United Overseas Bank (UOB) announced it has upsized its cloudbased integrated digital solution, UOB BizSmart, to help small businesses in the food and beverage (F&B) sector manage their suppliers more effectively. The Bank enhanced the UOB BizSmart solution by integrating into it a digital procurement platform, EzyProcure, that enables the small businesses to purchase and to pay for their goods quickly and easily.
Inventory management is one of the top productivity concerns for more than 60 per cent of F&B operators as many of them still carry out such processes manually, resulting in inaccurate or duplicate orders . In managing their inventory and suppliers, F&B operators generate purchase orders, confirm receipt of goods and reconcile and process payments. All these require manpower and are time-consuming. However, with the enhanced UOB BizSmart solution, the entire supplier management process is digitalised. As a result, F&B operators would be more productive as they could free up time and refocus on other activities such as business development.
Payments made through the enhanced solution’s EzyPayment service also benefit the entire supply chain. By tapping UOB’s Virtual Payment Solution, the payment service provides buyers with interest-free credit, giving them the flexibility to extend their credit cycle by up to 90 days so as to overcome cash flow concerns. Suppliers would receive payment immediately which improves their accounts receivables for better cash flow.
The availability of such cash flow data helps F&B operators to obtain bank financing as there is greater visibility on their day-to-day operations. With the detailed information, the Bank is able to determine the business’ creditworthiness more accurately and in turn, extend credit with more certainty.
With the upsized UOB BizSmart solution, businesses have a consolidated view of their operations as purchase records are integrated with their accounting and inventory management system. This helps F&B operators to streamline the reporting process, to view in real-time their transaction data to understand their purchasing patterns and to forecast future buying needs better.
Mr Lawrence Loh, Head of Group Business Banking, UOB, said, “Since we launched UOB BizSmart more than two years ago, we have been engaging more than 7,000 small businesses to understand their digitalisation needs. As businesses become more aware of the need to harness technology, we felt that it was timely to offer a solution that goes beyond automating back office processes to one that provides an holistic view of their operations.
“With so many small businesses in the F&B sector feeding the nation’s love for food, we want to help them improve their digital capabilities to overcome operational challenges. The upsized UOB BizSmart solution will help business owners increase their productivity, gain greater visibility of their day-to-day operations and financial position, and make business decisions with more certainty. The solution will also help F&B companies with their record keeping and this, given the inherent volatility of the sector, will put us in a better position to increase our support for them,” Mr Loh said.
Mr Edmund Louis Nathan, co-founder and CEO of Singapore e-Business Pte Ltd, said, “Many companies in the F&B sector are still hampered by inefficient processes. They often use a mix of manual processes and standalone solutions which leads to the business not having an accurate or real-time view of the state of their business. In the long run, it could also disadvantage the business and result in them becoming less competitive. By using the enhanced UOB BizSmart solution, F&B operators will not only be able to increase productivity, but also make to smarter buying decisions to stay ahead of the competition.”
One F&B business owner who is looking to benefit from the solution is Mr Russell Yu, Director and Founder of Iki Concepts. “We operate four F&B outlets with different dining concepts in Singapore. To meet our restaurants’ needs supplies are ordered from more than 60 vendors, resulting in the need for us to dedicate manpower to manage and to reconcile an average of 300 delivery orders and invoices per month. With the enhanced UOB BizSmart solution, we will be able to streamline the purchase and payment process and increase productivity for both our front of house as well as support teams. Apart from improving our efficiency, the ability to extend our cash flow and to obtain financing in a timely manner will ensure that we are able to respond quickly to business opportunities as they arise.”
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker