For direct materials supply chains, successful collaboration with suppliers is critical. To truly succeed, there must be supply chain collaboration between buyers and suppliers, to work closely on invoices, purchase orders, and relevant data.
But, the traditional approach to this work could hardly be defined as collaborative. These teams are often stuck using methods like emails and spreadsheets to communicate information the other party needs immediately. That means waiting hours or days for acknowledgments, or running the risk of missing correspondence altogether. And data entry into the ERP is a long-haul nightmare.
The most effective way to get buyers and suppliers together is to adopt a technology solution that:
- Provides a single place to see relevant data.
- Allows for easy communication between buyers and suppliers of that data.
- Gives proper context for all datapoints.
In today’s environment of constant disruption, collaboration software is no longer a nice-to-have—It’s now a must-have.
But your journey won’t be without hurdles. You must start by identifying the challenges of supply chain collaboration, then develop strategies to overcome them. We can help.
Technology and Disparate Systems
This is the first big hurdle. Every company has a system for how to process invoices, POs, and shipping. But, a supplier’s system might not be comparable to how the manufacturer operates. Integrating these disparate systems can be extremely challenging.
However, without integration, the two parties will be working longer and harder than they should. Even executing basic tasks like acknowledgments or line changes will take more time than necessary. Speed and efficiency are paramount, and the only way to get there is to bring buyers and suppliers into the same solution.
Quick, Accurate Communication
Email is the new snail mail. It’s too slow and cumbersome for today’s fast-based manufacturers. Quick, seamless communication is one of the most critical challenges of supply chain collaboration.
Direct materials supply chains who still rely on email are losing time on every single piece of correspondence. Did they receive the PO on time, or at all? Were there any changes? Is the shipment partial? When can it be expected to arrive?
These questions take too much time to answer when all of the communication is done through email.
True collaboration means working within the same software that allows for managing by exception and provides notifications of all changes and correspondence in real time.
Coordination and Missing Information
Communication is key, and one of the major goals is to coordinate actions between teams. This is where teams truly become collaborative – when they can work strategically on orders, changes, and shipments.
For example, let’s say a buyer sends a PO and the supplier can only fill part of it. In the “olden days” of email, the buyer’s company may not even know the shipment is partial until it arrives. Then, the manufacturer could be stuck in a bind of missing parts and delays. But, in a collaboration solution, the buyer is notified immediately and can then work strategically to diversify to new suppliers or adjust forecasts.
Coordination is one of the major challenges of supply chain collaboration. When it is executed well, manufacturers keep their supply operations running at top efficiency, and costs are cut. With supply chain collaboration software, buyers experience a 25% reduction in their weekly PO clerical work.
Trust Between Buyers and Suppliers
If you don’t already, it’s time to start viewing suppliers as trusted, valued partners to your business. That starts on the ground, with the relationships between suppliers and buyers. When they can communicate clearly and quickly, and coordinate their work to optimize performance, trust is inherently built.
Visibility into inventory and pricing may seem a little scary, but with solid trust, you know your relationship is secure. The challenges of supply chain collaboration are many, but most can be overcome by building solid trust with suppliers.
Take Action to Overcome Your Supply Chain Challenges
SourceDay removes barriers to supplier communication. You can transform your supplier relationships into healthy, productive partnerships with better communication and management solutions like SourceDay. Your purchase orders will change about 52% of the time—don’t wait until you’re missing parts to collaborate with suppliers. Get in touch with our team today for a free product demo.