Food Retailer’s Award-Winning Supply Chain Finance Program Puts Suppliers First

By PrimeRevenue • Published January 19, 2021 • 4 minute read

Co-op strives to build a better tomorrow, and the same goes for its supply chain. When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, Co-op knew they needed an inclusive and easy-to-use solution that would offer suppliers the critical cash they needed to survive disruption. A single bank program wasn’t able to offer the support or scalability Co-op needed, so they made the strategic decision to transition to PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder, technology-enabled supply chain finance solution. In this video, Simon Nuttall (Head of Tax, Treasury and Insurance, Co-op) and Penny Cook (Supplier Engagement Manager, Co-op) share how PrimeRevenue-led supply chain finance helped Co-op support suppliers and implement a scalable, sustainable working capital solution – despite unprecedented disruption.

Simon Nuttall:

Hi, my name is Simon Nuttall and I’m the head of Tax, Treasury and Insurance at the Co-op Group. Co-op’s one of the UK’s leading food retailers, supplying more than 3,700 stores and employing nearly 60,000 people. We champion a better way of doing business built on cooperation, and we see that supply chain finance can help achieve this by giving suppliers access to cheaper cost of funding and speeding up their cash receipts.

Co-op has previously run a couple of single bank supply chain finance programs, but we found that they lack the ability to scale and support a large portion of our supply base. This meant we weren’t penetrating as much of our supply base as we knew we could. We also found that single bank pricing tended to be more expensive overall for our suppliers.

What made the decision to seek a better, more inclusive method of providing suppliers early payment to help with cash flow. It was important that any solution we implemented would refine and improve the efficiency of the business without negatively impacting on our own cash flow. And to that aim, we came up with three objectives to help us achieve the goal.

The first was to build a scalable solution that we could scale to support larger amounts of supply chain at a time. Secondly, we wanted to help improve or stabilize our working capital for suppliers and for ourselves. And thirdly, we wanted the program to grow with the addition of new funding within Co-op’s banking group and beyond as required. We partnered with PrimeRevenue to design a program complete with technically integration and onboard suppliers in just 60 days.

Penny Cook:

Hi, my name is Penny Cook. I’m Supplier Engagement Manager for the Co-op. I see everything from the supplier’s perspective, and I am the eyes and the ears and the voice of our supply base in the Co-op. Supplier onboarding was really, really smooth, and I know that because the suppliers didn’t contact me. I am the first port of call when it comes to any issues that suppliers may be facing. And obviously financial issues are quite a hot topic. It was really seamless, it was really swift, and it was handled entirely by PrimeRevenue.

This was far more efficient process than our previous programs that we’ve had in the past. I think the benefit of having a PrimeRevenue dedicated supplier team is that any suppliers new to the platform were walked through the process, and they were getting customized training if they needed it. And also, they had a person that they could talk to over at PrimeRevenue when they needed that, but otherwise it was just a really simple and automated technology.

Simon Nuttall:

The longevity of the program is very important to Co-op. We don’t want to be entirely dependent on a few funders and the technology pipeline built between Co-op and PrimeRevenue will remain unchanged. So that means that funding this could come and go, and Co-op and our suppliers will have a lot of stability.

Penny Cook:

We want to make sure that we can offer this service to a wide ranging platform of our suppliers. We want to make sure that everyone has access that needs it. We’re working hard to make sure we have the right funding available for those suppliers. What we want to do is make sure that certainly our more vulnerable suppliers are really looked after and that we can offer the service to those guys.

Simon Nuttall:

Without a doubt, the biggest value is the fact that our suppliers have a sense of stability amid all of the disruption the world’s facing at the moment. We know that they’ve got a reliable source of liquidity they can pull from and as much, or as little as they need, and that should help them withstand the economic challenges today. It also gives us security of our supply chain.