Dubai, UAE: Digitalisation, using artificial intelligence, administrative efficiency, and systematic risk analysis are among the key ingredients to ensuring an efficient payment processes across the supply chain - according to industry experts speaking at a recent webinar hosted by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Titled ‘Robust Mechanisms and Processes for making Prompt Payments to Suppliers and Subcontractors,’ the webinar, was organised by Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business as part of a Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network Task force on prompt payment practices for suppliers and subcontractors, which was launched in July this year to support businesses navigate through the challenges of COVID 19.
The virtual event was attended by more than 80 participants, mainly from supply chain, purchase, procurement, accounts and finance departments representing companies operating in various economic sectors and fields.
Sharing insights and best practices during the webinar were Carmen Vidal, Chief Procurement Officer, ENGIE – Middle East, South & Central Asia and Turkey; Gilbert Esper, Senior Manager, Strategy and Development, InfoFort; and Yousef Al Sadi, Head of Credit Risk Underwriting – Euler Hermes Middle East.
Recommendations highlighted by the speakers included conducting a systematic risk analysis of business decisions and suppliers and buyers’ background and their business contexts; deployment of new technology; continuously reviewing and improving procurement processes; and diversifying customer portfolio for risk mitigation. The speakers emphasised the importance of payment on time and investing in Robotics Process Automation to reduce cycle time, decrease internal lead time and minimise human errors.
Dr. Belaid Rettab, Senior Director, Economic Research and Sustainable Business Development Sector, Dubai Chamber, pointed out that the immediate payment of subcontractors and suppliers is at the forefront of issues of concern to the business community, stressing that late payments are a major factor in limiting the activities and operations of companies and delaying the completion of projects.
Rettab stressed the importance of establishing a working group for immediate payment of subcontractors and suppliers of the Dubai Chamber of Sustainability Network, reiterating that the aim of organising the virtual seminar is to communicate with representatives of companies and inform them of the best practices and mechanisms that Dubai Chamber is working to develop in this field.
Rettab explained that the Chamber Network for Sustainability is involved in ongoing discussions around the most important sustainable practices in business sectors and fields to spread knowledge and share expertise, especially in the current period that is defined by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the webinar, Dr. Kamel Mellahi, Senior Manager, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), Dubai Chamber, noted that prompt payment for subcontractors and suppliers was essential. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business - especially small and medium enterprises, he said, highlighting that late payment can be the difference in staying in business or going out of business. He emphasised that members of the Prompt Payment Task Force are working very hard to understand the root causes of the problem of late payment and come up with valuable solutions.
The online public webinar is the first activity of the Task Force on Prompt Payment Practices for Subcontractors and Suppliers, which was established in July this year with the aim of supporting the business community in the post-Covid-19 period. The Task force aims to understand the causes of late payments, provide guidance and advice on the importance of immediate payment, enhance companies’ awareness of this through a series of virtual workshops, and strive to create workable solutions to overcome this particular challenge that contractors and subcontractors face.
The Dubai Chamber Sustainability Network is devised as an essential platform for the business community and was launched in 2010 by the Chamber’s Business Ethics Centre to exchange information and experiences on best practices in the application of corporate social responsibility. It serves as a club that brings together all companies interested in the field of responsible and sustainable social practices.
Numbering more than 70 companies, with the network including nine Task forces dealing with various topics related to responsible and sustainable business practices, the Dubai Sustainability Chamber Network acts as an effective tool for disseminating best practices and generating sustainable solutions to the challenges that the private sector faces in relation to its activities and operations.
The Dubai Chamber Centre for Responsible Business, which was launched by Dubai Chamber in 2004, is the longest established centre of its kind in the UAE and plays a prominent role in promoting the concept of social responsibility for business. The centre encourages Dubai Chamber members to apply responsible business practices that contribute to enhancing the performance and competitiveness of their organizations.