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2020 Retail and Apparel Winner: Co-operative Group

Rebecca Spong

date: November 19, 2020

Interesting insights on the SCF programme of Co-operative Group, the Winner of the 2020 SCF Awards FMCG Retail and Apparel category.

Category: Retail and Apparel

Winner: Co-operative Group

Summing up:  A SCF platform created to be more inclusive than previous legacy programmes – ready to support a wider range of suppliers just as the Covid-19 crisis hit.

Partner:  PrimeRevenue

What the judges said:  A swiftly-implemented, ethically-driven SCF programme created to ensure more suppliers had access to cash when they needed it the most

Key Facts:

  • A programme designed and set up with suppliers onboarded within 60 days – 30 days faster than standard implementation window.
  • Since go-live, nearly $58 million in invoices have been uploaded to the platform
  • Approximately $52 million worth of invoices (90 per cent) have been accelerated for early payment

The Co-operative Group (Co-op) is a leading food retailer in the UK with a wide-reaching supply chain supporting 3,700 stores. It had previous experience using a supply chain finance platform to support the needs of its suppliers and its own working capital needs but had found that a single-bank programme didn’t have the required scalability to support a greater proportion of the supply chain.

The retailer wanted to develop an SCF programme that would be more inclusive, allowing more suppliers access to early payment while also supporting Co-op’s working capital and business transformation strategy which included rationalising payment terms across the supply chain.

The programme needed to allow for future growth with the addition of new funding from Co-op’s banking group as and when it was needed.

It decided to work with tech provider PrimeRevenue on the project just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the subsequent global lockdowns, cessation of production, and the breakdown of supply chains. It was now even more imperative to provide its suppliers with access to much-needed liquidity.

Co-op was also juggling an additional challenge of going live with new SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology to further improve the efficiency of its internal operations.

Working with PrimeRevenue, Co-op managed to migrate its existing SCF programme and extended it to more suppliers. The new system offered suppliers the flexibility to choose their own payment dates depending on their cash requirements – without negatively impacting the Co-op’s financial position.

The whole process was completed swiftly, with the design finished and suppliers onboarded within just 60 days. This is 30 days faster than the standard implementation time at PrimeRevenue.

On-boarding was particularly efficient due to around 57 per cent of the targeted suppliers already using PrimeRevenue’s platform due to its strong existing presence in the food retail market.

A total of 20 suppliers have been on-boarded, with more than half actively trading invoices and 40 per cent have chosen to use AutoTrade to automatically advance invoices for early payment either as soon as possible or at set times and amounts.

The programme is still in its early days, yet already $58 million-worth of invoices have been uploaded to the platform. It is clear The Co-op’s suppliers have already seen the benefits of supply chain finance. Since go-live, approximately $52 million (90% of total uploaded invoices) have already been accelerated for early payment.

The programme will continue to be expanded, with The Co-Op aiming to add another 30 to 50 more suppliers by the end of this year.

Rebecca Spong

Rebecca Spong is an experienced freelance journalist with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. Skilled in journalism for online and print publications. Rebecca is interested in finance, business and Middle East-focused stories. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University.