Treasury and procurement should be strong partners, especially when it comes to managing supply chain finance. Yet despite the advantages for all parties of such programmes, often there are not enough hours in the day to get the best from them. Enter the third-party supplier relationship manager. Andrew Burns, Vice President Europe, C2FO, explains.
With the best will in the world, any programme of improvement that involves the participation of two exceptionally busy corporate functions such as treasury and procurement, and potentially thousands of external partners in a modern supply chain, is asking a lot.
Take supply chain finance (SCF), for example. The potential advantages are well laid out for buyer and supplier, yet with time and resources stretched to the maximum on both sides, managing a programme so that it delivers the best possible results is often challenging. As a result, relationships can suffer and, in the worst-case scenario, supply chains can be broken with disastrous consequences.
The vast majority of early payment and SCF programmes are signed off by treasurers, but then handed over to procurement for implementation. With neither function able to educate, onboard and systematically manage suppliers beyond a small, select group, many suppliers are left to struggle with liquidity issues. The threat is all too real, and during the pandemic, many supply chains became severely compromised at an alarming pace.