DBS and Doxa launch automated supplier payments solution for construction sector

Photo by Pixabay

DBS has introduced an automated supplier procure-to-pay solution for the construction sector developed by Singaporean fintech Doxa. Named Doxa Connex, the payments solution is a first for the sector in Singapore and it aims to help main contractors improve cashflow management with their suppliers as well as lift productivity and efficiency as they go all out to re-start projects after the extended circuit breaker. Main contractor Tiong Seng Group has signed up as the pioneer adopter.

Doxa Connex hopes to help main contractors eliminate often manual administrative processes that plague the construction industry. By automating payments from main contractor to supplier, Doxa Connex automatically tracks the entire process from a main contractor’s invitation to quote all the way to procurement orders to delivery orders to last mile payments.

Chew Chong Lim, Managing Director and Global Head of Real Estate, Institutional Banking, DBS said that the solution was conceptualised ground-up through several industry workshops organised with Tiong Seng Group and their supplier network at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in February this year.

“The purpose of the workshops was to understand and solve the construction industry’s pain points with a view to increase cashflow efficiency which is the lifeblood of the industry. Doxa Connex was also developed with a view to improve productivity and remove inefficiencies in the sector’s procurement and payment processes. These processes may look simple on paper but in reality are often cumbersome and fraught with missing documentation and patchy administration due to paper-based invoices and delivery orders having to change hands multiple times along the way.”

Once the solution was conceptualised, DBS and Tiong Seng Group then worked with Doxa through numerous ideation and solutioning workshops to build Singapore’s first automated supplier procure-to-pay solution.

Accounting for more than 4% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product, the construction industry has in recent years taken steps to embrace technology along the construction value chain. However, a recent study by Autodesk and IDC noted that only 2% of construction firms have automated most of their manual processes and the sector continues to rely heavily on manual and paper-based payment processes, with payments done predominantly using paper-based cheques.

Dr. John Keung, Chairman of Tiong Seng Contractors (Pte) Ltd, said that while the extended Circuit Breaker period had disrupted the operating cycles of all economies, it also highlighted the importance of digital connectivity along the value chain.

“As a leading local contractor, Tiong Seng is keenly aware of the need to embrace Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) in the entire value chain of the built environment sector, as promoted by the industry and the government in recent years. We have thus made digitalisation one of our core drivers for industry transformation. It is therefore an opportune time for us to make another major step toward IDD by launching Doxa Connex within Tiong Seng to spearhead the digital revolution of the built environment sector in Singapore and improve productivity as a whole.

According to data from Doxa, Doxa Connex digitalises and automates the majority of the manual procurement and payment processes and documentation, which could lead to a reduction in administrative fees and processing costs of at least 50%. Tiong Seng Group can also expect to reap time savings from the streamlined procure-to-pay (P2P) process and enjoy a significant reduction in working days required for administrative tasks enabling it to redeploy their employees to focus on higher-value work.

Chew added, “COVID-19 has accelerated the need for many industries to turn to digital solutions to continue operating safely even amid manpower constraints, and the construction sector is no exception. Proactive and timely digital transformation will put construction companies in good stead for recovery and growth when economic activity picks up and demand for construction services resumes.”