SINGAPORE (Jan 20): DBS Bank has launched a QR code-based solution to help food and beverage (F&B) operators with the largely cash and paper-based payments and collections with their suppliers and vendors.

SG5, a wholesale distributor of beer and stout, which was one of the first to pilot the business-to-business (B2B) payments and collections solution, expects to save up to 3,300 manhours a month from this initiative.

“On average, our frontline staff spend around 3.5 hours every day traveling to different parts of the island to collect cash and cheque payments,” says Alvin Chua, CEO of SG5.

SG5 is the main distributor for Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore – whose main brands include Tiger Beer, Heineken, and Guinness – to about 5,600 F&B retailers, including coffee shops, hawker centres and restaurants.

Developed after close to 20 digital workshops with F&B operators to map their payments journey and pain points, DBS’ B2B payments and collections solution facilitates cashless and faster F&B payments.

The end-to-end QR collection enabled platform, which is powered by DBS RAPID and DBS MAX, enables instant payments with automated accounts reconciliation functionalities in the backend.

It also allows customers to consolidate multiple invoices into one QR-code based transaction. Customers will have the flexibility to make full or partial payments for one or multiple invoices.

In turn, suppliers now have the option of enhancing credit terms for each invoice instantly. Suppliers can also send a QR code requesting for payment to their customers who are not on-hand to receive the goods in-person.

“Many SMEs we speak to want to realise productivity gains by becoming more digital but they don’t have the expertise or infrastructure to do so. By understanding their pain points and then laying the foundation for enhanced payments capabilities one sector at a time, DBS aims to lead the way in digitalising and streamlining the payments landscape in Singapore,” says Joyce Tee, DBS’ group head of SME Banking.

“Our aim is to enable our SMEs’ time-strapped workforce to be able to spend more time serving their customers and exploring new business opportunities,” she says, adding that digitalising payments for F&B players is the first step in transforming the cash-intensive B2B payments and collections landscape.

The bank says this also supports Singapore’s aim of enhancing productivity by eliminating cheques by 2025 and going cashless. 

“With the new payments solution and precious man-hours saved, I hope to be able to upskill my staff so that we can work together to bring the business to new heights,” says SG5’s Chua. “It will also be a boon to our cashflow as we will be able to receive payments instantly upon delivery of goods.”

Another F&B establishment to pilot the solution is Huber’s Butchery, a family-run business specialising in manufacturing and processing gourmet meat products for hotels, restaurants, marine and aircraft suppliers and caterers. In addition, it also has a consumer-facing retail shop and bistro.

Huber’s Butchery is one of the F&B retailers that SG5 supplies beer and stout to.

“Consumers today are digitally-savvy and we have equipped our frontline staff with digital payments systems. Similarly, our business partners are learning to harness technology for greater efficiencies so that as an industry, we can all experience greater productivity,” says Andre Huber, executive director of Huber’s Butchery.

DBS’ B2B payments and collections solution currently facilitates payments through PayNow in Singapore.

Through a series of digital workshops with clients from different industries, DBS plans to introduce the solution to the wider F&B ecosystem, logistics companies and import/export merchants later this year.