Every business, regardless of its scale of operations, needs to interact with suppliers. Just consider what goes into onboarding a prospective supplier. The process requires submitting documents, filling out questionnaires, going through background screening, and more. When the purchase frequency and the number of suppliers increase, managing orders and keeping track of payments can be very difficult, further leading to poor supplier relationships. So with the aim to solve the same issue, supplier portals were introduced. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into
Now let’s get started by explaining what a supplier portal is.
What is a Supplier Portal?
A supplier portal, also referred to as a vendor portal, is an integrated online platform utilised by businesses and their suppliers. Additionally, it is used for storing supplier information, submitting documents, displaying status, and for communication.
A supplier portal efficiently handles shared business processes through a web interface.
Some indispensable features of a supplier portal include:
- 24×7 access to view real-time data
- Ability to update supplier information
- View transaction history
How does a Supplier Portal Help Businesses?
To understand a supplier portal, you need to know which business and procurement processes and functions the supplier portal software can handle for supplier management.
A supplier portal is used for:
- Vendor onboarding
- Electronic invoice submission
- Invoice and payment enquiry, including payment history and details
- Payment disputes – submission & tracking
- Procurement, after sourcing and solicitations
- Supply chain management
- Dynamic discounting
1. Vendor Onboarding
When a company begins doing business with a new supplier, vendor onboarding through the supplier portal is processed. Self-service vendor onboarding starts with submitting contact and terms information and creating an online W-9 (or international equivalent) tax form. Businesses should share relevant resources like standard instructions, webinars, and FAQs with the suppliers for using the vendor portal.
2. Electronic invoice submission
Vendors in your supply chain submit invoices through the supplier portal. Suppliers can be paid quicker by customers tempted to take early payment discounts with dynamic discounting. And invoices won’t disappear, delaying the receipt of payments.
On the other side of the procurement transaction, businesses providing the vendor portal can increase their payables and payments workflow efficiency. If customers use payables automation software that includes a self-service supplier portal, accounts payable and payments workflow processes are reduced by up to eighty percent.
3. Invoice and payment enquiry forms
Supplier portals automate manual invoice status enquiry and payment detail enquiry forms. By automating the invoice payment follow-up process, vendors and businesses save substantial time. Vendors can access status in real-time through the supplier portal to reach accounts receivable collection goals and have better cash flow management.
4. Payment disputes – submission & tracking
Handling transaction payment disputes manually takes time. When you use the supplier portal to submit and track payment disputes, your business can streamline the process and resolve the issue quicker.
5. Procurement functions
Using a supplier portal for your business and its supply chain, the customer procurement team and supplier team can submit or view the purchase order, request change orders, see shipping and delivery status, and get automated vendor notifications.
6. Dynamic discounting
Dynamic discounting is the use of early payment discounts negotiated by the buyer with the supplier depending on changing market conditions. Dynamic discounting reduces the amount due on an invoice when a customer pays by a specified number or range of days after the invoice date.
Supplier portals handle complex dynamic discounting terms better than some standalone ERP systems.
What are the Benefits of Supplier Portal?
1. Consolidate and standardise supplier information
Imagine having well-organised supplier data to work with when preparing bidding opportunities or identifying potential suppliers. A supplier portal provides a single access point for current vendors to update their information, as well as a means for new suppliers to register in your programme.
A customised form gives you control over what information is entered and how it is entered, populating a database you can then search by commodity category, geographic location, size, and many other parameters.
2. Prequalify candidates
Instead of spending your time combing through possibly outdated databases for the information needed to vet potential clients, automate the process through a supplier portal. When registering with your company, potential suppliers complete a customised RFI-styled questionnaire within the registration feature that serves as a pre qualification survey. These surveys are scored and then routed to the appropriate buyer within your organisation, saving everyone’s time and reducing workload.
3. Tracking and reporting
A supplier portal allows you to track suppliers by commodity category and diversity category, providing a clear picture of your company’s progress toward various internal goals. Customised reports based on the data available through your supplier portal keep you on track to meet spending targets and help identify potential risks such as overreliance on a single supplier.
4. Reduce administrative workload
A supplier portal lets you automate many aspects of supplier management, drastically reducing your administrative workload. In addition to automating the supplier signup process and pre qualifying potential suppliers, through a supplier portal, you can automatically receive and send notifications such as certification expirations, certificates of insurance, and code-of-conduct and small-business affidavit collections. Imagine having those types of alerts generated as if by magic, rather than through hours of manually checking and double-checking data, and then manually sending notifications.
A robust supplier portal will make communicating with suppliers a treat rather than a chore. Notifying suppliers about upcoming opportunities, reminders to submit spend reports, and other tasks are easily accessed through the portal dashboard.
A supplier portal software is a system that helps streamline your business’ procurement process and provides you with the opportunity to communicate with your suppliers in a safe, secure, and efficient online environment.
With the help of a supplier portal, the whole procurement process can be painless. Automation helps keep the process a lot more streamlined and provides up-to-date, accurate information in a matter of seconds, all at your fingertips.
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