As part of its regional roll-out, Standard Chartered has launched its online trade platform in Singapore today following a successful trial period.
Unlike a lot of other bank platforms, B2BeX is an ambitious web-based system designed to manage every aspect of the trade process. Buyers can search for products online, place orders with suppliers, process documents, co-ordinate logistics, negotiate insurance and arrange financing. Though the system can be sliced and diced, giving users the option to choose just one or a couple of the available services.
Standard Chartered has said the platform transforms its role as a provider of trade finance to a facilitator of international trade. By putting importers and exporters on the same platform it makes them more competitive and efficient, said the bank, claiming that companies using the platform have experienced between 25% to 50% efficiency gains in their paperwork and administration.
"By applying Standard Chartered's trade finance experience across a bigger part of the supply chain, we have enhanced the bank's role in the business of trade," says Ken Stratton, Standard Chartered's global sales head for trade, supply-chain and B2BeX. "No longer simply a provider of traditional trade finance, we are becoming facilitators of international trade."
The development of B2BeX involved about 800 clients around the globe from a range of industries. In making a case for moving the trade process online Standard Chartered said B2BeX aimed to halve the administrative costs of doing trade. The bank's research stated that 60% to 70% of all trade documents contain some form of error and that between 5% to 10% of the total costs relating to an international trade transaction are associated with paperwork and administration.
Highlighting the benefits of the platform, one of the bank's Singapore-based customers said the ability to keep track of their trade finance activities from anywhere was a particularly attractive feature. "As a Singapore-based company, B2BeX empowers us in the international trading community," said Ivan Lim, executive director of Ban Joo & Company. "The straight-through processing of documentation such as letters of credit enables the efficient processing of the large volumes of cash and trade transactions that we generate daily."
Last year, B2BeX picked up an award in the Most Innovative Business to Business Initiative category from the UK-based Institute of Financial Services/British Telecom in its Financial Innovation Awards.