Understanding The Role Of Blockchain Technology In Streamlining Supply Chain Finance
The digital transformation wave has disrupted the way organizations conduct their day-to-day business activities, including supply chain finance (SCF). SCF processes can often be slow, inefﬁcient, and prone to errors due to excessive manual intervention. However, blockchain-the decentralized, distributed digital ledger technology—has the power to make the SCF process more streamlined, secure, and transparent by recording immutable transactions and keeping user information confidential.
What exactly is supply chain finance?
SCF, also known as reverse factoring, is a set of technology-based business and ﬁnancing processes that connects various parties involved in a transaction—buyers, sellers, and ﬁnancial institutions—to minimize ﬁnancing costs and improve operational efﬁciency.
Buyers opt for SCF which allows them to pay a fee to the financial institution and ensures that the supplier receives the complete payment in a timely manner. The supplier sends the invoice to the financial institution’s SCF platform. Using the same platform, the buyer approves the invoice and the financial institution releases the payment. Once the invoice matures, the ﬁnancial institution debits the amount from the buyer's account.
How does blockchain fit into this equation?
There are three major areas of concern for SCF – control, trust, and cost. These can be addressed by enhancing the speed and transparency of the entire supply chain, and this is where blockchain can play a significant role.
Blockchain technology provides a secure way to manage the end-to-end SCF process, from onboarding to ﬁnal disbursal, by:
•Registering transactions cryptographically using a shared database
•Enabling all the involved parties to work on a single, shared ledger through smart contracts
•Monitoring information and documents as they move from one user to another
•Creating and saving hashes on the blockchain for each invoice, based on predeﬁned parameters
•Detecting outstanding invoices or ﬁnances from the buyer or seller
•duplicate and fraudulent invoices and requests with dedupe checking
•Facilitating digital KYC, thereby reducing due diligence costs
What are the key advantages of blockchain-based supply chain finance?
Blockchain allows all the involved stakeholders to monitor the complete chain of events, thereby bringing more control and transparency into the process. Furthermore, blockchain technology adds numerous enhancements to the SCF process, including:
•Real-time visibility into transactions and validation of invoices
•Secure immutable ledger to store information related to ﬁnancial requests and invoices
•No risk of double-spending or redundant invoices across the chain
•Comprehensive reporting to analyze pending, approved, and rejected requests
•Automated disbursal and repayment using smart contracts
•Fast and easy supplier onboarding.
There are three major areas of concern for SCF control, trust, and cost. These can be addressed by enhancing the speed and transparency of the entire supply chain, and this is where blockchain can play a significant role
In a nutshell
For organizations across industries, strategic supply chain ﬁnancing is crucial for creating valuable relationships with their buyers and suppliers. The need of the hour is to digitize the complete process while bringing transparency and improving traceability across the SCF process.
Enterprises must consider selecting a solution for blockchain-based SCF to smoothly manage working capital, increase liquidity, mitigate risks, and enhance operational efﬁciency. By leveraging a digital solution, organizations can minimize costs across the chain. Blockchain-based SCF, with its potential to become the perfect platform for collaboration between all involved parties, is set to transform the future of supply chain finance.