier finance capabilities in more than 80 countries, few providers can match Citi's extensive geographical footprint. It provides different forms of supplier finance (receivables financing, distributor financing, commodities trade finance) to suit the needs of different counterparties. Citi is a leading provider of export credit agency (ECA) transactions and last year renewed a program with the US Export–Import Bank to help SME exporters in the US. It is a model that Citi uses in other regions of the world, such as Africa, where it works with multilateral development agencies to help finance the capital expenditure needs of companies. In conjunction with Visa's Syncada it developed an integrated solution for freight processing

BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—NONBANK

Orbian

Orbian's model involves buying the receivables and then selling notes to potential investors. This is perhaps less likely to appeal to those banks that want to more directly own the relationship with the buyer and its network of suppliers. However, it is the kind of model that is likely to attract those companies that do not want to use their primary cash management bank to support their supply chain finance program. It also means a business is not reliant on a single provider for financing, which in these uncertain times can only be a good thing.

BEST SUPPLIER SUPPORT AND ENROLLMENT

Basware

The success of any supply chain finance program hinges on the ability to on–board suppliers quickly, and Basware successfully streamlines the order-to-pay process. Its Open Network improves supplier-buyer exchange and its Invoice Automation and Connectivity services help companies quickly move to an automated environment for the handling of invoices. In February, Basware launched a cloud-based solution, Alusta.

BEST PAYABLES SUPPLIER FINANCING SOLUTION

PrimeRevenue

With more than 6,600 suppliers using its OpenSCi platform, which provides different components of supply chain management and finance as discrete cloud-based services, PrimeRevenue supports some of the largest financing programs in the world. More than 30 institutions—including banks, corporates and pension funds—provide financing using its platform. The firm is also expanding its presence in south-south trade corridors and opened an office in Hong Kong in March.

BEST PRESHIPMENT FINANCING SOLUTION

Standard Chartered

Most supply chain finance, at least that supported by banks, is still geared toward the postshipment part of the supply chain—after the buyer has approved the invoice. With preshipment financing there is no approved invoice, which requires financing providers to have insight into the trading history between a buyer and supplier, as well as the ability to structure innovative solutions. Standard Chartered launched a warehouse finance solution—by which firms raise financing based on the value of their commodities inventory, using a warehouse receipt from an independent collateral manager to confirm inventory. Standard Chartered describes the warehouse finance program as a structured solution, based on continuous collateral valuations using market prices. It is combined with controlled storage arrangements.

BEST CUSTOMER IMPLEMENTATION OF A SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCING SOLUTION

Royal Bank of Scotland and Carlsberg

Covering more than 10 countries in Western and Eastern Europe and more than 100 suppliers, RBS's supply chain finance program for Danish brewing company Carlsberg is testament to the bank's ability to roll out and structure programs covering different legal jurisdictions. The geographical scale of an SCF program such as this poses special requirements on structuring and implementation skills. It incorporates local in–country service to suppliers with a single service window for Carlsberg through RBS's processing hub. It offers Carlsberg working capital efficiencies and supports the cash flow needs of the brewer's core suppliers.

BEST WEB-BASED SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCING SOLUTION

PrimeRevenue OpenSCi

Recognizing that supply chain financing is not just about the financing, but also the different components that contribute to the overall success of a program, PrimeRevenue launched its OpenSCi cloud-based platform earlier this year. OpenSCi lets buyers, suppliers and funders pick and choose services as and when they require them and features a range of components, including analytics, connectivity via APIs, business intelligence and analysis of a firm's working capital requirements and financing. PrimeRevenue was one of the first providers to offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for supply chain finance and is breaking ground again with its OpenSCi platform.

BEST PLATFORM CONNECTING BUYERS, SUPPLIERS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

TradeCard

Few platforms make it as effortless as TradeCard for buyers, suppliers and financiers to collaborate seamlessly. Financial institutions (FIs) can be engaged at any stage throughout the trade life cycle. High levels of automation mean buyers, suppliers and FIs can more easily exchange information that enhances visibility into transaction flows, reduces risk and ensures companies get paid earlier. More than 10,000 suppliers and 25 FIs are connected to TradeCard.

BEST INTEGRATED TRADE, SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE AND CASH MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

SEB

Nordic provider SEB only started integrating its trade finance, cash and supply chain finance businesses in the past few years, but nonetheless the bank's global transaction services unit is now able to provide one unified solution for corporate treasury and trade needs. SEB also promotes an integrated view across purchasing, payments, cash flow, investment and funding through its Corporate Financial Value Chain concept, which benchmarks companies against industry best practices to help enhance working capital.

BEST E-PROCUREMENT

Ariba

Using Ariba's B2B collaborative platform, which connects more than 730,000 customers, companies are able to streamline their procurement processes and save millions. Ariba prides itself on its ability to deliver greater spend efficiencies to companies through its platform, which dispenses with inefficient one-to-one connections between buyers and suppliers. When its $4.3 billion acquisition by software giant SAP is completed at the end of August, Ariba will gain access to an even wider network of clients, and SAP customers will be able to use its collaborative networks for e-procurement. A number of leading banks, including Deutsche Bank and Santander, are using the Ariba platform to help streamline their procurement, payables and supplier negotiations.

BEST INVENTORY MANAGEMENT

TradeCard

Recent advances to TradeCard's platform include greater visibility into the fine detail of a company's supply chain—offering the ability to respond quickly at the factory floor level to changing circumstances. Its Factory Xpress solution helps companies locate product worldwide to meet unplanned demand. Labeling and item scanning certify compliance with packing rules to ensure that inventory is correctly processed and packed and that handling costs are minimized. This can help reduce chargebacks and assure that goods are shipped in a timely fashion. TradeCard's Work-In-Process solution enables companies to monitor key events in the production of goods and to be quickly notified of any exceptions.

BEST TRADE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT

Citi

Trade documentation is not just the purchase order and invoice. There are also bills of lading, customs declarations and a host of paper-based documents, the production of which is time consuming and error prone. Citi provides a range of services to help streamline document presentation and examination. Its Web-based Direct Presentation Service, for example, offers automated processing of letters of credit. Citi reviews the documents and highlights discrepancies, which the client can then correct online. The bank also has a trade document outsourcing solution that covers invoices, packing lists, insurance certificates and drafts. For open account payments Citi can convert paper documents to a digitized format.

BEST ANALYTICS FOR CREDIT SCORING AND SUPPLIER RISK ASSESSMENT

Dun & Bradstreet

D&B maintains a database of supplier profiles containing information on revenues, employees, predictive risk scores and performance, which it constantly updates and checks. Companies can use the database to certify and analyze their supplier base and reduce risk. D&B also publishes proprietary risk scores, which highlight a supplier's near-term operational and financial stability as well as the likelihood that a company may seek legal protection from creditors or fail to pay. Given today's economic uncertainty, these are essential analytical tools to have. The firm also provides a range of modules pertaining to alerts, country risk and scorecards that are accessible via the Web and mobile devices.

BEST INVOICE DISCOUNT MANAGEMENT

ICG Consulting

Increasingly, buyers are negotiating discounts with key suppliers in return for early payment of invoices. ICG's Dynamic Discounting provides customers with a wider range of access channels than most solutions: as a stand-alone or as part of a supplier portal or invoice-processing system. Dynamic discounting is also adaptable in terms of how it interacts with back-end systems. Different thresholds and limits can be set for discounting, and finance and treasury professionals have an overview of how much cash is available for discounting.

BEST SUPPLY CHAIN RISK CONSULTING SERVICES PROVIDER

Marsh

In an increasingly connected world, 21st century risks from cyberattacks to pandemics can wreak havoc with any part of a multinational's supply chain and quickly bring operations to a halt. The global supply chain risk management practice at Marsh Risk Consulting helps multinationals prevent or minimize the damage to bottom lines and reputations stemming from disruptions. As a business unit of global consultant Marsh, Marsh Risk Consulting can tap into a network of about 26,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

BEST SUPPLY CHAIN RISK INSURANCE PROVIDER

FM Global

Backed by 177 years of experience and an engineering staff with a deep knowledge of risk, FM Global is an industry winner when it comes to helping multinationals insure their supply chains. Today it has more than 1,800 loss prevention engineers working with clients in more than 130 countries. The mutual insurance company was backed by nearly $7 billion in policyholder surplus at year-end 2011. FM Global offers its clients extended supply chain risk insurance coverage for events that cannot be averted. This envelops not only an insured's direct suppliers and customers but also suppliers and customers up and down the supply chain.

alt Best Supply Chain Finance Providers 2012