Supplier Management and B2B eCommerce MarketPlaces: a Match Made in Heaven

By CoreXpand's B2B E-Commerce Team on June 6, 2016

Some companies deal with dozens, even hundreds of suppliers.

The task has become so enormous that there are now groups, schools, and associations grooming specialists in the field of supplier management.

Of course, at the heart of all the various approaches, methodologies, and strategies of supplier management are the same core goals of any successful business; save time, save money, and reduce risk.

The awareness is slowly growing about how B2B eCommerce MarketPlaces can help organizations more effectively accomplish those goals. But, as with most emerging technologies, it’s those who have the capacity to see a bigger picture who are the early adopters.

For those who haven’t yet seen how this flexible technology fits, here are some ways the B2B e-Commerce MarketPlaces can dramatically help your supplier management efforts.

Consolidation of all suppliers

Many large companies utilize e-procurement systems to accomplish this all important function. This allows buyers to access all suppliers in one place.

This saves buyers time and money versus poring through dozens of different supplier catalogs, both on and offline, while making several phone calls locating what they need. This also saves time and money over the antiquated practice of phoning or faxing in orders.

The biggest obstacles of e-procurement are costflexibility, and supplier adoption. These complex systems require a lot of consultant and implementation expense, and you are often forced to adapt your purchasing methods to the eprocurement software; you have to take it the ways it comes ‘off the shelf’.

Additionally, eProcurement systems require suppliers to provide PunchOut catalogs, for which many suppliers have neither the technological capacity nor the budget to use.  For some buyers, this means they still have to circumvent their expensive purchasing system to use their preferred suppliers.

MarketPlaces solve all of those dilemas, by adapting to your existing purchasing preferences, at a fraction of the cost of traditional e-procurement systems, while offering suppliers an easier onboarding solution.

Streamlined order processing

Also like eProcurement, B2B MarketPlace technology saves buyers time by displaying all contract items and prices, rather than the buyer having to wade through non-approved items and calculate contract prices for an item once they find it.

Also, MarketPlace environments allow for custom workflows including order approval routing. Other conveniences such as favorites lists and custom product categories automate and streamline every step of the ordering process from shopping to payment.

Flexibility of supplier payment options

An important consideration for many companies is payment flexibility. Payment methods can even change from department to department, with some using purchase orders only while others use credit card or p-card transactions.

Adaptable B2B eCommerce MarketPlaces can accommodate multiple payment options, even allowing for those differences from supplier to supplier.

Contract compliance

Even without spurious intent, suppliers can end up overcharging through substitutions and system generated price increases. These overcharges are generally exposed only with very expensive and labor intensive supplier audits.

In more advanced and adaptable B2B ecommerce MarketPlace platforms, there are automated compliance audits that alert purchasing managers and prevent suppliers from making changes to in-system supplier catalogs until they are approved.

This can save an organization tens of thousands, even millions of dollars per year in the cost of audits and overcharges.

Integration of decentralized purchasing

Another limitation of an eProcurement system is access. If all of your buyers can’t access your intra-net, or company network, they can’t access the eProcurement system.

This could be satellite offices, mobile offices, or partner buyers such as franchise buyers.  Fortunately, B2B eCommerce MarketPlace technology can serve all buyers via the ‘cloud’. This allows any buyer, anywhere, to have the same secure access to your vetted supplier contracts and prices.

Advanced MarketPlaces even have Dynamic Display, or Dynamic Login capabilities. This allows you to control what buyers see and what they can access to control what items they can purchase, complete with budget and spend controls.

This prevents rogue buying or supplier engagements, and duplication of orders.

Suppliers can adapt their business practices to suit your ogranzation

B2B eCommerce MarketPlaces allows you to engage with suppliers willing to do business your way. With the right platform, buyers can have the ideal environment from which to find and purchase what they need.

Think ‘Amazon’ convenience, but with more flexibility to adapt to your purchasing methods including approval workflows and product categories previously mentioned.

Higher visibility and analysis

With B2B MarketPlaces, you can see everything… who ordered what, when and from whom. This includes real time monitoring and robust reporting for trend analysis, etc.

Also, system settings allow you to control buying at a user level; you can control who can buy from certain suppliers and set limits on how much certain buyers spend as mentioned above.

Ultimately, a good B2B eCommerce MarketPlace platform is virtually unlimited in its capacity to facilitate supplier management. This allows you to approach your supplier management strategically.

If you’d like to see examples of the strategic use of B2B eCommerce MarketPlaces for supplier management, just request a free consultation with one of our B2B e-commerce experts.

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Posted in B2B eCommerce for Buyers, Buyers Corner, Supplier Management