In today’s age of constant uncertainty and disruption, many organizations are putting pressure on procurement. Because of the manual, clerical nature, buyers’ work processes are usually long, tedious, and involve lots of chasing emails and spreadsheets through inboxes. With pressure mounting, companies must find new methods for their procurement teams. That’s where supplier collaboration software comes in.
Every procurement team knows that working closely with suppliers has many benefits, but they may not truly understand how much potential those relationships can have. In many cases, suppliers can be one of the most important innovators for a business. But, in order to innovate in today’s competitive world, suppliers must be connected to the procurement teams. Supporting a healthy supply chain needs true collaboration software for suppliers.
Supply chain collaboration software allows buyers to work with suppliers upstream to establish goals, share data, and communicate about each individual PO line, change, acknowledgment, etc.
Suppliers and Buyers Gain Visibility with Collaboration Software
A collaboration solution for suppliers serves as the central hub for everyone involved in the procurement process. Every user can see every relevant piece of information in real time, and allow stakeholders to make adjustments when issues arise and stay on top of changes that must be made on either end. These issues are easy to spot and communication with suppliers is simple, immediate, and easy to find. Suppliers and buyers can share a view of forecasts, orders, every PO, line changes, shipments, receipts, and payment approvals—all with one click.
Collaboration Software Coordinates Buyer and Supplier Activities
Once you establish visibility, it’s time to leverage your solution to truly work together with suppliers. This is about much more than data entry; it’s about making sure each action is smart and timed properly. Supplier collaboration software makes it possible to orchestrate every action intelligently. It also makes it possible to align with suppliers in real time.
Collaboration Allows for Better Supplier Diversification
Many companies follow the Pareto principle when it comes to their supplier base: focus on the 20% of suppliers who represent 80% of the spend. This approach may have been sound in a bygone era, but in today’s climate, you must also focus on what you might consider “lower tier” suppliers—because they might be all that stands between you and a production stoppage.
Companies who avoid taking on new suppliers often do so because of price increases or because it’s a hassle to establish effective communication with a supplier who might use different methods. Do they primarily email? Make phone calls? FAX?! Without a standard in place, buyers are just signing on for more headache, longer hours, and less efficient work.
This is where supplier collaboration software can revolutionize your approach. Armed with this solution, buyers can onboard suppliers within a few minutes and they can immediately begin working together on invoices and POs. The software acts as a portal, where suppliers can login and with one click monitor correspondence, their own performance, and any outstanding action items.
When onboarding and managing supplier relationships is this simple, buyers are free to strategically explore new relationships and diversify their supplier base in order to eliminate single points of failure in their value chain. Having sole suppliers for parts or materials is a recipe for disaster. Supplier collaboration software makes it simple to diversify those relationships and build resilience into the supply chain.
To Build a Resilient Supply Chain, Collaborate with Suppliers
Speaking of resilience, suppliers are key. You must have every part exactly when you need it. Even the smallest part costing less than a dollar can halt or delay production if it’s missing at the critical moment. Through shared visibility, diversification, and mutual accountability, supplier collaboration software makes it possible to communicate clearly with suppliers about changes and potential issues so that they are addressed early, before they become problematic.
Supplier Collaboration Software is Critical for the Top Supply Chains of Tomorrow
Continuous improvement cannot be kept only on the production floor. Procurement has many opportunities for improvement as well, and it starts with communication and collaboration. The bottom line is this: your success depends on robust supplier relationships, and without collaboration software, buyers simply cannot invest in those relationships properly. Gone are the days when phone calls, emails, and printed spreadsheets will cut it. You must bring buyers together with suppliers so they can communicate with real-time shared visibility.