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C2FO’s unique dynamic discounting platform has 200k+ companies in 22 countries

Collaborative Cash Flow Optimisation (C2FO) platform is quite simple but staggeringly successful. The C2FO platform brings together buyers and their suppliers to enable collaborative price discovery, see below: 

Source & Copyright©2013 -  Pollen Inc.

In collaborative price discovery:

  • buyers enter, which approved invoices they are offering,set a target APR return, a minimum hurdle rate and an amount of cash available for early payment 
  • suppliers enter the discounts (or APR) they are prepared to accept in exchange for early payment through the C2FO platform. (Normally at a lower rate than their alternative cost of capital.) 
  • The C2FO platform matches the buyer and seller bids to give the best return for buyer and supplier and then the payment is made through their existing payment arrangements.

The platform is proving popular with a 90% supplier recommendation rating and typically 20-40% of member a buyer’s A/P flows through the C2FO Market.

Collaborative pricing behaviour and charges
C2FO has found that each company’s need for working capital is unique and varies throughout the year. There is a wide variation between suppliers as to the minimum and maximum offers for the Different Days Paid Early periods, and the Average Awarded Price as the chart below shows.

Source & Copyright©2013 -  Pollen Inc.

C2FO charge buyers on a contingency basis, on a % of revenue aligned in the C2FO Market.

C2FO Usage
As the liquidity crisis has continued, C2FO has become more important as suppliers had increasing difficult to access working capital. C2FO have found that China-based suppliers have been registering at five times the rate of non-Chinese suppliers. They believe that corporations with trapped cash and/or buy from Chinese suppliers could use C2FO in China to take advantage of the working capital mismatch. 

The average acceleration of payments in a C2FO programme is 22 days. 

The usage of C2FO is growing fast and includes major buyers including Costco, Walgreen, Sysco, ToyRUs and Toshiba. And with major financial institutions such as Citigroup, Fifth-Third Bank and American Express signing partnerships with C2FO in the last quarter, the rate of growth is likely to increase.

Large buyers, such as ToysRUs, typically spend 30 minutes a week on their C2FO programme: deciding how much spare cash they can make available for early payment discount. Typically, buyers achieve a 7-9% return on the funds used in the early discount programme and regard the C2FO Market as a method of improving gross margin on their products.   

The C2FO Market offers much more variation than a Supply Chain Finance programme, as it uses the specific APR of each supplier and buyer. It is clearly much more popular with suppliers than most SCF programmes. Suppliers register, click through terms and conditions on-line and then can accelerate cash flow at their choice on an on-going or one-off basis. Additionally, there is no charge to suppliers. Buyers pay suppliers directly and according to existing payment instructions.  Buyers on C2FO (who are mostly net borrowers) can use surplus cash - when they have it -  to fund the program, or draw down on bank facilities or issue CP, and have the flexibility to run the program throughout the year or only during certain months. 

However, for some buyers that are not cash rich, a SCF programme could be more suitable as the funding for the early payment is mostly provided by a bank or financial institution.

Also the C2FO Market can be used to ameliorate the effect of extending Days Sales Outstanding, and, at least, it is more supplier sensitive than most supply chain finance programmes.

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