Just-in-time (JIT) came out of Toyota in the 1970s, and it was a revelation for manufacturers. Instead of building and storing costly car components, Toyota anticipated supplier requirements as needed during the manufacturing process, sidestepping having to pay for and store materials. Since then, JIT has become the hallmark of operational efficiency. No waste, no carrying cost, and the vanguard for lean operations.
Just-in-time has now permeated financial services, with applications across the flow of funds for supplier and customer programs. With JIT, organizations commit to spend and release funds in real-time to cover an individual transaction, freeing up critical cash flow to earn yield or to fund other initiatives until needed.
A classic use case: Prepaid cards
One of the ways that JIT funding is disrupting the status quo in existing enterprise workflows is through prepaid card programs. Traditionally funded annually or quarterly with a budget set aside from operating capital, prepaid cards required up-front payment to a vendor that would issue cards and fulfill logistics for the end consumer or user.
But, why should the enterprise pay for the card in Q1 if the customer doesn’t use it until Q3? And who’s earning yield on those funds in the meantime?
Breaking through with JIT
Just-in-time funding tackles those questions head-on to optimize cash flow and give enterprises the opportunity to put operating dollars to use before customers transact.
Let’s see how prepaid card programs could use JIT funding:
- Ana Jones qualifies for a $500 promotional gift card from
- Upon card activation, XYZ Company allocates $100 to a card funding account with pooled funds supporting all consumer cards. Based on typical consumer behavior, Alviere and XYZ Company estimate only $100 is needed to cover Ana’s card transactions for the next several business days.
- One week after receiving her card, Ana uses it to buy $50 worth of groceries. At checkout, funds are disbursed from XYZ Company’s card funding account instantly to fund Ana’s purchase.
The full $500 gift card value is not funded up-front or at first use. In fact, XYZ Company doesn’t allocate funds to Ana’s individual card until the moment she spends using the card. JIT funding from a card funding account allows XYZ Company to manage program funds in totality, only replenishing the account to maintain an appropriate balance as consumers spend.
XYZ Company allocates funds exactly when needed in real-time, on-demand, or simply just-in-time. Consumers like Ana spend as they wish, and enterprises maintain control and flexibility over cash flows throughout the program.
Don’t be fooled by “JIT-ish”
There’s a distinction in the definition of just-in-time worth clarifying with any card issuer. Sometimes, card issuers claim JIT capabilities, but the card must be fully funded at the time of user activation. In the example above, that would mean XYZ Company shelling out the full $500 for Ana’s card rather than funding it from a pooled account with individual funds disbursed on-demand. With Alviere, the company reduces near-term cash output by 80 percent and puts funds to use investing in other parts of the business.
Alviere works with enterprise clients to maximize existing money flows, including within prepaid card programs, using true just-in-time funding and a range of embedded financial solutions. If you’re trying to optimize cash flow across your organization, let’s talk.