For small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), supplier management is often a challenge. Have you ever thought about what goes into onboarding a prospective supplier? The method requires submitting documents, filling out questionnaires, browsing background screening, and much more.
If you’re managing this process manually, that leaves room for error, adds delays to the method, and makes it difficult to deliver a superb supplier experience. Technology can easily streamline your (SCM) supply chain management. SMBs are increasingly investigating how the use of vendor portals can simplify operations and transform them into simpler partners.
Let’s see how investing in a supplier portal will be a crucial discriminator for your growing business.
What Should a Supplier Portal Do?
Imagine if your suppliers had a central website where they can submit invoices, download documents associated with their contract, upload items needed for supplier qualification, or check policy details on your FAQ. Increasingly, SMBs are turning to integrated software solutions to assist them to manage their procurement processes. These are 3 benefits of fast-growing companies and their supplier ecosystems should have:
- The real-time flexibility of self-service solutions to finish tasks, access documents, and ask for information
- Inline the supplier workflow, like reviewing compliance with vendor qualification guidelines, following a process for invoicing, etc
- Eliminating the executive burden of supplier management on your procurement team, so that they can specialize in strategic processes and relationship building
Making the Most of Your Vendor Portal
Once you’ve got the proper vendor portal in situ, it’s important to use the vendor portal in creative ways. One of the most critical aspects is the rationalization of the transactional core. For instance, if a supplier can log in, see their purchase orders, acknowledge them, and submit invoices, that eliminates an incredible administrative burden. Trying to find ways to automate these sorts of processes offers better visibility and faster turnaround, and it frees your team to specialize in what matters most.
Document sharing is also very important where businesses can develop critical efficiencies. For instance, believe in the supplier qualification process. Counting on the business, suppliers may need to submit a good type of documentation to own an approved contract or proposal.
The supplier portal is going to give multiple features like entering their contact details, insurance details, etc, and act as a collaboration tool. At the same time, buyers can send documents to suppliers for them to have a central document repository, including everything from corporate code of conduct to centralized contact points. The use of a vendor portal enhances efficiency by moving away from sending emails to individuals. The vendor portal can also be useful to review contracts on dashboards, manage renewals, or manage an audit process.
Vendor Portal Success with Strong Training
A lot of growing organizations are thrilled about the different possibilities that a supplier portal has to offer; however, once they see the quantity of labor that is involved in implementing a supplier portal, thinking is often deprioritized. It is often helpful from the outset to understand that using a vendor portal and making it a success requires an initial investment in portal building, supplier training, and collaboration. Once you take these steps, having a successful vendor portal can be a big game-changer. A robust portal designed in collaboration with SMB’s increases the likelihood that your suppliers will adopt it successfully.
Here are a couple of other tips to ease the adoption:
Invest in training: Don’t overlook the importance of supplier training. Make it a high priority and convey your suppliers early within the process so that they become excited about the method, understand the new steps, and are invested. This training helps your partner understand the technology and may highlight the advantages like faster processing of invoices and other projected process improvements and at the same time suggest improvements.
Consider a pilot: If you’re planning to implement a vendor portal but you’re not able to roll it out across the whole organization, a supplier pilot could be a great option. Many growing companies will select a couple of preferred vendors or suppliers they’re most comfortable with. Make them a part of the implementation and testing. You’ll gather critical data about customizing the portal experience to satisfy your suppliers’ needs, and you’ll get early adopters invested so that it’s easier to roll the system out across the broader supplier base.
Devote in communications: A proper communication plan will lead to a simple and successful implementation of a vendor portal. Give suppliers early notice that the vendor portal is coming and offering a view of your timeline. Once you are ready with the portal, provide detailed training on logging into the portal, who to call with questions or support, etc. The more self-service resources you’ll provide, like training and user guides, the simpler they’ll be within the process.
Your supplier experience matters. Investing in a solution like Sciqus Vendor Portals offers several benefits. Vendor Portal is not only going to assist in streamlining the processes and improve supplier relations, but it is going to reduce the huge burden that the procurement team faces.