Czech e-commerce firm Alza’s award-nominated invoice financing programme demonstrates that supply chain finance is not purely the preserve of billion-dollar multinationals. By offering financing to all its suppliers, the company is primed to support both its own rapid growth and the resilience of its supply chain.
European e-commerce firm Alza, which is headquartered in the Czech Republic, has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. While its annual turnover stood at €225.78m in 2010, it cracked the billion-euro landmark in 2019 reaching €1.14bn. Despite, or perhaps because of Covid-19, the unaudited figures for 2020 show even more growth, with the year’s turnover hitting €1.412bn.
To cope with this rapid growth, the company had to onboard an increasing number of smaller goods suppliers to populate its virtual shopping aisles with everything from televisions to toys and from mobile phones to smart home appliances. However, Alza soon found, it was not always receiving as many goods as expected.
Jiri Ponrt, Financial Director, Alza, explains: “These suppliers were afraid to say that they had a problem with working capital. They didn’t have enough money to pay their suppliers and deliver the number of goods we wanted. We assumed that they could go to banks or factoring companies to solve this issue, but it soon became clear that many of them were too small to get a loan and didn’t have a long credit history behind them that would satisfy the bank. They also said that they found factoring companies too inflexible.”