Strengthen your supplier relationships with ERP
10 March 2023
Chris Stock, MD of Inforlogic, looks at how platforms such as Infor CloudSuite Industrial can help manufacturing businesses strengthen their relationships with suppliers through transparency, automating processes and easier share of data and information.
Global supply chain volatility has never been greater, putting the spotlight firmly on the quality of supplier relationships. With Brexit having shaped a perception of the UK as a hostile region to do business, collaboration and investing in relationships across the supply chain is undoubtedly a prerequisite for success.
Digital, ERP in particular, has a pivotal role to play in addressing supply chain volatility, helping to understand scenarios and make decisions faster. But what role does it play in strengthening relationships with suppliers? There are five key areas in which ERP can add value, as summarised below:
Supplier relationship management is an integral component of modern ERP, supporting successful procurement.
Because procurement cannot be effective as a silo, it has to incorporate data from operations, finance, logistics and marketing, and as such, an effective ERP is needed to be able to view insights, and indeed any interdependencies, from these business areas in a comprehensive, integrated way.
Communication is paramount in effective procurement, and through having access to real-time insights and reports, conversations with suppliers can be informed, meaningful and of value.
Having clear visibility of both inventory, and customers’ orders, can pinpoint any order quantity adjustments which might be necessary ahead of time. Not only does this ensure expectations are managed, but it can reduce costs, optimise fulfilment and cement reputations.
Through having lists and records of approved vendors and suppliers, any quotes or requests can be quickly analysed and responded to in order to make the very best decisions on both procurement and supplier relationships.
This can help streamline suppliers in order to optimise reliability or expand them to mitigate risk, depending on market dynamics.
And through opening up systems to suppliers, either via EDI, portals or APIs, data can be shared to facilitate greater collaboration.
This means that processes can be consolidated, costs can be reduced, and the end product for the consumer can be improved, while trends can be mapped and incorporated into strategy, and requested information can be actioned immediately without resorting to e-mails and potential delays.
Supply chains can then be adjusted to address changes or meet specific needs.
Having easy access to all levels of detail about a supplier, from payment terms, lead times, prices and product specifications, means that confidence is expedited, and admin is reduced.
And through applying this against a backdrop of insights from across the entire business to generate a comprehensive business view, informed decisions can be taken in the moment they are needed.
Through being able to collaborate for any traceability requirements, best practice can be adhered to, the right protocol adopted and resolutions created based on real-time collaboration, informed by facts and data. As well as ensuring efficiency, reputational benefits are secured, resulting in reduced risk.
Ultimately, good relationships are key to the collaborative approach necessary to combat complexity, secure the best pricing models and deliver an optimum customer experience.
As businesses grow, and both complexity and supply chain volatility increase, a modern ERP which encompasses the best supplier relationship management capabilities, can help nurture and strengthen supplier relations to help meet these aims and secure a competitive edge in what continues to be a challenging time for manufacturers.
For more information on how the Inforlogic support team can guide your business through the digital adoption process, get in touch or call the team on 01606 720499.