Vendor or supplier portals as some call them, have been around for many years, but have recently become an indispensable technology for vendor management. From sourcing to accounts payable, a supplier portal provides an essential platform for parties to communicate, collaborate and transact 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
In difficult times as pandemics, vendor portals can also offer a business-critical platform to support remote employees internally and externally. And a vendor portal (or supplier portal) is the foundation for setting up a vendor self-service initiative for your business that can create tremendous back-office efficiencies by delegating non-value-adding vendor management tasks to your vendor’s partners.
In light of the enormous economic and operational benefits that result from vendor self-service, vendor portals have become increasingly popular. Cloud-hosted portals have evolved from being a technology used primarily by large, vendor-centric companies to a platform now available to companies of all sizes in all industries.
Central management of all vendor information, sales figures, and more help you keep track of stocks and shortfalls. You can also detect over-reliance on a single vendor, vendor non-compliance, or other risk factors anywhere on your B2B vendor portal.
In addition, the automation of various commercial aspects such as the incorporation of suppliers, the exchange of notifications such as the certification process, insurance certificates, affidavits, etc. helps speed up processes. Free up administrative staff and increase the efficiency of supply chain processes.
In general, a B2B supplier portal helps you increase the efficiency and transparency of your supplier management.
Stages of Vendor Management System
There are different levels that make up the supplier management system as follows:
1. Vendor Selection – This is the first step in vendor management and includes choosing the right vendors for your business. To do this, you need to search for suppliers, collect offers via RFQ and tenders (RFP).
Once you have all the information and offers, the next step is to shortlist and finalize the vendors. While price is a valuable factor, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a provider. These factors can be the supplier’s reputation, track record, capacity, communication skills, and more.
2. Negotiate the Contract – The correct conclusion of a contract is essential. Make sure that both you and your provider agree to terms that are mutually beneficial. Contract negotiations can sometimes take a long time, but it’s worth it. This is because the negotiation of contracts consists of defining goods and services that include the start and end dates of the agreements, as well as the confidentiality and non-competition clauses.
3. Vendor Onboarding – Vendor onboarding involves gathering relevant information and documentation for the onboarding and approval of a new vendor for your business. You may also need to make sure to collect all of your important contact and payment information. This information may include relevant seller licenses, tax forms, insurance details, etc.
Everything related to documents and verification can be done through the supplier portal. Suppliers can upload all documents through the supplier portal so they don’t have to physically go to the office to review all their documents and no manual paperwork is required for employees.
4. Tracking Vendor Performance – Once you have suppliers on board, you must continually monitor and evaluate their performance. This includes evaluating your performance against various indicators such as quality, volume, or delivery dates of goods. You can also rate your supplier’s performance and give them feedback after each order.
5. Risk Monitoring and Management – There is a need to monitor suppliers for risks that may affect the business. Some potential risks could include compliance violations, data security issues, loss or stealth of intellectual property, lawsuits, etc.
You must also determine if there is a bottleneck in the supply chain from the supplier and how this may affect your business operations.
6. Payment Management – Last but not least, paying on time is also a step you cannot avoid. Make sure you pay your suppliers according to the agreed payment terms to maintain good terms. You can keep track of all previous payments or if the payment is due or not. All the necessary things related to payment can be viewed on the dashboard and shared with your team members or vendors.