Win-Win: Deliver Value to Customers and Suppliers by Eliminating your Own Internal Costs
Work Smarter, Not Harder
As mentioned in my first blog article, we are going to cover a variety of topics in this series that supply chain professionals, operations leads and plant managers are faced with on a daily and weekly basis.
One of the sure-fire ways to provide value to your customers is to integrate them in your technology and business processes – also known as collaboration. But what does this actually mean, and what is the payoff? Let’s explain.
Business partner collaboration is a means to connect both your customers and suppliers to real-time data in your ERP system. Examples include: sales order details, shipments and tracking information, forecast schedules, purchase orders and order confirmations, etc. In other words, you are digitizing your communication methods to be electronic versus phone, email and fax communications.
To engage in business partner collaboration, it must be easy for them to technically adopt. The user interface must be simple and intuitive, and should not require a heavy IT investment on the partner’s side. Business partners not only want to receive information from your ERP system; they also want to provide real-time data to you electronically to reduce their own manual activities. Examples include sending purchase order confirmations or advance ship notifications, parking AP invoices, entering sales orders and reviewing order history information online.
You may ask: How can business partner collaboration impact my supply chain? Here are some common goals and statistics to help you see the value:
Customer Service Representatives (CSRs)
- The majority of a CSR’s time is spent inquiring about order history and tracking information at the request of customers via email and phone.
- What if 20-40% of CSR time could be saved by providing that information as a PUSH to the customer, in real time?
- How much more value could you bring to your customers by taking these cost savings and creating another value-add product or service?
Buyers and Planners
- It’s been reported that 30-40% of buyer planners spend their time on expediting POs, tracking down confirmation and advance ship notifications and communicating changes in the schedule.
- What if your suppliers could receive real-time purchase order information and respond electronically to confirmation requests and advance ship notifications?
- What if you actually received real-time quantity and dates on open procurement orders? How much better could you plan your inbound receiving or production schedules?
- How much more strategic could your buyers be if they were not burdened with 12-16 hours per week of tactical track-and-trace work?
- How much more effective could your suppliers be with more real-time forecast details, procurement schedules, etc.?
- How much cost could this save on annual expedite charges?
- How much more secure and reliable could your supply be if you provided many of these details electronically, and in real time?
Supply Chain & Customer Collaboration Tools
What tools are available from the SAP ecosystem to begin evaluating fit and to help you build a business case for capital spend? itelligence has outlined the various options available in the SAP marketplace to eliminate the cost-and-time wasters outlined above. We are uniquely qualified to examine your goals and objectives and provide the right solution for your company based on your key drivers: price, quality or timeline.
Supply Chain Collaboration Software
- it.vendor portal – SAP consulting partners often develop add-ons that are complementary software components to the SAP business suite. it.vendor portal, built by itelligence, provides the ability to mobilize, centralize and streamline supplier communication regarding order information, specification and forecast sharing.
- The Ariba Network – Ariba is a cloud-based SAP product and is the world’s largest trading partner community. Ariba provides the overall framework to manage suppliers, purchase spend, contracts and electronic payables.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – EDI is another way of communicating up and down the supply chain in an automated fashion. It’s the electronic exchange of business documents between the computer systems of business partners, using a standard format over a communication network. Factors that influence the decision to deploy EDI include industry and transactional volume/velocity, as well as reduction in cost, paperwork and data entry errors.
Customer Collaboration Software
- it.customer portal – it.customer portal, built by itelligence, provides the ability to mobilize, centralize and streamline supplier communication regarding order information, specification and forecast sharing.
- SAP hybris – SAP hybris is a cloud-based product and the leading e-commerce and omni-channel software package in the SAP ecosystem. The software focuses on a great customer experience across commerce, marketing, revenue, sales and service.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – As mentioned above, EDI is another way of communicating up and down the supply chain in an automated fashion, and factors that influence the decision to deploy EDI include industry and transactional volume/velocity, as well as reduction in cost, paperwork and data entry errors.
Be sure to catch our next blog article, Demand Planning and Forecasting — coming soon.