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Improving the efficiency of supplier onboarding

By  Paul Cook  on  24 Apr 2020


For enterprise-class organisations, improving the efficiency of supplier onboarding and record management can help procurement teams add value across the business.

For enterprise businesses, being able to gain a clear, single view of your supplier information is critical, particularly in an environment where multiple ERP systems are in place. Having a single “Golden” record of validated information from the moment a supplier is onboarded is a must-have.

Managing supplier information in a big data environment

Procurement teams need to have confidence that any suppliers not only have the financial stability to be able to fulfil the products and services they provide, but also meet the necessary information security, modern slavery, and other compliance requirements that need to be enforced and documented across the supply chain.

The volume and diversity of data required to maintain accurate supplier records means it can be a challenging task to carry out manually. Of course, the world does not stand still, once the record has been created it needs to be maintained. Multiply this effort by tens of thousands of suppliers and it is easy to see why there is a very real need for better tools to help automate and secure the onboarding and ongoing verification of suppliers.

The list of data points requiring validation is growing all the time, but should at least include:

  • Registered address
  • Trading name
  • Tax ID
  • Valid, audited accounts for past 3 years
  • Relevant ISO certificates with known end dates
  • Industry required certification with known end dates
  • 3rd party risk scores (financial and otherwise)
  • 3rd party enrichment
  • Info sec questionnaires
  • Bank and payment details
  • Industry specific questionnaires

Once the data has been collated (or updated), it needs to be made available to a variety of stakeholders across the business. Access to the data in a timely manner can deliver process efficiencies to the business, which will directly impact the bottom line.

Automating Supplier Information Management

By providing existing and potential suppliers with a self-service portal, businesses can reallocate a significant percentage of the workload associated with supplier management. This will free up resource within the procurement team to focus on projects that add greater value to the business.

Placing the emphasis on data collection and input in the hands of the supplier has two clear advantages. First, it saves time and effort internally. Second, it reduces the likelihood of input error or incomplete records.

By automating the information gathering and updating process, workflows can be incorporated that enable disparate teams to review and approve relevant information within the platform. This adds both additional controls and speed, particularly where the teams are distributed globally and working on different time zones. These workflows can also help with the related processes of data validation, normalisation and aggregation.

Achieving a single, “Golden record” across ERPs

With the ability to write back to multiple ERP systems, organisations are able to create and maintain a “golden record” – a single source of truth for supplier data across multiple, connected systems. When combined with data from a spend analytics solution, this introduces opportunities to generate additional value for the business. The combined business intelligence supports improved decision making in a variety of areas, including:

  • Supplier rationalisation
  • Product rationalisation
  • Invoice rationalisation
  • Price point standardisation

Process automation and efficiency are more important than ever. Each incremental improvement in internal process management and access to business intelligence can have a material impact on the bottom line.

If you are looking for ways to add greater efficiency to your supplier onboarding process and would like to discuss your requirements, contact our team today.