DS-Concept Shares Insights on Global Factoring Practices
DS-CONCEPT, AN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FINANCE FIRM WITH 13 GLOBAL OFFICES, SUPPLIES FACTORING TO APPAREL COMPANIES TO SUPPORT THEIR GROWTH. CHRIS CHANG, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DS-CONCEPT USA AND CHINA, SHARES HIS INSIGHTS ON GLOBAL FACTORING PRACTICES FOR THE RAPIDLY EVOLVING APPAREL AND TEXTILES SECTOR.
What exactly do you offer? Please explain your programme?
DS-Concept provides powerful, new and innovative international cash flow solutions, tailored for global clients. Focused on the small and mid-market, our core product is non-recourse export factoring. With emphasis on eliminating trade risk, our non-recourse export factoring allows clients to leverage an often unutilised asset, their international accounts receivable, free up cash flow for other endeavours and continue to grow their business. While DS-Concept provides each client with a unique, tailor-made solution based on location, products, customers and payment terms, funding is fairly simple and straightforward.
There are three steps:
1. DS-Concept inspects the creditworthiness of the client's international customers.
2. DS-Concept buys receivables from the client's export business, and pays them the advance amount (typically, upon shipment).
3. DS-Concept handles the management of the client's accounts receivable as well as the complete dunning process. Because we offer non-recourse financing, we provide 100 per cent insurance against deficit or shortfall of payment, should our client's customer not pay due to insolvency.
In addition to export factoring, DS-Concept offers import and supply chain financing.
What percentage of your overall clientele comprises the textile vertical? What specific segments in the textile and apparel industry avail your facility?
Our company has its origins in the financing of the Turkish textile trade, so the textile and apparel industry continues to play a major role in our business. Currently, we work with many textile and apparel producers and traders in many countries including China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam. The apparel and textile sector currently makes up about 40 per cent of our firm's portfolio. DS-Concept is industry agnostic. We finance a wide variety of industries and products. The majority of our clients in the textile and apparel sector are exporting readymade garments or home textiles. Typically, these exporters sell to major retailers and wholesalers in the United States of America, Europe and the Middle East.
What are the common obstacles faced by textile and apparel companies in managing cash flow?
The most common obstacle an exporter faces is the increasingly long payment terms requested by major buyers. As payment terms go from 60 to 90 days and even 120 days in some cases, it becomes increasingly difficult for the exporter to invest in day-to-day operations and virtually impossible to invest in the growth of the company. Costs of raw materials, marketing expenses, R&D, hiring staff and opening a new facility are challenging tasks when the exporter's cash is tied up in international open accounts receivable.
What are the latest technologies used? Which of these do you use?
While we pride ourselves on our personal touch and hands-on approach, we have adapted to streamlined factoring software. Of course, this is something you get from every factor. With our team of trade and finance experts, we differentiate ourselves by providing a consultancy-like approach that our competitors are not fit to or qualified to offer. DS-Concept has recently partnered with the cloud-based supply chain management platform, GT Nexus. By leveraging the historical sales data on the platform, DS-Concept is now providing fully comprehensive supply chain finance for many buyers and sellers in the global apparel trade. Harnessing the power of the GT Nexus, we can better assess client needs and provide faster funding to global suppliers with higher advance rates.
How do you ensure accuracy and speed simultaneously?
Our global team comprises representatives from four different continents. So, we can provide round-the-clock customer support and funding within 24 hours. We assign each client a specific account manager, but also rely on our global network to better align our client's global business needs.
How many brands are you associated with?
We finance sales to many brands in the United States of America and Europe. These include Gap, Ralph Lauren, H&M, Dockers, Target, Walmart, Steinmart, Debenhams, Arcadia Group, Urban Outfitters, Express, Forever 21 and many more.
What percentage of your clientele comes from Asia? What is the growth percentage recorded in sales from this region?
About 70 per cent of our apparel and textile clientele is based in Asia. With our firm's offices in places like China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey, we tend to be a natural fit for exporters located in these key markets and the global brands sourcing from these locations. Our business in Asia has grown 30 per cent year-on-year in the last two fiscals.
Please state some of your observations on the working of the global apparel industry.
One of the most obvious, but important, trends has been the movement of apparel manufacture to south-east Asia. As China quickly transforms into more of a consuming market, we have seen many of the low-margin manufacturers disappear or relocate to places like Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. There is still place in China for highly skilled manufacturers, and it will be there for the foreseeable future. But with rising wages, it is inevitable that more producers will have to do the same to keep up with strict price demands from the major brands. We are noticing how exporters have to compete on payment terms in order to secure major, and even regional, buyers. Without offering open account payment terms, many textile and apparel exporters are getting left behind. Our non-recourse export factoring is a great tool to equip the exporter with sufficient working capital and credit protection to offer longer payment terms to new and existing global buyers. Regardless of the short and long-term trends, DS-Concept will continue to follow and service the needs of the apparel and textile trade around the globe. With clients in over 70 countries, we are well equipped to support growing exporters in both the emerging and developed markets.