Linking the physical with the financial supply chain is becoming a necessity. In an evolving marketplace, corporates face increasing competition that requires both agility and accuracy in order to avoid costly disruptions. In order to be both flexible and efficient, companies will need to broaden and improve the channels of interaction between their sales and fulfillment function with the corporate treasury. Recent advances in technology are making it possible to transform existing information to make them relevant via enhanced data analytics. A number of corporates have used the enriched data to support suppliers by partnering with banks able to provide financing especially to the SME sector.
In Asia, however, the SME sector remains underserved. Data from a recent survey conducted by the Asian Development Bank showed that 43% of the US$1.6 billion gap in trade finance globally is accounted for in developing Asia. Indeed, more than half of SME trade finance proposals are rejected. This suggests that despite showcase successes in SME finance and linking the physical and the financial supply chain, much work still needs to be done – and the upside opportunity in cost-savings, improved efficiency and visibility are significant.