Founded in 2016 and based in Knowsley near Liverpool, Fluid Science Ltd makes deionised water generators for sale or rent. It also supplies purified, deionised and demineralised water to dental surgeries, pharmaceutical manufacturers, test laboratories, printing companies, critical cleaning businesses, commercial window cleaners, chemical mixers and others.
In mid-March 2020, like many businesses, Fluid Science was concerned about the impact of the imminent COVID-19 lockdown. The potential cash-flow implications were sobering. They heard from one of their suppliers about a commercial opportunity to bulk purchase an anti-bacterial hand sanitiser solution, then set about establishing lines of supply opportunities within various market sectors.
Cash Flow Challenge
This new endeavour would involve diversifying, but Fluid Science had the technology, know-how and capacity. What it didn’t have was the cash flow needed to buy the raw materials and storage containers required. They needed to make significant stock milestone payments over a number of weeks, whilst waiting for outstanding invoices to be paid, meaning more cash leaving the business than coming in. “It’s a classic cash flow challenge that many businesses face,” comments Aldermore Business Development Manager, Invoice Finance, Tariq Bourdouane.
“Simon Taylor, Fluid Science’s General Manager called me on Monday 31 March,” recalls Bourdouane. “He told me that they needed trade finance to make a first supplier payment, due on Friday 10 April and subsequent supplier payments that would soon be payable. Understanding the client’s situation and timescales, we worked quickly to get the facility turned around, despite the unique challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak brought and losing a few days to the bank holiday.”
“It was an extremely tight deadline and the lockdown didn’t help. But I have faith in our processes and people and we got the finance in place for 14 April, with Fluid Science getting a short payment extension from its supplier.”
Fluid Science’s directors had previously received finance from Aldermore. “That made things quicker, but checks and due process must still take place,” Bourdouane stresses. “As well as looking at the numbers, you must be sure that invoice finance is the right solution for the client. To speed things up, we did video calls and found other workarounds, for example, using electronic rather than wet document signatures.” After a lot of hard work, Fluid Science had the finance it needed, when it needed it despite the challenging environment - all completed within days and turned around quicker than it can take in normal trading conditions.
Understanding clients’ needs
Bourdouane adds: “We’re willing to adapt our processes to meet clients’ needs where possible – especially during something as unprecedented as the lockdown, where businesses really need our support. We understand our clients’ practical needs and circumstances and we’ll go that extra mile to help them.”
Having since developed an anti-viral surface disinfectant, Fluid Science can now count among its new customers several large facilities management companies, which work with warehouse, retail, haulage and logistics companies. These have needed to ensure very high workplace hygiene standards to remain operational during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Bourdouane says: “All credit to Fluid Science for diversifying so quickly and successfully. We’re delighted to have been able to pull out all the stops to make sure they’ve had the finance they need and support their business during these challenging times. It really was an exceptionally quick deal in exceptional circumstances,” he concludes.
Fluid Science’s General Manager, Simon Taylor, on his experience of the process commented “I have worked with Aldermore previously, as one of our Group Companies, Fluid Safety, has an existing factoring facility with them, and have always found them to offer an exceptional service and competitive pricing together with providing an approachable and friendly customer experience.
“It was therefore an easy decision to contact them first with our requirements in order for us to be able to finance this unique new opportunity. I must say that Tariq and John Rees, our account manager, impressed me greatly with both the speed with which they took up the time critical challenge, and the intensity that they brought to the process in seeing it through to a successful conclusion. We received the finance in time for when it was required and were therefore able to meet our obligations to our suppliers and build confidence with them that we were indeed a good company to partner with on this project.”
Fluid Science are now supplying their products to companies such as Network Rail, Britvic Drinks, Mitie Facilities Management along with public sector organisations including many local councils, the NHS and the Ministry of Defence.
“A big thank you goes out to all at Aldermore for making this happen, we expect that the revenue generated this year from being able to grasp this opportunity will be in the region of £2 million and Aldermore have played a very large part in that.”