Supply Chain Finance and Moving Beyond the Payment Terms Debate

Looking Back and Forging Ahead. A distinctive view on Supply Chain Finance and the evolution of trade related financing which shaped this solution throughout history.

Agrarian Era

Of course it was all so much simpler in the days of early agrarian markets. You yoked your oxen, or 1st born to the cart loaded with the bounty of your fields and made your way to the centre of town. There you laid out your stall and proceeded to barter and exchange between trading partners. The market provided easily discernible price discovery as exchanges of value occurred on the spot, visible to all and each participant adjusted their bid/ask position according to the immediacy of supply and demand and the velocity at which the exchange of value occurred. Most importantly you returned home with the proceeds from your days commerce tucked discreetly somewhere or securely strapped to the cart; a testament to the immediacy of settlement that underpinned the integrity of the marketplace.

Mercantilism Era

Population growth, global spice trade and the demand for more products and services ushered in the era of mercantilism. In this era specialized trading companies, the forerunners to commercial banks, provided trade liquidity, bills of exchange and early factoring models to provide some level of risk management for importers as well as exporters. It could be argued that the Industrial revolution was in fact a credit revolution as the mix of elements led to massive plant construction, market growth and education of consumers to consume – commonly known as Marketing in today’s world – all the while requiring providers of capital to underpin this activity with credit. Access to working capital and cash flow was the key driver for the global trade.

Industrial Military Complex

The rise of the Industrial Military Complex and its fostering of large scale manufacturing across multiple locations has had a significant impact on what we now call the supply chain. Whilst the processes it spawned drove economies of scale in manufacturing to hitherto unknown efficiency levels including the later development of manufacturing standards such as Just in Time, 24 hour replenishment and cost to serve modeling, it also drove the de-coupling of the consumer to the source of goods and the agrarian experience of consumer-supplier direct negotiation. The advent of marketing and advertising via catalogues, radio and television completed this separation and created what could be termed the “Era of designing the consumer experience.” The consumer intimacy with the end supplier was no longer as relevant. All goods were neatly packaged along with inspirational messaging as to why you needed this brand in preference to others and sourced from this preferred distributor. Who the manufacturer was or where they resided became less and less an important component of final selection. Companies relied on their distribution channel and the marketers to influence the consumer behavior.

Post War Era

For the nascent supply chains the major changes were just commencing. Large scale production capability to achieve and maintain a competitive offering was required, which in turn meant significant capital outlay that banks were only too happy to finance as economic circumstance flowed and asset growth and lending of capital became highly profitable industries in their own right. Throw in low cost country sourcing and the rise of more educated consumers globally plus the enmeshing of sophisticated financing options under the banner of ‘Global Trade Finance’ all to fuel the beast that today we know as the global economy. Apart from the regular economic cycles where suppliers re-learnt (and continue to do so), the harsh lessons of delayed cash flow and bad management of their receivables other irritants from a supply chain perspective began to surface in the form of heavily scrutinized balance sheets. Acronyms like DSO (Day Sales Outstanding) and DPO (Days Payable Outstanding) became part of the daily jargon of credit providers and the new overseer in town; the market analyst. Woe betide the CFO whose DPO or DSO were not matched to, or better than, accepted industry standards according to the latest equity analyst report. As a response, the era of squeezing the supply chain, especially so on payment terms began in earnest. The true value of minimizing the amount of capital you use in your business is calculable and the benefits clear to all none more so than those whose role is to apportion investment funds and deploy capital to businesses on behalf of the many millions of contributors to the localized savings, superannuation and 401k plans, in other words the savings of the very consumers driving economic demand. The stage we find ourselves today at is one of increased velocity and transparency of data as the boundaries between markets layers dissolve. What does this imply in terms of working capital and payment terms?

The informed consumer and the end of the traditional receivable

Remember the agrarian market model described at the beginning of our journey? Well it’s back courtesy of the Internet as well as the mobility, immediacy and transparency of data. And the era of the ‘marketing to the designed consumer’ is over. The observed is now the observer. Via internet, smart phones and big data availability, consumers are driving what I term the ‘individualization of the buying experience’. Price comparison, real time data and multiple choice distribution channels put the consumer in charge of and having influence over many aspects of the buying experience and the supply chain. This includes: price discovery, comparison, optioning and customization of products, real time feedback, etc. The informed consumer demands for authentic and up to date information is endless and growing and may include questions such as: Is it fair trade, was child labour involved in the production, what is your carbon footprint, etc. All these demands are changing the nature of consumption reflecting a consumer in charge of the process and consequently acting as a direct participant in today’s global supply chain; similar in some respect to the market experiences our agrarian forebears experienced. Such changes reshape how the supply chain is managed; and reshaping always involves capital investment. In amongst this what role the financial markets and what new models might transpire? In terms of financial markets we are familiar with highly sophisticated systems matching buyers and suppliers with immediate settlement terms globally across an array of commodities. Such market making and risk management activities on the macro level are already filtering down to the consumer level in real time and through highly efficient channels, which in turn will further impact global supply chains and access to on demand working capital. Coming back to the title of this article, how then is this related to Supply Chain Finance and the debate on payment terms? In today’s market the informed consumer is firmly in charge and more arrive with confidence to the market than ever before. The diversity and individualization of the buying experience has markedly increased the velocity on the consumer side of the transaction and the settlement of that value exchange. This is also true at the macro level where value exchange and settlement activities such as $100M of oil contracts for delivery settled at the speed of light. Isn’t it therefore somewhat archaic for the supply chain to wait for 30-60-90 or even more days for payment of goods and services already delivered? Sadly such settlement velocity on the macro level has yet to permeate into supply chain payments. However when looking at a company’s position with respect to the buyer’s DPO and supplier’s DSO the conversation is still stuck in the old arm wrestle of my payment terms versus your payment terms. One way or another one side invariably loses or at best comes off in reasonable shape. One party’s working capital will be adversely affected. Maybe more surprisingly, it is not always the case that the supplier that is negatively impacted. For example early payment discounts may not be always in the buyer’s best interest depending on the Return On Capital Employed (ROCE) hurdle rates they set or their ability to accurately manage their working capital and make efficient use of their cash.

Supply Chain Finance

The time has come to move the conversation to a point where the debate is not about 90 days versus 30 days and I don’t trivialize the difference here, but rather centered on the ability of the supplier to access the buyer’s initiated on-demand financing and accessible through the sale of the supplier’s receivables in order to improve their working capital and accelerate cash flows to fund commitments, innovation and profitably grow their business. After all the reality is that the supply chain is increasingly exposed to the disruptive, yet opportunity-creating behaviour generated by the end consumer. Therefore, why should the supplier not have access to the same payment and settlement velocity enjoyed in other market layers previously mentioned? Supply chain finance has become a key solution for leading organization allowing them to shorten their payment and settlement time at a considerable level in order to remain competitive. Gone are the days where an organization could just look at its own DSO and DPO to improve its working capital without considering the other constituents in its supply chain. Today’s new supply chain finance models provide a holistic approach allowing both side of the trading equation to improve their financial strength and remain competitive. Such solutions managed by highly efficient processing platforms offer suppliers payment on an earlier date rather than the actual, later maturity date-in most cases reducing their payment terms by over 80%. On the other side the buyer has the opportunity to improve its working capital by optimizing its payment terms. The difference of time between collection date by the supplier and repayment by the buyer is bridged by a third-part funder providing financing based on the buyers’ credit rating. This creates a win-win solution with the ability for the buyer to standardize payable terms, while giving the option to the suppliers to get paid in just a few days instead of 60 or 90 days.

Looking Back and Forging Ahead

Every business model during the different eras has either reshaped itself to exploit or withstand prevailing conditions, or has been reshaped by those prevailing conditions. Companies who accept that the only protection against oblivion is a constant willingness to innovate and move away from processes that no longer serve them or their supplier’s best interests will grow and profit from that change. Throughout history one constant has remained and will continue to be front and centre. Access to efficient working capital and cash is a fundamental component in the ability of buyers and suppliers to cooperate and exploit the market conditions in front of them. Supply Chain Finance has become a critical element in the ability for supply chains to keep pace with the expectations of today dynamic consumer driven markets.

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Stephanie Wargo

VP, Global Head of Marketing

Stephanie joined PrimeRevenue in 2015 and oversees the company’s global marketing team and strategy. With a data-driven approach, Stephanie focuses on demand generation and thought leadership to drive brand awareness, strengthen client/partner relationships, and generate new sales opportunities. Stephanie has guided PrimeRevenue through new technology releases and an evolving FinTech landscape. In addition to leading PrimeRevenue’s internal and external communications, she implemented innovative demand generation and marketing strategies to enhance the company’s overall sales pipeline.

Stephanie has extensive experience in marketing and customer success. She previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at BitPay and Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing at FirstView Financial. Stephanie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Brian Medley

VP, Global Head of Sales

Brian joined PrimeRevenue in early 2012, after more than 20 years of sales leadership, executive-level consultant and business growth experience. As VP, Global Head of Sales, Brian leads a growing team of fintech sales professionals with a focus on developing strong customer relationships, improving sales predictability and helping PrimeRevenue enter the lucrative mid-market.

Prior to PrimeRevenue, Brian honed his enterprise software sales leadership skills at Clarus Corporation. He also served as an operations and IT management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates. In addition to his sales and consulting background, Brian has deep experience in the financial industry having founded a successful residential mortgage broker and lending business. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology having earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics and M.B.A. in Global Business.

Jason Green

SVP, Global Customer Success

Jason joined PrimeRevenue in 2021 following more than two decades in the fintech/financial services industry. He brings a strong background is sales leadership due to his impressive relationship building capability as well as a successful track record in creating structure and process improvements. In his role, Jason uses his keen attention to detail to strengthen the customer experience and enhance the company’s solutions to deliver more value to clients.

Prior to joining the company, Jason held several senior level and executive roles with a focus on building and scaling sales and support organizations at both large and small companies. Jason graduated from Murray State University with a B.S in Marketing.

Matt Ford

SVP, Global Product Innovation

Matt joined PrimeRevenue in early 2015 and is responsible for overseeing all commercial, strategic and operational aspects of PrimeRevenue’s supply chain finance offerings throughout EMEA, based in Prague. He has been instrumental in gaining global alignment and developing supplier enablement processes for the region.

Matt joined PrimeRevenue following a 15-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in fixed income operations covering debt syndication through bonds, EMTNS, corporate loans and other debt securitization. Notably, he set up non-core location operations in Europe (Budapest) and all lending operations in Baltimore from scratch.

Matt, who was born and raised in South East England, earned a B.S. in Sports Science at University of Teesside where he mastered the art of TEAM development and accountability as a youth international rugby player.

Dominic Capolongo

EVP, Global Head of Funding

Dominic joined PrimeRevenue in 2016, and is responsible for leading our bank and capital markets funding strategies and execution. He focuses on building global, scalable and highly efficient funding structures that maximize options for supporting PrimeRevenue’s programs. Dominic began his career as an attorney and was a partner with Kaye Scholer before joining DLJ as a senior banker. Dominic brings tremendous strategic and capital markets experience in all areas of finance having held senior positions at, among others, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets in addition to DLJ. Dominic earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from SUNY Binghamton.

Gavin Cicchinelli

Chief Operating Officer

Gavin joined PrimeRevenue as Chief Operating Officer in 2021. With more than two decades of leadership and executive experience along with a deep understanding of the payments space, Gavin provides a unique focus on improving and strengthening operational strategies and implementing GTM growth execution. He is responsible for leading transformation across corporate and operational strategies as well as building a repeatable and scalable commercial growth strategy that aligns with PrimeRevenue’s core business while delivering key adjacent growth opportunities.

Prior to joining PrimeRevenue, Gavin served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of Integrated Solutions at TSYS, a global payment processing services company acquired by Global Payments (NYSE:GPN). There, he also served as Head of Product and divisional COO. Throughout his career, Gavin has held multiple leadership positions including VP of Sales, SVP of Business Development, and President of Financial Institutions. Gavin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

David Quillian

Chief Legal Officer

David joined PrimeRevenue as General Counsel in 2007. He and his team have been instrumental in successfully creating the unique legal structures that support PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder model and global funding capabilities. David is also the lead named inventor on PrimeRevenue’s two patents for Electronic Time Drafts, which allow PrimeRevenue to manage supply chain finance programs using electronic negotiable instruments as opposed to accounts receivable. Prior to PrimeRevenue, David was General Counsel at Harbor Payments, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2006, and Magnet Communications, which was acquired by Digital Insight (DGIN) in 2003. He holds degrees in Economics and History from Duke University, and Juris Doctor and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia.

Nathan Feather


Nathan has successfully ushered PrimeRevenue from our very early days as a visionary startup, through the financial crisis to today’s position as a thriving mid-sized leader in the cloud-enabled supply chain finance marketplace since joining PrimeRevenue in January 2006. He was instrumental in recapitalizing the company with an $80M investment led by BBH Capital Partners in 2015. Prior to PrimeRevenue, he held various financial management roles with Ariba, Freemarkets and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Nathan holds a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

PJ Bain


PJ has an impressive and accomplished track record as an enterprise software entrepreneur and executive. PJ has built a solid record of success with PrimeRevenue since being appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of 2009. The company has received numerous awards for growth, customer service, innovation, along with being recognized as a top employer.

PJ is a life-long software and technology entrepreneur having been involved in numerous firms in the roles of founder, executive, advisor and investor. Immediately prior to PrimeRevenue, PJ was the VP and General Manager of Exact Holding N.V. (NYSE/AMS: EXACT), a leading global provider of business software solutions. He was previously Founder and CEO of Inspired Solutions, an Atlanta-based, B2B software and services firm that grew to be the largest reseller of Exact Software in North America, later acquired by Exact. PJ holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.