Cooperación en el financiamiento: implicaciones para la cadena de suministro automotriz en México

Guillermo Pérez-Elizundía, Jesús F. Lampón, José Alfredo Delgado-Guzmán


Objetivo:Estudiar si el factoraje inverso es la solución al problema de financiamiento de la cadena de suministro de la industria automotriz mexicana. Asimismo, identificar y analizar los determinantes que hacen eficiente su adopción.

Método:Estudio de caso cualitativo a través de entrevistas en profundidad a una muestra de intermediarios financieros líderes en México, que suponen entre el 60% y 80% del volumen de factoraje del país.

Principales hallazgos:Elementos como la simplificación de los procesos de implementación, un marco jurídico robusto, y especialmente un enfoque colaborativo entre compradores y proveedores, son clave en la adopción del factoraje inverso.

Originalidad: Este trabajo evalúa aspectos de colaboración en el financiamiento de las cadenas de suministro automotriz, más allá de los aspectos operativos tradicionalmente analizados en la literatura previa. Además, la investigación adopta una perspectiva integral, analizando todos los actores implicados en el factoraje inverso; compradores, proveedores, intermediarios financieros y administraciones públicas.


The Mexican automotive supply chain is dominated by large foreign-owned multinational corporations (MNC) that maintain asymmetrical power relations with most of their suppliers. Mexican companies in this automotive chain are mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) located at the lower levels of supply. However, these asymmetries of power generally result in the imposition of long payment terms and the transfer of financing costs to these SMEs located at the lower levels of the chain, which in turn jeopardize the continuity of many Mexican suppliers and, in the long term, the stability of the entire automotive chain.

On top of that, financing continues to be one of the main obstacles faced by SMEs in Mexico. The lack of a credit history and collateral, the extreme perception of risk by financial intermediaries due to the lack of information, the complexity of credit processes for many of these companies, high transaction costs and regulatory and bureaucratic barriers are some of the factors that hinder access to financial resources for these types of companies.

The combination of existing power asymmetries and lack of credit in turn translates into risks for the entire automotive supply chain, including MNEs. In turn, the lack of credit to SMEs has a great economic and social impact in Mexico, derived from their high level of contribution to GDP (52%) and employment (72%). Hence the relevance of this type of companies and the need to strengthen their performance through credit, as they have a substantial impact on the country's economy and social welfare.

As a solution to this problem, financial intermediaries have developed products aimed at SMEs such as supply chain finance (SCF) and its derivatives such as reverse factoring (RF). Although the literature suggests that RF improves access to liquidity for suppliers, in practice, the process of adopting this means of financing is complex and slow, which has led to a relatively low degree of application as a supply chain financing solution. Based on the above, the objective of this paper is to deepen the analysis of the determinants that enable RF to be a solution for financing the automotive supply chain in Mexico. Unlike previous works in the literature, this research adopts an integral perspective, analyzing all actors involved in reverse factoring: buyers, suppliers, financial intermediaries and public administrations.

To address the research objective, this paper uses a qualitative approach, through a case study, in which information was collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with a sample of the main financial intermediaries operating factoring in Mexico (commercial banks and nonbank banks). This sample of intermediaries concentrates 90% of the volume operated in the sector and manages close to 200 programs with more than 21 thousand suppliers affiliated to these programs. The work was directed towards the providers of this product i.e., financial intermediaries, since they have in-depth knowledge of the structure and design of their programs, their operating procedures and the results of their application.

To select the interviewees, a non-probabilistic, intentional-selection, judgmental sampling was used to obtain the opinions of the factoring experts. As part of the case method, the request to collect information was sent to all members of the Mexican Factors Association (Amefac), obtaining eight responses. These eight participants represent between 60% and 80% of the factoring volume operating in the country, composed of five large banks, two niche banks, and one large nonbank bank. The results of the analysis are presented through different outputs of MAXQDA Analytics Pro, namely the code matrix, the code cloud and the co-occurrence map.

The results of this analysis show that the automotive sector is considered by the interviewees to be a strategic sector for RF, due to the large number of potential users of its programs, especially at lower levels of the chain, generally SMEs with Mexican capital. In this context, although the current use of RF is inefficient and its degree of penetration low, the presence of MNEs with a large purchasing capacity, economic solvency and a broad supplier base make this financial product an essential tool for financing the Mexican automotive supply chain.

In line with the determinants highlighted by the literature in the adoption of RF, aspects related to design, implementation and operation are unanimously considered essential for improving the efficiency of the programs. Elements such as the reduction of prerequisites to start operations, the simplification of processes and information technologies are determinants in the adoption of RF programs aimed at the Mexican automotive supply chain. Likewise, both the legal framework and the development of electronic invoicing are recognized as key variables in the literature and contrasted by the results of this research for the efficient adoption of RF in the automotive sector.

Beyond the operational aspects traditionally analyzed in previous literature, the results of this research have also highlighted the cooperative aspects as key determinants for RF to be a solution in automotive supply chain financing. The lack of a shared collaborative objective between supplier and buyer is pointed out in this work as one of the main problems for the efficient adoption of RF in the automotive sector. In this way, a collaborative approach fosters a greater linkage in the relationships, beyond the mere supply of auto parts, between the companies that make up the Mexican automotive supply chain.

Important implications for public decision-makers and society can be drawn from the research results. Public administrations and development banks can jointly influence through policies that guarantee an institutional environment that favors the adoption of RF by domestic SMEs. These institutions should promote policies so that RF can operate under a sound legal and regulatory framework with greater legal certainty for financial intermediaries. Public policy makers could incorporate specific support for RF operations related to cooperation and co-development practices with other companies. Development banks, in turn, should focus on covering segments of activity not covered by financial intermediaries, encouraging the elimination of market imperfections that distance SMEs from the institutional financial system, through RF programs. The need for a review of the anti-fraud regulations imposed by Mexican authorities, which have implied excessive additional controls that complicate the adoption process, is also evident.

An improvement in the performance of financial intermediaries in RF determinants identified in this study, together with greater access to information on companies through credit information companies, will effectively contribute to less credit rationing and therefore greater financial inclusion of SMEs through RF. This in turn will result in lower costs, greater competitiveness, and better quality of products and services, from which the end consumer will benefit. In turn, a greater participation of SMEs in the national economy would mean greater job creation and economic development in the country.

© Revista de estudios regionales 2014 Universidades Públicas de Andalucía