Daily Archives: December 10, 2014

Procurement Trend #07. Supplier Pre-Payment

Four anti-trends remain. We can count them on one-hand’s worth of fingers, but like LOLCat, we feel more compelled to provide examples of how far beyond retro the futurists really are when they provide us examples of trends that anyone who bothered to poke their head over their cubicle wall thirty years ago (or outside the yurt three thousand years ago) would have noticed. However, we’ll leave their bitter humiliation for LOLCat, who is obviously received very little enjoyment from this series, but still found the time to point out how LOLCats have been sustainable at least since the first corrugated cardboard box was created and instead focus on dispelling the myths the futurists continue to propagate.

So why do these Rip van Winkles keep pushing upon us trends from yesteryear? Besides the fact that some of them obviously spent the best part of last decade napping, probably because they look around, see the laggard organizations still caught in the muck, and assume they can still sell last decade’s leftover snake oil in today’s marketplace. Why do they think Supplier Prepayment is today’s cure?

  • suppliers in emerging and even recently emerged countries may not have easy access to short-term financing
    which may mean that payday loans or family* loans may be required and as a result
  • interest rates vary and suppliers’ interest rates may be much higher than yours
    and costing the supplier, and thus you, 3% or 4% a month, not per annum
  • early payment can be the difference between blood red and black
    because with 36% APR loans, they double every 24 months a borrower doesn’t make a payment

So what does this mean?

Know the True Cost of DPO

How much is 30 day, 60 day, 90 day and 180 day DPO, from the time the supplier starts producing your order, really costing the supplier and, hence, since that costs needs to be built into their price, costing you?

Know the True Return on DPO extension

If the only reason to extend DPO is to get 2% annual interest in a short-term cash deposit, and this extension of DPO costs your supplier 24% annual interest, are you really making money off of this? If, however, you have the 1 in 100,000 situation where paying on time requires a loan from your bank at 12% and your supplier is on-shore, being government funded, and getting development capital at 6%, then in this case it actually makes sense to extend DPO until you are in a better position as it only increase the supply chain cost 6% instead of 12%. But this is probably a 1 in 100,000 situation.

Know what alternative investments net

Decreasing DPO might decrease supply chain cost, but if that investment requires smaller LTL (Less Than Truckload) orders and faster inventory turnover, this could cost more in the long run as FTL (Full TruckLoad) is cheaper and stock-outs cost revenue. Throw all the numbers, good and bad, into an optimization model and figure out what the best choice really is. Sometimes it will be early payment, or even pre-payment, of the supply base, and sometimes it won’t.

* Not their family, the family, capiche?