c2fo

See How Costco Generated Billions in Capital Flows with C2FO.

This case study illustrates Costco’s strategy in providing a working capital solution for its suppliers, the criteria Costco used to choose C2FO and the overall results generated.

The Opportunity

As the world’s third-largest retailer, and a Fortune 500 company, Costco Wholesale is a multi-billion-dollar organization that has warehouse club operations across the globe and maintains a rich and diverse global supply base. In recent years, Costco recognized a challenging working capital environment. Specifically:

  • The loan environment for SMBs had been difficult since the financial crisis.
  • Sources of cash and other alternatives were expensive for Costco suppliers.
  • Costco’s investment yields on treasuries, commercial paper and bonds were at all-time lows.
  • The Challenge

    In seeking a new finance program for its suppliers, Costco had the following goals:

  • Improve supplier relationships while reducing costs and risks throughout the supply chain.
  • Use working capital in a more efficient manner.
  • Reduce internal costs and improve returns on short-term investments.
  • Minimize the use of internal resources and generate a fair return on cash.
  • Provide a program that appeals to most suppliers and meets their funding needs.

    After exploring options that included invoice factoring and creating an internal program, Costco chose to move forward with a dynamic discounting solution.
  • Costco Working Capital Flows Growth

    Bar chart showing positive growth

    Cumulative Supplier Participations

    line graph showing increase from 10,000 - 80,000 over a 6 year period for 186% annual growth

    The Results

    The Costco Early Payment Program through C2FO enabled suppliers to accelerate payment on invoices that they selected, at discounts that worked for them. With the goal of creating a win-win for Costco and its suppliers, the C2FO digital platform allowed suppliers to easily participate and take greater control of their cash flow. They could utilize C2FO to receive early payment from other customers as well.

    Cash Flow, Delivered — Within five years, early payments to Costco suppliers through C2FO grew a cumulative 186%.

    Days Paid Early — Costco suppliers that use C2FO receive early payment by an average of 22 days

    Supplier Adoption — Supplier participation in the Costco Early Payment Program continues to increase, most recently growing by 141% year-over-year.

    Optimized Income — The program has generated billions of dollars in capital flows for Costco suppliers, while providing Costco with significant income generation, increased gross margin, and a 400 to 500 bps increase in treasury yield.

    costco logo
    It’s not often you have an opportunity to make a fundamental change in the way business is conducted. Our partnership with C2FO is a great example of what can be accomplished when thoughtful, ethical organizations are willing to challenge the status quo.

    — Joseph E Grachek III,  VP Merchandise Accounting Controller

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