“We started this because we realised the environment is changing,” said Roger Sutter, head of treasury and working capital at Kuehne + Nagel. “We wanted to provide our suppliers with an early payment solution which is fast and convenient.”

He added: “SCF is all about speed. It’s about getting money as quickly as possible to suppliers so it needs very fast invoice processing to get very fast payment to the supplier.”

K+N wanted to leverage its existing Tradeshift e-invoicing system and layer an SCF programme on top of that. K+N decided to work with Citi as the finance provider, and the bank was happy to work with the Tradeshift platform.

It was a considerable benefit to not have to change the platform which suppliers use to submit invoices and access all the SCF details they need. Average invoice processing time is 10 days but it can be as low as three days in exceptional circumstances. Moreover, as a global multi-bank platform, this gives reach and sustainability to the programme. Overall, a significantly improved invoice-to-cash cycle resulted, with K+M processing invoices much more efficiently.

Key challenges? “Finding a bank that was willing to work with us,” Sutter said. Bringing together a bank and a fintech was something that not every finance provider was comfortable with.

The programme is now live in 16 countries in Europe ad North America, with more than 400 suppliers filing a monthly average of 28,000 invoices. Africa, the Middle East and Asia re the next destinations for the rollout.

Read about Kuehne + Nagel’s award-winning deployment of supply chain finance

Read more case studies and insight from the SCF Forum Europe 2018