Author: Anita Hawser

By Anita Hawser and Paula L. Green

BEST SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—BANK

Citi

Some of of the main prerequisites for a bank to be able to support supply-chain finance programs in different countries are its knowledge of local market regulations and laws, a strong balance sheet and a presence on the ground in as many key markets as possible. Citi certainly meets the criteria, with branches in more than 100 countries globally, including most of the major trade corridors. Its supply-chain finance offering encompasses a range of solutions covering different aspects of the supply chain from procure-to-pay, receivables financing, distribution finance and supplier finance. It has carved a niche for itself in working closely with Export Credit Agencies and multilateral finance institutions, notably the US Ex-Im Bank and the IFC, to supply financing to US SMEs and in emerging markets.

BEST SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—NONBANK

PrimeRevenue

A number of new nonbank supply-chain finance platforms have emerged in recent years, but PrimeRevenue continues to stand out in terms of the volume of business transacted on its platform and the size of the programs it supports. P.J. Bain, CEO of the Atlanta-based company, says it processes more than $52 billion in transactions annually and provides more than $18 billion in financing to suppliers in 37 countries and 17 currencies. It currently manages more than 90 SCF programs in North America, Europe and Australia/Asia and has approximately 40 banks providing liquidity on its platform. It has also forged interesting partnerships with the likes of Tradeshift to leverage the benefits of e-invoicing and supply chain finance.

BEST SUPPLIER SUPPORT AND ENROLLMENT

Ariba

The SAP-owned company bills itself as the largest Web-based community of buyers, sellers and financial institutions for collaborative commerce. As one of the early platforms in the e-procurement space, it has a wealth of experience in onboarding suppliers. It provides a range of supplier-oriented solutions to help with the transition to e-invoicing and to enable companies to manage their relationships and spend with strategic suppliers. Suppliers on its platform can easily trade their receivables and control discounts in return for early payment.

BEST PAYABLES SUPPLIER-FINANCING SOLUTION

Orbian

One of the key differentiators of Orbian’s platform is that suppliers do not engage directly with funders. This can take some of the complexity out of the equation for suppliers with Orbian sitting in the middle, buying the receivables and selling notes to potential investors. “Using Orbian is best practice—you are independent and don’t have the problems and conflicts the banks and companies have,” stated one supplier. “I’m involved with four SCF programs, and Orbian/Siemens is the best of them. Your supplier agreement is the best in the industry—it’s head and shoulders above the rest, and I see agreements every day. It’s easy to understand, contains only the important points, and it’s simply a straightforward business document.” Orbian says its “universal funding model” facilitates participation by interested financiers and cuts out any residual supplier risk or bank counterparty risk.

BEST PRE-SHIPMENT FINANCING SOLUTION

Standard Chartered

Few banks have the risk appetite to provide financing early on in the supply chain before the buyer has approved the payables or invoice. However, working capital can also be tied up in inventory, and with its Structured Warehouse Finance solution, Standard Chartered aims to unlock that liquidity. The solution, which is used by suppliers, makes collateral valuations based on up-to-date market prices of the commodity that is being financed. Standard Chartered says this provides suppliers with better and more flexible financing terms, and it also shifts the emphasis away from the supplier’s balance sheet to focus more on the commodity.

BEST CUSTOMER IMPLEMENTATION OF A SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCING SOLUTION

IFC Global Trade Supplier Finance program and GT Nexus

The GTSF enables suppliers in emerging markets to receive faster payment for goods using receipts. IFC provides the early payment and is then reimbursed by the buyer. The objective, says Farzin Mirmotahari, senior operations officer at the IFC, is to provide suppliers in emerging markets with access to competitively priced financing. As traditional bank borrowing becomes increasingly difficult for emerging markets’ SMEs to access—given banks’ reduced credit and risk appetite—alternative forms of financing are increasingly important to SMEs in these markets. By collaborating with the GTSF, GT Nexus can provide members of its platform, which boasts more than 7,000 suppliers and approximately 5,000 factories in key emerging sourcing hubs such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, with a new and additional means of financing. GTSF’s funding costs are reasonable, and suppliers can pick and choose which invoices they wish to sell in order to receive early payment.

BEST WEB-BASED SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCING SOLUTION

PrimeRevenue

PrimeRevenue was one of the first offerings in the SCF space to leverage the power of Web-based platforms, which it continues to build on with its OpenSCi offering, which provides funding, legal framework and transactional functionality via the Cloud. Buyers, suppliers and financial institutions can choose from a number of Cloud-based modules that provide a wide range of functionality, including working capital analytics, legal documents and the ability to monitor liquidity usage. It also recently launched new tools to facilitate supplier onboarding and electronic time drafts.

BEST PLATFORM CONNECTING BUYERS, SUPPLIERS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

GT Nexus

GT Nexus is now the name for the combined GT Nexus and TradeCard. Its platform boasts more than 61,000 users, including the largest apparel and footwear factories in Asia. More than 8,000 suppliers utilize its network, and a wide range of financial service providers, including banks and nonbanks, provide financial services or early payment to suppliers. The level of visibility and transparency provided by the TradeCard platform into the relationships and trading history between buyers and suppliers makes it easier for suppliers in emerging markets to obtain a lower cost of funding.

BEST INTEGRATED TRADE, SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE AND CASH MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

Standard Chartered

Banks are looking to more closely align the traditionally siloed businesses of cash, trade and supply chain finance in order to deliver working capital and risk management benefits to clients. Standard Chartered brought some of these capabilities—cash, trade and FX—together on its electronic platform, Straight2Bank. Its Vendor Prepay fully automated, streamlined supplier financing solution, which enables vendors to receive pre-payment for goods delivered, is based on an interface between the bank’s cash and trade processing platforms.

BEST E-PROCUREMENT

Ariba

Ariba is one of the few survivors of the dotcom boom that continues to do what it does best: enabling buyers and suppliers to seamlessly collaborate on a single platform and providing them with the tools, information and visibility to source goods more cost-effectively and strategically when it comes to supplier selection. Companies can also use the platform to quickly identify new sources of supply. It is one of the largest Web-based trading communities, with more than one million companies connected, and processes $450 billion annually in transaction volume.

BEST INVENTORY MANAGEMENT

GT Nexus

The Cloud-based supply chain platform brings together suppliers, buyers, factories and financial service providers to enhance the flow of information and working capital throughout the supply chain. Its Factory Xpress solution includes a range of features designed to improve accuracy, efficiency and compliance in the packing and shipping of goods so companies can minimize the risk of chargebacks and errors being introduced by manual rekeying of information.

BEST TRADE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT

Citi

While a lot of the focus tends to be on the actual financing of the supply chain, it is easy to forget how important trade document management is as it underpins not only the movement and receipt of goods but also payment for those goods. If the documentation is wrong, missing or late, then it can have a domino effect throughout the supply chain. Web-based technologies have brought numerous efficiencies to trade document management. Citi’s Integrated Freight Processing solution is a Web portal that streamlines and automates all of the processes for freight invoices. Invoices are automated and then entered into an electronic workflow, helping to resolve disputes and execute payment more quickly. It also offers a Web-based service for automating letters of credit, and a platform for outsourcing the preparation of export documents.

BEST ANALYTICS FOR CREDIT SCORING & SUPPLIER RISK ASSESSMENT

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet provides a range of scores and ratings that help determine a company’s ability to pay or to identify risks and opportunities that can warn about the future potential for failure of a company. It arrives at these scores and ratings using advanced modeling techniques.

BEST INVOICE DISCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Taulia

Discounting invoices in order to receive early payment is the cornerstone of most SCF programs. Taulia, a San Francisco-based company, boasts one of the fastest-growing networks for discounting, says research firm PayStream Advisors, which has “exploded in growth over the past two years.” Its Business Exchange solution provides a range of services, including electronic invoicing and what PayStream describes as an “elegant” dynamic discounting solution. Different discounting options are supported, including recurring and one-time discounts.

BEST SUPPLY-CHAIN RISK-CONSULTING SERVICES PROVIDER

FM Global

FM Global is a supply-chain-risk and business-property insurance provider. But it also provides clients with tools and services to help them better understand and mitigate risk in their supply chains. It also includes awareness materials that enable companies to better understand their supply chain and associated risks. And its online toolkit helps companies better protect their supply chains against natural disasters.

BEST SUPPLY-CHAIN RISK INSURANCE PROVIDER

Allianz

As multinationals expand their dependence on an increasingly complex web of global suppliers, Allianz helps these global companies minimize their supply chain risk by developing detailed insurance programs to support them through the natural disasters and man-made hazards that can mar the business operations of their own suppliers and—increasingly important—their suppliers’ network of contractors. Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty can develop insurance programs in more than 160 countries. In March 2013, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s confirmed its “AA” rating of the global financial services company and raised its outlook to “stable” from “negative.” First-quarter 2013 operating profit was up 20% over the same quarter a year ago.

GLOBAL WINNERS

Best Global Supply-Chain Finance Provider—Bank

Citi

Best Global Supply-Chain Finance Provider—  Nonbank

PrimeRevenue

Best Supplier Support and Enrollment

Ariba
Best Payables Supplier Financing Solution Orbian
Best Pre-Shipment Financing Solution Standard Chartered
Best Customer Implementation of Supply-Chain  Financing Solution IFC Global Trade Supplier Finance program and  GT  Nexus
Best Web-Based Supply-Chain Financing Solution PrimeRevenue
Best Platform Connecting Buyers, Suppliers and  Financial Institutions GT Nexus
Best Integrated Trade, Supply-Chain Finance and  Cash Management Solutions Standard Chartered
Best E-Procurement Ariba
Best Inventory Management GT Nexus
Best Trade Document Management Citi
Best Analytics for Credit Scoring and Supplier Risk  Assessment Dun & Bradstreet
Best Invoice Discount Management Taulia
Best Supply-Chain Risk-Consulting Services  Provider FM Global
Best Supply-Chain Risk Insurance Provider Allianz

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