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Originally published by the Drinks Association on 31 May 2021

Business and consumer confidence are on a high following the strong economic recovery, however, small and medium drinks suppliers are still squeezed for cash and many cannot keep up with customer demand.

Aussie supply chain fintech, Earlytrade, has been adopted by Coles Group, Asahi, and Lion to empower their suppliers with invoice transparency and on-demand cash flow.

Case study: Earlytrade helps supplier rapidly expand premium range across Coles Liquor outlets

For her small gin distillery on-the-rise, having the cash flow in place is critical for Megan Donsky.

Her brand of premium gin, Winston Quinn Gin, ramped up from launch to national distribution in less than two years, adding increasing complexity to customer invoicing and payments.

She says the ability to have invoices paid in a transparent, timely way is important for her as a small supplier to major retailers, including the Coles Group.

“When Earlytrade was introduced I thought it was a fantastic idea,” she says.

“It just helps our cash flow. It recognises that we need that cash flow and it’s helping our industry.”

Earlytrade just helps our cash flow. It recognises that we need that cash flow and it’s helping our industry.

MEGAN DONSKY, WINSTON QUINN GIN

Ms Donsky moved from accounting into distilling two years ago and hasn’t looked back.

Winston Quinn Gin’s small batch spirits have taken out national awards and increased distribution across the country.

But it is the flexibility to have invoices paid earlier than usual that means the brand can continue to thrive.

“Getting paid means you can keep up with production,” she says.

“When you’re ranging and your product becomes so popular, you have to keep up with demand. Our product is premium and we don’t skimp on ingredients, the ethanol, the botanicals, all of that, we need [to purchase] that first before we can deliver.

“Having cash to roll that out is obviously great, otherwise it comes out of your own pocket and you just have to wait.”

Using the Earlytrade on-demand payment platform since late last year, Winston Quinn Gin’s invoices are being paid on average 15 days ahead of time with Coles Group.

Our product is premium and we don’t skimp on ingredients, the ethanol, the botanicals, all of that, we need that first before we can deliver.

MEGAN DONSKY, WINSTON QUINN GIN

As Winston Quinn is a small supplier they deliver and invoice to individual stores, meaning they might have dozens of invoices for the same company.

Using the Earlytrade platform gives visibility over what accounts are approved ready for payment, and what remains outstanding.

“It’s a good tracking mechanism,” she says. “Earlytrade gives you that exposure.”

Now they have a new ready-to-drink product set to hit the shelves, growing their business.

“We moved from small and boutique to a wider ranged distillery very quickly,” she says.


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