Effective supplier management is critical for the success of procurement organizations. But as supply chains and suppliers increase steadily, businesses should take proactive measures to mitigate any disruptions within their supply chain. It can be costly in terms of finance and the company’s reputation.
With supplier portal software, businesses can take a strategic approach and manage their suppliers effectively. This article explains all about it. Learn what a supplier management portal is – its advantages, development stages, best practices, and more.
Let’s get started with supplier portal software and its working.
What is Supplier Portal Software?
A supplier portal/vendor portal is an e-procurement solution that lets businesses maintain relationships with their suppliers and vendors. It involves contract management, document sharing, internal collaboration, communication channels, status updates, and more. In simple words, it helps businesses connect with people who supply products that you choose to sell to your customers effectively.
Supplier portal software automates all the procurement tasks and reduces the manual efforts of companies and suppliers. It helps auto raise PO, compare vendors and the products, onboard new members, and carry out activities smoothly.
The supplier management portal is generally used for:
- Vendor onboarding
- Invoice submission
- Invoice and payment history inquiry
- Payment disputes – submission and tracking
- Supply chain management
- Dynamic discounting
- Procurement features
Here’s how it works:
- Suppliers/vendors can log in to their dedicated space and manage their orders. They can view the pending payments, invoices, order requests, and track their status.
- Suppliers can create proposals and share them with you. They don’t have to wait for the proposal requests.
- They can create e-invoices and share them instantly.
You, as a business owner, can:
- Invite global vendors and suppliers to be a part of your network
- Filter the applications based on the auto-filtering feature
- Compare the proposals from various vendors and choose the suitable one
- Generate purchase orders and invoices directly from the portal
- Communicate with suppliers/vendors with in-app messaging feature
- Share documents, view log details, track order delivery, etc.
Overall, a supplier management portal streamlines the entire procurement. It delivers convenience to both parties, letting them work in their way.
Want to build a supplier management portal?
Let’s have an in-depth look at why supplier portal software is essential for business success.
Advantages of Supplier Portal Software
Increases Visibility and Minimizes Supplier Risk
Only 15% of the CPOs (chief procurement officer) have visibility beyond their Tier 1 suppliers. A supplier management portal offers a systematic way of filtering qualified suppliers and ranking them based on their offers. It collects all the necessary information from internal and external stakeholders and allows organizations to detect potential risks and monitor supplier compliance.
Reduces Expenditure and Improves Accountability
Procurement expenditure can skyrocket if left unattended. A supplier portal helps cut down prices by implementing fixed price modules and comparing the proposals in the initial stage.
Additionally, it reduces fraudulent claims and third-party involvements. The in-house purchase order and invoice generation feature eliminates security threats and streamlines the process.
Ensures Accurate Supplier Data
More than half of the employers out there don’t trust their suppliers’ master data. On top of that, having stale information can cause delays and add additional risks. With automated solutions, you can ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date supplier data. You can even organize the suppliers into different categories and assign access based on it.
Suppliers, on the contrary, can keep their profiles up-to-date. It will alert them if new information becomes available or pending information that may impact their qualifications and profile.
Strengthens Supplier Relationships
Connecting and managing good relations with suppliers is the true definition of supplier management. However, when you have several suppliers to partner with, it can be hard to have the same level of relationships with each one. A supplier portal breaks down communication barriers, and improves collaboration, which in turn increases supplier loyalty.
A supplier management solution provides users with a workspace that has complete visibility of the transactions, multiple communication channels, and an electronic invoicing feature. It also allows them to access agreements, purchase orders, shipment notifications, invoices, and negotiations to address specific needs for an organization.
Speeds Up Onboarding
It can be time-consuming to onboard new suppliers. But with supplier portal software, you can streamline supplier onboarding with a self-registration process. Suppliers can register for the portal and manage and maintain their information such as addresses, contacts, payments, and businesses specific – compliance and reporting at one place.
Overall, a supplier portal streamlines the workflow, increases information accuracy, organizes submitted documents, handles payment disputes, protects the brand’s goodwill, and improves two-way communication. It bridges the gap between two parties, eliminating all the communication and operational hindrances.
Let’s see how you can implement supplier portal software.
Steps to Develop Supplier Portal
Step 1: Decide who’ll build – in-premise experts or outsourcing partners
Decide whether you’ll build the solution with your in-house team’s expertise or outsource it to a supplier portal development company. It’s better for a startup to outsource the portal development as it will save time and reduce maintenance costs. Outsourcing will enable your in-house team to focus on the critical aspects.
Step 2: List down the features
There are various off-the-shelf solutions available in the market. However, to choose one that’s suitable for your business, list down the features. Take your team and suppliers’ input. Know their problems, compare the features of different solutions and select the preferable option.
Step 3: Aim for security
Ensuring security is the critical aspect of supplier portal development. Check for security methodologies, compliances, protocols, and vulnerabilities with rigorous testing before launch. Implement two-factor authentication and role-based access to ensure post-launch security.
Step 4: Decide how to build it
There are two ways to build a supplier portal. One is to custom develop it. As it involves development from scratch, it may require more time, effort, and resources. However, the advantage is you will have complete control over the functionality and the solution.
Another way is to bring in a readily available portal solution. There are several companies from where you can buy ready solutions, integrate with your CRM, and start using it. You can customize the features as per your requirements, but that depends on the solution and the solution provider.
If you’re looking for next-generation supplier portal software, we can help you develop a solution with all the features you need. We believe that every business is unique, and so are their requirements. Hence, we encourage custom development. At CRMJetty, you will also find ready-to-integrate portal solutions with customization capabilities.
Best Practices to Implement Supplier Portal Software
While a supplier portal has various benefits, here are the key practices to get the most of supplier management software:
Be it as customers or suppliers, people like to solve their problems themselves. They hate calling the support team to ask for minute details such as order/payment status. Hence, implement self-service. Encourage your suppliers to access and find relevant information on their own. Provide a knowledge base – with a wide range of articles, guides, manuals, videos, etc. Instead of answering every supplier with the same question individually, add FAQs. Let them manage their profiles themselves. It will reduce your internal team’s efforts.
Self-service empowers suppliers and vendors. It gives them a sense of control. To benefit from it, keep the knowledge base up-to-date.
Transitioning suppliers from traditional manual invoice generation to automated portal features requires proactive communication. They may not be accustomed to the capabilities of self-service solutions, where most of the actions are formulaic and automated.
In the traditional approach, when invoices came in, suppliers entered that data into the accounting system. And on due dates, they sent out payment invoices. If there was a payment dispute, they clarified it with the associated person.
With supplier portals, they can generate invoices, manage payments, and track statuses at their convenience. As suppliers have to add all the data themselves, it’s crucial that they provide the correct information to get paid.
An introductory video to explain the features of the portal is enough to get the suppliers going. You can also send out brief emails with basic interactions to use the portal. Manuals, guides in the knowledge base will also benefit suppliers and relieve the burden of providing manual data entries and invoice information.
Offer Localized Language Options
You can’t expect your team to know all the languages. Nor should you force suppliers to share proposals or interact in a specific language. What if the Spanish-speaking supplier from Madrid has a better proposal for you?
Instead, you should implement multiple-language options and allow all suppliers to share proposals and communicate in their preferred language.
A supplier portal software should not only bridge the professional gap but also cultural differences. It should strengthen supplier relationships.
Enable Supplier Choice
Payment options available in your portal may not be suitable for a few suppliers. And investing extra funds in the wire transfer for a small amount may not be a better option for you. So, how will you know what payment method is suitable for the supplier from Uruk?
The answer is – give suppliers multiple choices or guide them to provide relevant information such as bank and personal details for secure money transfers.
Provide Payment Workflow Status
“Did you receive the invoice?”
“When can I expect the payment?”
These are the frequent questions suppliers ask your finance departments. These questions affect the efficiency of your team. They have to look for the invoice, approve the request, proceed with the transaction, and communicate back to the supplier. This flow takes up their time, disrupting the work they have been doing.
A self-service portal should provide suppliers with their payment status, remittance, etc. It should notify them about their invoice submission and the issues with the payments. This will increase supplier engagement, provided that the data is accurate and upto the mark.
They say trust is earned. And as a business person, you can earn your suppliers’ trust by providing visibility, i.e., watching all the tracks. For example, if you make any changes to the purchase order or some updates to the proposal, you and the supplier both should be able to trace it. It eliminates the chances of fraud and miscommunication, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Consult Experts to Implement Supplier Portal
If you’re researching on your own, you may end up with a standalone solution that may not be suitable for your business. Consult an expert and take their advice on the portal implementation. With their industry-specific knowledge and experience, they can help you find the right solution or partner with a development team.
If a private consultant is not an option for you, talk to the development companies you have shortlisted. Share your thoughts and requirements and ask for their advice. Their development experience, along with industry and market knowledge, will be beneficial to you and your business.
If you need any guidance in the supplier portal development, you can talk to our experts. They will guide you in the right way – choose the portal solution or make a better choice.
CRMJetty is a hub of portal solutions. We help businesses deliver exceptional customer service with industry and user-specific portal solutions.
We can help you with custom supplier portal software tailored to your business requirements. The advantages of a custom solution will be flexibility to grow, custom features, and complete control.
Choosing us means you get a trustable IT partner for a lifetime. If you want any more information about the supplier portal or us, contact us here.
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