Keeping suppliers in the loop, digitally

Supply chains have been forced to revaluate their IT strategies and migrate to digital over the past few months.  They have been thrust into a new reality by COVID-19, where the speed of execution and digital solutions have been one of the answers to business survival.   

Most procurement departments realise the need to automate the source-to-pay processes to attain fundamental economic efficiencies.  The cost of IT upkeep, downtime and processing time spent on manual tasks and data organisation is taking its toll. However, achieving the full benefits of digital transformation can be daunting.  

The large and growing market of suppliers vying for services has created more pressure.  Selecting suppliers requires due diligence and hands-on testing of potential services.  There are governance and compliance standards to uphold.  Organisations are back to zero-based budgeting where nothing is guaranteed – from contractual terms to pricing. Everything is up for debate. 

While there is much hype around digital transformation with new technologies, many companies lack the basic digital infrastructure and data integration to implement them successfully.  

In a world where procurement is central to the success of business continuity, what will help accelerate success? 

Digital supply chains, linked by a secure, global platform for buyers and suppliers to collaborate on business transactions, and manage purchase orders, invoices, catalogues, and payments, are leading the way. 

Supplier communications are being improved and accelerated by implementing portals or online communications platforms.  These facilitate all aspects of supplier relations – onboarding, requisitions, purchase orders and invoice submission.   Suppliers use the portal to retrieve purchase orders, submit proof of deliveries and invoices online and view information on payments, queries or exceptions that may be preventing payment. 

The three key advantages of a supplier portal encompassing an automated procurement process are: 

Quicker processing 

Invoices are electronically captured, processed faster, and exception handling is simplified, making the payments process easier.

Better communications 

Suppliers can view the status of purchase orders and invoices online at any time and, with the addition of simple chatbots, can minimise human requirements for handling queries.

Information accuracy 

Suppliers can maintain their own company information, ensuring the most up to date and accurate invoice, payment, and supplier information. 

This is procurement gold.  With an accurate and efficient supplier communication process set up, businesses can accurately preserve their credit lines, maintain discount levels and effectively monitor account balances.   

The reduction in administrative workload impacts multiple areas across the supplier signup process, including pre-qualifying potential suppliers and capturing necessary compliance documents.  Non-compliance is automated through automatic alerts and notifications.

A robust supplier portal makes communicating with suppliers simple. It takes away the manual workload of notifications, reminders, check points, enquiries and follow ups. 

It’s a vital tool for running an efficient, productive supply chain – more so now than ever. If you haven’t yet automated your procurement tasks, speak to us and we’ll help you get your suppliers talking to you.