How a Supplier Portal Can Make Managing Vital Supplier Relationships Easier
For many businesses, relationships with suppliers are as vital as those with customers or clients. Whether your suppliers are your source for the products you ultimately sell, or simply provide the things you need internally to operate, a good relationship means stability, transparency, consistency, and of course the best deals, but gaining and maintaining this does require some effort on your part. One approach more and more businesses are using is to provide web portals for suppliers that connect in to the business, and make it possible to streamline the things suppliers do more regularly when it comes to working with you. They can also gather data that can give you insight into whether your suppliers are meeting their promised goals in terms of delivery, helping you drive improvements that will help both of you excel.
One of the first things a supplier portal can do is make real time communications with your suppliers simpler, and easy to track. If suppliers currently have many different ways to reach you, for instance calling their contact in the business, emailing a person directly, emailing through your public website, or phoning your central number, then it can be hard to ensure all communications are logged somewhere so you have a good record of who has arranged what with whom between the two businesses. When a supplier contacts the business through the portal, you can ensure they get any answers or support they need quickly, and also that every interaction is recorded for the next person to understand.
A very important part of keeping things streamlined in your business is being able to actually tell that the people you work with are performing at the expected standard. By using a supplier portal, your orders and deliveries, and other interactions, are not only logged, but can be analysed in various ways that can tell you if your suppliers are meeting their own goals, or could be doing better. You can also set up KPIs (key performance indicators) and track actual performance against them. This can be extremely useful in helping get the best out of your suppliers, or, in some circumstances, identifying when it may be a good idea to seek out alternatives.
Another feature that supplier portals, like the SAP supplier portals from weaveability.com often have, is the ability to look at past logged orders to help you forecast what the demand for given products or materials will be in future. When you have accumulated data over time, you can use this for significant buying decisions, and also see if you have any seasonal trends in your usage of certain resources that you can better plan for.
These are just some of the ways a supplier portal can make working with your key suppliers easier to manage, and can help you perform better as businesses in partnership with them. It is no surprise that portals are a growth area in business IT, and if you have not currently got them in place, 2016 may be a good time to invest.