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How Supplier Portal Software Enhances Collaboration with Suppliers

In today’s automated and digitally transformed world, any business can make the backend processes of the Accounts Payable (AP) team even more seamless by integrating a Supplier Collaboration Portal on their end. The inbuilt automation and other secondary features in the portal will make it easier for the AP team to connect and manage their 3rd party suppliers. A secure Supplier Collaboration portal with its user-friendly interface, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and personalized workflows will make it easier to collaborate with the suppliers. The AP team would no longer need to waste hours in manual processes; they could instead invest their time in more valuable activities.

The Challenges of EDI in the B2B Industry

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is an excellent innovation in the B2B industry, but it has a unique set of problems. The first challenge with EDI is that it requires a lot of IT resources to function properly. These resources also need to be compatible with the EDI since many different EDI standards in the market are not always compatible with the software used in a company’s supply chain. Because of these limitations, EDI can be quite expensive and thus inaccessible to small and mid-size organizations.

Another challenge with EDI is its inability to keep track of missing data, inform system managers about incorrect data, or notify users of data changes. Companies may find themselves transmitting incorrect information to trading partners or spending unintended time on data verification.

What Are Collaborative Supplier Portals?

Collaborative supplier portals are a platform where buyers and suppliers can exchange data without the restriction of a typical EDI platform. Suppliers can use collaborative supplier portals for free, regardless of whether they have EDI. This accessibility facilitates the use of effective data transfer methods, which promotes business.

A collaborative supplier portal is just as secure as EDI, allowing buyers and suppliers to collaborate transparently on purchase orders, supplier codes, prices, and delivery dates without incurring additional transaction costs. Collaborative supplier portals are pretty simple to set up, learn, and use. Unlike EDI, which requires extensive training for effective integration into a company’s business operations. Furthermore, because it is a cloud-based system, IT resources are not required, eliminating the difficulty of finding compatible software.

How Do Supplier Portals and EDI Work Together?

Collaborative supplier management portals provide a useful intermediary that mitigates the challenges experienced with standalone EDI use. A collaborative platform works in conjunction with EDI to enable users to connect with their suppliers concerning EDI orders for better visibility. Everyone in the procurement process is then allowed to monitor updates and access pending orders. Even purchase orders that are often a challenge to expedite or delete without human intervention are fully automated on collaborative supply chain management portals.

The use of EDI in conjunction with a collaborative vendor portal allows for the electronic communication of supplier codes, purchase orders, and invoices between systems. It also allows you to effortlessly manage, track, and communicate with your supply chain on all purchase orders, which simplifies your EDI experience while making it more effective.

Primary Benefits of Supplier Portal Software

Collaborative supplier portals fix most of the challenges that come with EDI. EDI and collaborative supplier portals should thus be used together for the best data transmission experience. Some of the primary benefits of supplier portal software include:

Increased Compatibility

Most suppliers will not have EDI, or at least have EDI standards that are up to date. Collaborative supplier portals make your business more accessible and help you save on data transfer costs.

Saving Money

EDI can be quite expensive, and thus inaccessible to small and mid-size organizations. But with collaborative supplier portals, all this value is added without compromising the quality, visibility, or security of the service.

Data Compilation

A collaborative supplier portal compiles data into a single dashboard. Buyers and suppliers can conveniently track critical indicators in real-time. Supplier scorecards track information such as acknowledgment rate, inventory, delivery, and invoicing.

Transparency

Collaborative supplier portals allow buyers and suppliers to collaborate transparently on purchase orders, supplier codes, prices, and delivery dates without incurring additional transaction costs.

User-Friendly Interface

Collaborative supplier portals are pretty simple to set up, learn, and use. Unlike EDI, which requires extensive training for effective integration into a company’s business operations.

Key Features of Supplier Portal Software

To truly simplify and streamline your manual tasks, supplier portal software must have the fundamental features, without which you are not going to achieve much efficiency in your supply chain. These features serve as the building blocks of your invoice processing cycle. The best supplier portal software can empower your AP team – give them the best visibility and insight into the entire PO and invoice cycle, from start to finish. Here are some must-have pivotal features for your supplier portal:

Purchase Order Collaboration

The purchase order collaboration feature allows suppliers to view and modify purchase orders through the inbuilt messaging interface. The AP team viewing the modification request can either approve or reject the said modifications. The AP team will receive automatic notification and updates about any modification request.

Access and View Purchase Orders

The portal allows purchase order acceptance and modifications by the suppliers. Suppliers can also update item attributes (line items) – including delivery capacity.

Invoice Collaboration

Suppliers can submit invoices – with minimal data entry, besides this they can view all the invoices that were submitted. Furthermore, suppliers can view the status and payment information of an invoice. Some invoices (type) can be NPO-based (No purchase order) and the supplier has directly created the invoice. Plus, the collaborative space lets suppliers chat and leave messages for a particular PO.

Advanced Shipment Notification (ASN)

At the time of delivery, the supplier can create an Advanced Shipment Notification (Shipping note) for any of the purchase orders just by selecting a purchase order. Buyers viewing the delivery requests from suppliers can Approve or Reject the same. On approval, the supplier gets a notification.

Notification Engine

The notification engine runs in the background to prompt the AP team of the business of any modifications to the purchase order, changes to the invoice, upload of invoice from the supplier side, or any other changes that happen on the available documents in the interface.

Helpdesk

The helpdesk on the portal allows seamless back and forth communication between the supplier and AP team. Exchange messages, resolve discrepancies, and discuss any aspect of the order/invoice in detail.

How Supplier Portal Software Enhances Collaboration with Suppliers

Collaborative supplier portals make it easier for the AP team to connect and manage their 3rd party suppliers. A secure Supplier Collaboration portal with its user-friendly interface, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and personalized workflows will make it easier to collaborate with the suppliers. The AP team would no longer need to waste hours in manual processes; they could instead invest their time in more valuable activities.

With supplier portal software, companies can eliminate the administrative burden of supplier management on the AP team. Suppliers get real-time flexibility to communicate with the AP team, track their invoice status, and raise invoices. The supplier will easily access, view, acknowledge, tweak (if need be), process, and respond to the PO’s.

Moreover, fewer delays, errors, and full visibility mean you always be in the know-how throughout the whole sourcing cycle. Also, the AP team can pay the agreed invoice costs on time and avoid any penalties or even pay early to avail extra discounts from the suppliers.

Top 5 Benefits of Using Supplier Portal Software

  • Increased efficiency in manual tasks
  • Cost savings
  • Improved data accuracy
  • Enhanced transparency and communication
  • User-friendly interface

Conclusion

EDI represents one of the greatest advances in e-commerce, but it has its challenges. Collaborative supplier portals are a platform where buyers and suppliers can exchange data without the restriction of a typical EDI platform. Collaborative supplier portals fix most of the challenges that come with EDI. EDI and collaborative supplier portals should thus be used together for the best data transmission experience. Supplier portal software has various benefits, including increased efficiency in manual tasks, cost savings, improved data accuracy, enhanced transparency and communication, and a user-friendly interface.

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