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Keep Suppliers Happy and the Cash in Your Pocket

Part 4 in the Cash Cycle series: Using PO Financing to get faster shipping.

cash cycle

Sometimes suppliers demand that you pay for your orders in advance or at the point of shipment.

What if you don’t have the money to pay up front? You might have a letter of credit so they’ll start the order, but what if you can’t get that either? Will they ship your goods?

How to get suppliers to ship your goods

Purchase Order Financing (PO Financing) helps you close the gap where suppliers are not providing adequate – or any – terms. By extending the number of days you have to pay your accounts payable, you can keep cash in the company and effectively increase your working capital. This financing option will also improve your cash flow, and your cash conversion cycle (CCC), which can help you meet supplier terms.

In normal circumstances, you might have to wait 30, 60 or 90 days to collect on your sales (DSO = 30, 60 or 90). But a supplier may demand that you pay immediately before they will release your shipment (DPO = 0). If you don’t have significant working capital on hand, this leaves a serious gap. (More on these figures in a bit.)

As you’re stuck waiting to collect on your invoices, you’re still managing the ongoing costs of running your business and your shipment might not be released. Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to meet supplier terms without finding an alternative solution.

PO Financing can extend your cash cycle and help get your product shipped. When you receive a PO from your customer, you place that with your supplier. As your financing partner, Liquid Capital would then provide your supplier with a letter of credit and they would release the shipment. Your customer invoice is then generated.

With PO Financing, businesses often use factoring to obtain faster payment on their customer invoices once they are generated, so that they can take advantage of both solutions at once.

Example Scenario: Financing the cost of the product

The Gregory twins have been running their online retail venture the past

couple years, selling car and truck accessories to the enthusiastic custom

car community. Their suppliers are located across North America and overseas, so shipping is a big concern for the duo. Their business is growing, but their cash flow is still struggling. It’s tough to get supplier payments, orders and payments to align.

Currently, their main overseas supplier requires payment at the point of shipment for a large order ready to leave. Once the parts are on the boat, they’re considered sold to the Gregory brothers – and time begins ticking – but the duo are cash-strapped and can’t pay the entire invoice. They’re in dire need to get the parts in their customers’ hands, as customer invoices usually take at least 35 days to be paid.

Fortunately, they have major customer orders with supporting POs, and Liquid Capital assists by supplying a letter of credit to the supplier. Liquid Capital finances the Gregory twins’ product costs until the order is delivered to the customer, which takes 12 days to arrive. They’ve secured not only payment, but breathing room.

And by factoring their receivables, they’ll now only have to wait 5 days to see cash flow improve from their customer invoices

ORIGINAL CCC USING PO FINANCING
CCC = DIO – DPO + DSO CCC = DIO – DPO + DSO
CCC = 60 – 0 + 35 CCC = 60 – 12 + 5
CCC = 95 days CCC = 53 days


Improved cash cycle by 42 days

    (Get the full cash cycle formula and descriptions here.)

What is the end result?

With PO financing alone, the Gregory brothers shorten their cash cycle by 12 days. That means they will convert inventory into liquid cash almost two weeks faster.

If they also take advantage of factoring their customer invoices, they could shorten by 30 more days, so their cash cycle is dramatically shortened. That’s a big difference from the three-month timeframe without financial support.

 

Get more information on the cash cycle, how to calculate it and strategic tactics for your company:

Part 1: How to Determine Your Company’s “Cash Conversion Cycle” 

Part 2: 7 proven cash flow tactics every CFO needs to know          

Part 3: Leverage your assets to grow your working capital

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