Harnessing the Power of Technology Highly Commended: Asian Paints Ltd

Published: Jan 2024
White, pink, yellow and blue paint pots with paint brushes

Harshad Kanade

Treasury Manager
Asian Paints logo

Asian Paints Ltd is an Indian multinational paint company, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Early pay programme delivers for Asian Paints suppliers

The challenge

Asian Paints Ltd (APL) treasury team focused on opportunities that could generate higher sales, better operational efficiencies and a financially healthy supply chain ecosystem, all while enhancing cash flows and overall return on investments. The team faced challenges such as manual processes, resulting in human error, and limited digital capability, requiring additional support services. This demanded out-of-the box solutions.

The solution

  1. Accelerated import payment transaction processing – APL has significant raw material imports amounting to ~Rs4,400 Crores with payment terms of ‘document acceptance.’ The process meant suppliers submitted their documents along with the original bill of lading to their bank, which was then dispatched to APL’s bank. APL would share the acceptance to the bank and release documents to clear material from the port. This end-to-end process was tedious and risked human errors and thereby delayed processing and goods and created a negative supplier experience. APL’s treasury team collaborated with stakeholders to build an automated workflow involving the use of optical character recognition and emails. This workflow ensures relevant information from APL’s ERP has been taken through required validation checks for process accuracy, compliance to expected norms and therefore qualified imports. APL was able to significantly reduce process time from five to three days and save multiple full-time equivalent (FTE) head count. Many other cross-functional teams (accounting, audit, etc) also benefited from the resulting efficiencies.

  2. Set-up and scale an early payment programme in collaboration with C2FO – a financially healthy supply chain is critical to Asian Paints success. The team set-up a fully digital early pay programme in partnership with C2FO to provide easy access to working capital to its supply chain. The APL-C2FO partnership met the above objectives and provided enhanced returns to treasury funds. C2FO’s platform provided APL with the ability to digitise the overall supplier experience and provided suppliers with visibility of their invoices 24×7, plus choice and convenience of discounting at the time of their choosing. C2FO became a one-point contact for all supplier queries, freeing up APL. A testament to the success is that the programme has grown by four times (since inception), with over 300 suppliers benefiting by having faster access to their receivables.

  3. Digital channel financing programme to enable critical cash flow for dealers – APL has a countrywide dealer network. Access to working capital for these dealers is at times a challenge, thus limiting the inventory they can hold, impacting their own and APL’s growth. APL’s treasury and banking team in collaboration with ICICI bank designed and created a unique digital channel financing programme for APL’s dealers. This programme is digitally enabled with a simple experience. Its acceptance by dealers is reflected in the overall success and scalability of the programme, with 500+ dealers onboarded since programme inception (October 2021). APL’s top line has also grown by 15% from increased business volumes with the dealer network.

Best practice and innovation

APL’s focus on moving to a digital experience with the right touch for both internal and external stakeholders has led to drastic process improvements, reduction of resource costs and both tangible and intangible benefits. Out-of-the box thinking, leveraging technology in creating differentiated offerings, enhanced the overall experience and enabled scale and success.

Key benefits

  • Headcount savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Return on investment (ROI).

  • Increased automation.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Future-proof solution.

Testimonial from BM Roadlines Pvt. Ltd an APL supplier on the C2FO early pay programme:

“Asian Paints visionary approach shines through C2FO, which has been a game-changer for us. Despite uncertain times and economic turbulence, this platform drives our operations with timely capital infusion. Early payments have enabled mutual trust, strengthening our relationship with Asian Paints, and ensuring resilience during uncertainties. A notable instance was when rising fuel costs threatened our operations; C2FO’s rapid funding ensured uninterrupted services on our part, and all commitments were met.”

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 450 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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