Windesheim University’s research project on supply chain finance for SMEs has been nominated for a prestigious award that recognises innovation in applied research.

The RAAK Awards are organised by SIA, the Dutch organisation for applied sciences, and the winner will be announced by the judges at the yearly SIA congress on 30th November 2017.

Windesheim has also been nominated for the RAAK Audience award, so members of the public can vote for their favourite project on the RAAK Award Facebook page, where the Windesheim SCF project is listed in Dutch as Ketenfinanciering voor MKB.

“This nomination is a great recognition of the importance of SCF, a relatively new topic in both business and academia, and especially from the perspective of SMEs which are often overlooked within SCF,” said project manager Christiaan de Goeij.

The project helps SMEs with tools and practical advice on deciding whether or not solutions such as reverse factoring or dynamic discounting are beneficial. “There is usually a trade-off for the SMEs: they can get early payment but often have to pay a discount. Besides that, saying yes or no to a buyer can have effects on their collaboration with their buyer, and their collaboration with their own bank. The Windesheim research created tools to show all possible effects to help SMEs make a decision,” said de Goeij.

SMEs also have a responsibility to help themselves, as the research showed. To get paid early, SMEs need to optimise their own order-to-cash (O2C) processes. Many SMEs could achieve major working capital benefits simply by invoicing more often, faster and better. Windesheim has also built tools to help SMEs improve their O2C processes.