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Hewden scoops industry awards for supporting construction supply chain

With new research* suggesting that 47% of manufacturing and construction firms are taking longer to receive customer payments than a year ago, Hewden is bucking industry trends, with new award-winning payment processes that can save customers up to 90% on administration costs.

The "responsible trading" scheme, managed by the company’s credit control team is designed to make it faster and simpler for customers to trade with the organisation, especially relevant during the country’s worst recession for 50 years.

As a result, Hewden has already scooped the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) 2010 awards in both the Performance Improvement category and for the Credit Professional of the Year award, given to credit manager, Linda Jones. In addition, within the last week, the company has also been shortlisted for categories in the Credit Today awards and the British Excellence in Sales and Marketing awards (BESMA).

Hewden recognised that buyers needed to be supplied with accurate payment information first time, as invoice queries cost customers both time and money to resolve. As a result, the company has reduced invoice disputes by 73% by providing customers with accurate payment information; enabling them to pay on time and without importing additional administration costs in to their own processes.

New options now available to Hewden customers include electronic trading, which includes a process whereby the invoice is delivered as electronic data straight in to the buyer’s IT system.

This makes it simpler for the customer to process the invoice accurately and on time; there is no risk of the paperwork being delayed in the post: there is no mail to sort and forward to the accounts’ department; there is no data to be scanned or inputted to the system and the likelihood of manual error is virtually eradicated.

These efficiency improvements also translate into significant cost savings. When compared with a conventional paper-based invoice, which can cost in the region of £50-70 to process depending on business size and complexity, savings in the region of 75 to 90 percent per invoice are achievable.

For many of its larger customers, Hewden also provides consolidated invoices, by grouping the equipment hired during the month in to one, manageable transaction. With less paperwork to handle, the buyer can post the invoice to the accounts payable ledger much more easily and the administration savings soon mount up.

In one example, a major, national contractor, operating projects across the UK has saved over £140,000 annually by moving to consolidated invoices. The organisation has cut the number of invoices it receives from around 300 to just one single transaction each month.

Hewden director, Kevin Parkes commented: "We understand that in these tough market conditions, cash flow, especially for some of our smaller customers continues to be tight, at times, making payment difficult. It is by working with buyers, and through streamlining our own debt recovery processes that we can pass on better efficiencies to our customers.

These latest award wins and nominations are a good, working example of the positive relationships we have developed with our customers and how we are working together to improve profitability for all parties in the supply chain."

*Research conducted by Bibby Financial Services among 300 business owners and managers.