Today we are concluding our series on Supplier Portal software solutions with two things you don’t want to miss. First, a checklist on how to choose the right Supplier Portal for your business. And second, an opportunity to get your free copy of The Supplier Portal Playbook, presented by EnterWorks and Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, Li & Fung.
Checklist: How to Select the Right Supplier Portal Software
We’ve enjoyed our recent discussions with business leaders across multiple industries on their need for a Supplier Portal as part of their product information management (PIM) strategy. Our recent series has touched on highlights from these discussions as well as our advice and best practices. Check out Why Your Organization Needs a Vendor Portal and Top 10 Vendor Portal Do’s and Don’ts to read our first two articles.
When it comes to selecting the right Supplier Portal software solution, the good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, learn from what others have experienced and follow the beaten path to success. To get you started, here’s what our own EnterWorks Supplier Portal customers have to say about what to consider:
Supplier Portal implementations hinge on adoption. That’s why a portal solution must be designed with a simple, user-friendly interface. In fact, this has been one of the most critical factors for most users.
A supplier should be able to easily log in and interact with the system with only basic training and technical skills. The dashboard must be easy-to-understand and intuitive. This alleviates some of the stress put on the suppliers to use the portal when uploading or sending data. This also drastically reduces training time, as most users can be up and running with the system over the course of a few days.
To help ensure your implementation goes smoothly, look for a technology solution that is configurable over time. Why? Because when it comes to ensuring supplier cooperation, you’ll want to start simple and take baby steps. In other words, a flexible, configurable solution ensures you can grow the program as your business changes. After the initial rollout, you can easily add data points to your data pool and create new quality requirements.
Another way to ensure adoption is to look for a solution that is flexible in regards to collaboration and communication. After all, not every supplier has the same resources. So, the portal should include several options for how the supplier can interact and provide data. For example, small supplier organizations may take a more manual approach, while your larger suppliers may want to send an excel file that the portal can receive and upload programmatically.
“Easy to deploy”
Yes, a configurable solution is important. However, it should also have out-of-the-box features and functions to get you started quickly. For example, an ideal solution will provide business and validation rules configured via the UI without programming needed.
Another benefit of an easy-to-deploy solution is that – when it’s deployed by PIM experts or trusted Solution Integrators – it can be implemented quickly. Some companies experience lengthy implementations, which is unfortunate and frustrating when inadequate supplier collaboration is slowing your business down.
A question we get from many companies is, “Should we deploy a Supplier Portal first, or a PIM solution first?” It’s the age-old chicken or egg conundrum.
Some companies may already have a PIM system in place, but want to add a Supplier Portal to push an endless aisle strategy or improve supplier collaboration.
Others may be looking for a PIM system as well as a Supplier Portal. If that’s you, then you’re ahead of the game. Take advantage of the opportunity to choose an integrated solution that meets your current requirements as well as your future needs.
For example, many of our competitors only offer a Supplier Portal that’s separate from their PIM solution. Here’s the issue. First, you have to worry about implementing two things that don’t communicate very well with each other. Furthermore, the cost of ownership is higher when you are managing two separate systems. In comparison, EnterWorks Enable PIM solution with Vendor Portal is on the same software as our main PIM platform. It uses the same data model, same security system, and more. The total cost of ownership is lower and we have the fastest go live times in the industry.
Where are you in your PIM journey?
We hope this series has given you some food for thought when it comes to Supplier Portals, but we realize we’ve only just scratched the surface. We invite you to talk to us about your challenges and how we can help.
Now, go download your free copy of The Supplier Portal Playbook, and tell us what you think below!