The economic recovery in Italy appears to be caught in something of a tricky paradox: despite the fact that the general scenario is improving, the cost of borrowing remains at a historic low, and the banking system is still holding on to a large amount of capital, while companies and SMEs are complaining of major difficulties in obtaining credit.
The research carried out by the Digital Innovation observatory at the Polytechnic University of Milan, supported by IFABER and presented at the second edition of the conference entitled "Let's give credit to the supply chain", confirms the importance of the innovative development opportunities represented by the solutions offered by Supply Chain Finance (SCF).
A range of guests with extensive international experience on the subject of the SCF took part in the event, describing their respective case histories: the C-level professionals that compose the observatory's Advisory Board and senior managers from the finance, supply chain, purchasing and IT departments of some of Italy's biggest companies and Public Administration bodies.
The guest of honor was Michiel Steeman, Chair of the International Supply Chain Finance Community, who focused on the increasingly strategic role of Supply Chain Finance solutions in Europe
The research, conducted together with companies, financial institutions, associations, start-ups and service providers, reached a number of very encouraging conclusions for those deserving companies and SMEs that are willing and able to jump aboard the innovation train: it has become clear to everyone that we need to find a new approach to managing working capital along the industrial supply chain. Supply Chain Finance solutions enable companies to access more effective management models which facilitate access to credit, focusing in particular on the role that the company itself plays in its sector.In particular, the research supported by IFABER carried out an in-depth analysis of the current status of services, the providers able to offer solutions, and major international trends. The initiative sought to assess the financial performance of a supply chain in order to glean an understanding of where the critical issues lay, and to work out how to improve, identifying the most suitable SCF solutions. The study also analyzed the methods used to evaluate creditworthiness from an SCF perspective.
We can conclude that the Italian market is still too timid for SCF, despite the fact that these solutions could potentially be of great interest. The inescapable need to monitor working capital for businesses of all sizes was also clear, in addition to the lack of awareness of SCF solutions on offer. Finally, a critical issue of major importance also emerged from the study - namely, the continued inability of businesses to grasp the enormous advantages that stem from the digitalization of productive and administrative processes.
Having outlined the general scenario, then, only a few key questions remain: can the Italian manufacturing sector, in all its diversity and complexity, succeed in seizing this opportunity to access new sources of liquidity, so essential to improving business? Will Italian companies have the determination required to study and invest in Supply Chain Finance, opening up to innovation and digitalization? The future is already here: Where is Italy?