Mastercard Builds Alliance to Digitalize Retail Supply Chains in Asia

Sep 2020

Mastercard has formed an alliance with N-Frnds, SGeBIZ and Finastra, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to create technology solutions for the retail supply chain and increase wholesalers’ access to credit in Asia. The collaborative solution would help FMCG marketing campaigns with wholesale, retail inventories and promotions to drive a more efficient supply chain and sales. The initiative will start in Indonesia with 500 retailers with the goal of reaching 5,000 retailers by the end of Q1 2021.

London-headquartered Finastra is a global leader in financial services software and cloud solutions, serving organizations ranging from global financial institutions to community banks and credit unions. Singapore-based SGeBIZ provides solutions for automation of essential business procedures such as procurement, Accounts Payable (AP), and payment. Meanwhile, N-Frnds with offices in Singapore and Rwanda provides a hybrid, multi-product distribution network for emerging markets, connects consumer goods brands, insurers and financial institutions with small retailers and consumers.

Under the partnership, Mastercard will leverage supply chain data from N-Frnds, SGeBIZ’s digital procure-2-pay platform and other sources to partner with Finastra and its Trade Bank customers to automate access to working capital finance. The collaboration will increase the digital data available to assess creditworthiness and create new models to evaluate it. Access to the resulting lines of credit will enable wholesalers to react more quickly to upcoming promotions, increase their inventory levels and build their businesses. By integrating digital payments and supply chain data with promotions, FMCG trade spend can be allocated more efficiently with better visibility and inclusion of SME retailers.

The alliance will leverage N-Frnds’ mobile solution, which optimizes logistics and operations by connecting FMCG companies with wholesalers for placing orders, coordinating deliveries and monitoring inventory levels, in order to better communicate upcoming promotional efforts between suppliers and wholesalers.

ADB is to provide funding for the pilot program, stakeholder engagement with respective entities and guidance on longer-term scale-up opportunities.

Even before COVID-19, ADB estimated there was a USD 1.5 trillion funding gap in 2018, with small-scale businesses being the most impacted. With the pandemic, the situation has worsened with SMEs in Asia finding it even harder to obtain access to credit and manage their cash flow.

(Sources: Global Trade Review; Mastercard; Mirage News)