Webinar Recap: How to Take Your Supplier Enablement to the Next Level

January 7, 2014 Terri Shepherd

In our webinar on December 17th, we presented best practices, tips and tricks for each phase of launching a supplier portal. With the end goal of ultimately capturing more early payment discounts and streamlining communication with suppliers.

Although incredibly important pieces, a top-notch supplier enablement program goes beyond onboarding and enrollment. Companies need an integrated supplier self-service, eInvoicing and change management strategy to achieve the highest success in capturing early payment discounts through dynamic discounting.  

Supplier enablement programs can be seen as a numbers game. The more suppliers you invite to your portal, the more enrolled suppliers you’ll have. Therefore, the more invoices with early payment offers become available and the more savings you’ll add to your bottom line from supplier discounts.

Supplier enablement is a multi-phase program: pre-live, go-live and post-live.

Pre-Live: Educate

The pre-live phase focuses on external communication to suppliers as well as internal planning and education.

Generating awareness of the portal for suppliers as quickly as possible is key to adoption. If suppliers are not aware of the portal ahead of time, they are less likely to adopt at the time of going live. However, in order to spread awareness of the portal, supplier contact information must be accurate and up-to-date. For this to happen, oftentimes a supplier information management tool is key.

It’s important to get multiple departments (oftentimes accounts payable, finance, shared services, procurement and IT) involved, and on the same page. Hold regular change management meetings to address any questions or concerns ahead of time to make going live as smooth as possible.

Go-Live: Onboard

The go-live phase is the optimal time to send out automated, personalized email invitations. Strategically segmenting suppliers and tailoring each message will likely result in a higher portal enrollment rate.

Interactive, incentivized and fun in-person training meetings will help make supplier facing teams the portal experts, and therefore increase their understanding of the benefits reaped by both themselves and suppliers with higher portal adoption and usuage rates.

Post-Live: Operationalize

So your portal is live. Now what?

Getting the most out of your supplier portal is a continuous process. Regularly holding employees accountable for proper portal usage, in addition to ongoing education and training will result in a higher discount capture rate (read: higher savings).

Portal Policy

“In order to achieve world-class supplier enablement, the most important tool in your toolbox isn’t a tool. It’s the muscle you put behind your program through implementing a portal policy.”

Easily the most effective way to capture the most discounts using your supplier portal is implementing a portal policy. For parents, it’s like asking your children to eat broccoli for dinner instead of cookies. Most children wouldn’t automatically choose vegetables over dessert if they don’t have to, but requiring they eat their greens will result in healthier habits.

In fact, companies using a portal policy achieved as high as 92% supplier enrollment, leading to more early payment discounts captured.

For an example portal policy template, watch the full webinar.

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