Supply chains have become highly streamlined over the last decade as businesses gain the technology necessary for staying connected with vendors and suppliers. Proper communication between businesses is critical to avoid costly mistakes, such as missed shipments or the delivery of incorrect parts. To eliminate stress on both sides, companies often rely on B2B (business-to-business) vendor portals to serve as a single source of information.
A B2B vendor portal helps companies establish a strong working relationship with their vendors. Portals are secure, simple-to-use and allow businesses to keep vendor data organized and easily accessible. They are an excellent resource for organizations that want to get away from manual paperwork and manage their interactions with vendors and suppliers in a fast and efficient manner.
Developing a B2B vendor portal can be a win-win situation for both businesses and vendors. Through proper vendor management practices, businesses can maintain long-lasting working relationships with suppliers and meet their target goals in record time.
What Does A B2B Vendor Portal Do?
B2B vendor portals provide a secure management system that helps businesses network with suppliers and streamline their procurement process. This internet-based solution enables organizations to instantly connect with and manage the goods and/or services of third-party suppliers. Supplier portals generally consist of a software as a service (SaaS) solution that is hosted and supported by an eCommerce solutions provider. Generally, no additional hardware or infrastructure is required.
Setting up a vendor portal can eliminate the manual activities that are required during the procurement process by developing a time-saving automation process that also saves money. B2B vendor portals contain the most up-to-date information, preventing staff from having to make frequent phone calls and send continuous emails. Portals must be well-structured to allow end-users to easily find the information they need without having to scroll through unnecessary pages.
Vendor portals perform many tasks, such as the following:
- Issues purchase orders (POs) and purchase order quotations to vendors once raised
- Allows vendors to confirm POs
- Offers vendors easy access to POs once received
- Updates ERPs with expected prices and provides possible delivery dates
- Updates vendors with changes in purchase orders
- Provides access to related invoices
- Keeps a log of all events associated with each PO
Importance of Proper Vendor Management
Selecting the right vendor management solution is critical to the long-term success of the business. Developing an efficient B2B vendor portal can help upgrade an existing vendor management solution and eliminate many of the problems caused by a lack of automation and mishandling of information.
The following are some of the benefits that businesses can enjoy when they invest in effective vendor management for their organization:
1. Enhanced Vendor Selection Tools
Supplier selection is one of the most important decisions that a business will need to make. Having access to the right goods or services can help boost profits and ensure that operations continue to run smoothly. Working with the wrong suppliers can have the opposite effect. Businesses can experience costly delays, wasted time and unhappy customers. The ultimate success of any procurement cycle is highly dependent on the provider that a business relies on for its supplies.
A B2B vendor portal can help businesses choose the right vendors for the job. Innovative tools, such as automated bidding between vendors, can help attract the best vendors from which business owners can choose based on cost, reputation and efficiency. Comparing this information will help ensure that businesses pay a fair price for the best goods and services available. This decision can also add value, both strategically and financially, to the organization.
2. Better Management of Vendor Performance
Vendor performance is generally measured using key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to the industry. For example, KPI types related to delivery may focus on late deliveries, goods lost in transit or breakages. A cost-based KPI may focus on the frequency of cost increases. Using these criteria, businesses can better measure vendor performance and transparency over time.
Developing a B2B vendor portal provides organizations with a centralized view of all of their vendor’s performance on a single platform. An integrated view of vendor performance helps businesses gain a better understanding of what aspects of the relationship are working and what aspects are not. With this information, decision-makers can take swift action to eliminate problems found in the supply chain to increase the efficiency of the business.
3. Accurate Management of Vendor Contracts
Working with multiple vendors can significantly increase the risk of human error within the vendor management system. To keep the business operating smoothly and without interruptions, it is important to minimize issues relating to vendor contract management and documentation. The correct technology enables businesses to easily manage their vendor contracts using software that allows for expedient contract creation, instant access to contract details in real-time and improved negotiation and collaboration.
The average vendor contract contains a variety of critical data, such as the scope of services, timing, price, payment and termination of the contract. It should also dictate the type of contracts, such as a fixed-price contract, time and materials contract, cash reimbursement contract, letter subcontract or indefinite-delivery contract. A B2B vendor portal can help businesses manage all aspects of vendor contracts to prevent mistakes or lost data.
4. Real-Time Integration of ERP Data
B2B portals are designed to provide both the merchant and vendor with a shared, single view of data that has been integrated directly with an ERP. Before the introduction of B2B vendor portals, merchants and suppliers viewed data on their individual business applications, meaning the data was often out of sync. This created confusion between businesses and resulted in lost time and money. Real-time integration with an ERP system helps ensure speed and accuracy while eliminating common errors that develop with the use of multiple business applications.
When changes are made within a B2B vendor portal, both parties are able to see these changes reflected in real-time. Real-time integration eliminates the need to save data on two separate systems while adding clarity to the process. This technology also supports automated profit tracking. Businesses can easily calculate sales margins and profit ratios using reports that are automatically generated by the software. This enables decision-makers to see areas that need to be addressed before they become costly.
5. Automated Reminders & Notifications
Maintaining a good vendor relationship can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. The use of a B2B vendor portal helps create a stronger relationship with vendors by ensuring that both parties are up-to-date with the latest information and that there is no mismanagement of data that could cause conflict. There are many ways in which vendor portals work to maintain smooth operations, such as the use of automated vendor reminders and notifications.
Automated reminders and notifications should be sent to vendors at varying stages throughout the procurement process. Traditionally, these reminders would be sent via email, meaning there is a risk of the notification getting lost or overlooked. In some cases, businesses would be tasked with contacting the supplier directly to proceed with the next actions each time there was a delay. B2B vendor portals automatically send out these notifications and reminders up until the point that the transaction is complete.
Top Features of a B2B Vendor Portal
The use of a B2B vendor portal can increase the efficiency of complex selling processes and save both parties a significant amount of time and frustration. However, not all portals contain all the features that modern businesses need to effectively manage their vendors. When selecting a vendor portal or creating a custom portal, there are several features to consider:
Simple Online Registration
Effective B2B vendor portals allow businesses to quickly and easily register vendors and suppliers to make them a member of the network. This process should be hassle-free for both parties.
Comparison of Proposals
A portal should provide businesses with the ability to evaluate proposals based on existing records within the portal. This can save time by eliminating the need for manual comparisons each time a proposal is made.
Secure Management of Quotes
Business portals should eliminate the need for companies to send manual requests for quotes. Instead, a feature should be implemented that allows vendors to offer quotes directly using a secure log-in.
Easy Vendor Filtering Tools
A B2B vendor portal should allow for the automated filtering of all vendors using auto-filter functionality that helps businesses find the vendor information they are looking for quickly and efficiently.
Ranking and Comparison
Features that enable businesses to rank and compare vendors can be highly efficient. Vendor portals should allow users to rank based on factors including history, delivery time, compliance scores and available inventory.
PO and Invoice Generation
Companies should have the functionality to generate purchase orders and invoices within the vendor portal to eliminate the inconvenience of generating them separately and sending them via fax or email.
Get Started With Your B2B Portal Today
Businesses everywhere are discovering the many advantages of establishing a B2B vendor portal to help their daily transactions to operate more smoothly. Consumer expectations and demands are constantly increasing and companies must keep pace or risk losing customers to their competitors. With the creation of a feature-packed B2B vendor portal, businesses can streamline the supply chain process and ensure that their customers receive the products or services that they need without delay. Schedule a consultation with Orases to get started with your B2B vendor portal today.