A flexible Trade Finance facility has given Sydney business Ayonz the security and cash-flow to grow during COVID-19 at a time when many other import-export entities have stalled.

Amid a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc on international supply chains, consumer lifestyle products supplier Ayonz has just kept on growing.

The business specialises in home appliance and technology brands that are sold in retail outlets, through resellers and via online shopping channels.

Director Ziad Yaacoub says COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of Ayonz’s online customer base, in particular, as people seek online access to products. Given people’s inability to travel domestically and overseas, they have spent a large proportion of their discretionary finances on televisions, ovens, refrigerators and audio systems.

“Household appliances is one of the biggest categories that has benefited through COVID-19,” Ziad says. “We work with European and Japanese brands to bring in stylish, innovative, quality products at a value proposition. That’s what has led to our growth and continuous success.”

Family affair

Launched in 2016, Ayonz is a family business that prides itself on being different to its competitors.

The Ayonz team, operating out of its Sydney headquarters and with regional offices around the world, focuses on customised brand selection, introducing overseas brands to new local markets and expanding existing brands into new categories.

Ziad says existing suppliers in the market have become “stale”, while customers have been “screaming” for better products and service. Among Ayonz’s product line is Blaupunkt (electronics), Brooklyn (audio products), EKO (TVs and audio products), Germanica (home appliances) Seiki Svision (home appliances) and Urbanworx (technology and kitchen appliances).

The key for Ayonz is being involved in every stage of a customer’s journey – from the initial tailored product design and purchase of goods through to after-sales support and servicing.
“From day one we set out for the company to be an extension of our customers’ businesses where we deliver complete solutions,” Ziad says.

Formidable partnership

Strong ties with reputable manufacturers that count the likes of Electrolux and Samsung among their clients has given Ayonz an import edge during the pandemic as it has sought to manage gaps in supplies because of international border closures and freight disruptions.

“We’re not relying on shipments to come out of Europe where it can take five to eight weeks.”

Ziad says the flexibility and security of a Trade Finance facility with ScotPac has also been crucial. The facility increases Ayonz’s international purchasing power, allows the business to easily buy more stock and increase revenue, and comes with an Invoice Finance facility that helps cover cash-flow gaps for up to 180 days. It also locks in foreign exchange to take advantage of favourable currency rates. The facility complements Ayonz’s Invoice Finance facility, which funds sales invoices as soon as they are raised. A dedicated ScotPac finance portal has also brought additional accounting rigour to the business’s operations.

“We’ve found that ScotPac’s offer suits us perfectly, as if it was made for our business,” Ziad says. “It’s enabled us to react very quickly to market forces.”

In 2017, with sales rising and Ayonz struggling to keep up with 30 per cent year-on year growth, the management team turned to ScotPac on the recommendation of a finance broker for assistance in managing cash-flow, in particular.

“They came on board and quickly had a good understanding of our business model,” Ziad says.

The upshot is that Ayonz went from being cash-strapped to an engine of growth.

Crucially, Ziad says having the backing of ScotPac has allowed the business to ramp up import orders, safe in the knowledge that sufficient cash will be in reserve.

“The facility has enabled us to plan for consistent shipments to meet our customers’ requirements, without being affected by any unforeseen delays from factories or from shipping lines. ScotPac pays the factories once products are on board. So it reduces risks and financial costs that we would have had to endure if there were any delays while stock is still sitting in factories.”

Ziad says the arrangement provides real peace of mind.

“Because of ScotPac we’ve been able to go to our customers and accept orders that we initially didn’t plan on accepting. They’ve backed us and said ‘yes, we can support those orders’ and we have gone ahead with them.”

Strong supply chains

The Ayonz management team is continually improving its supply-chain management and supplier development processes to serve customers.

Great customer service has also held Ayonz in good stead. Ziad says fast deliveries, prompt responses to consumer queries and clever use of social media platforms has been a key element of Ayonz’s growth. For example, Facebook chats for customers who want instant access to information have been part of a pledge to provide quick technical support.

“Consumers have adopted social media and so have we. We’ve made social media not just about marketing but to assist customers with their queries.”

With Ayonz’s post-pandemic future looking strong, Ziad is confident the partnership with ScotPac will continue to thrive. He has been impressed with ScotPac’s diligence and attention to detail.

“They understand our challenges and their people are skilful in understanding our industry and that has helped us and them. I think 2021 is going to be a bigger and better year for both entities.”

Ziad has no doubt that ScotPac brings surety and peace of mind for Ayon’s international trading partners.

“It just gives a level of comfort to our suppliers and factories when they see a respected financial acting on behalf of a company like ours. It gives us scale and it gives us scope and adds to the professionalism that we portray.”