Vendor Portals: The Key to Managing Business Relationships
Managing vendor relationships can be a tricky affair. At first, everything is hunky-dory: company meets supplier, supplier has good price for product, company buys product. Love at first buy, right? But, the honeymoon can’t last forever. As your business grows, strain starts to show. Maybe communication starts to break down. Maybe you find that you’re having to repeat yourself over and over again. Maybe you’re receiving invoices for things you’ve never purchased and then suddenly–poof!–the trust is gone, and you’re off to find new vendors that can understand you and the needs of your company. Fortunately, there is an important tool in your toolbox that can help you manage your vendor business relationships: the vendor portal.
A vendor portal links all of your most important vendors to one site, customized to your specifications. It essentially creates one-stop shopping for all the biggest and most frequent transactions your business might have. Implementing a vendor portal can help you maximize your buying potential, improve communication with vendors, and reduce costs. while at the same time making your processes more efficient.
In relationships, they say communication is key. In order to keep your business running optimally, you need to have easy access to your suppliers. A vendor portal can help to optimize communication with vendors by having just one site that allows a person to submit a purchase order, check the status of an order, make payments through A/P, request customer service, and even produce useful inventory and accounting reports, all under the same website architecture. With such improved communication, you’ll be able to move your business forward by focusing on more important task.
A clean office is a happy office, and your vendor portal provides the opportunity to reduce the amount of paperwork that your business produces or has to manage. By managing your relationships directly online you can submit your P.O’s electronically or based upon your preferences. When your order is fulfilled, AP matching can happen in the very same system–no having to rekey anything. Suppliers can even post their own invoices to the system saving themselves postage and worry. You could even choose to design a completely paperless system that saves you money and saves important natural resources at the same time.
Managing your relationships can also give you some important insights into your business. Could your buying power give you access to dynamic price discounting? A vendor portal could let you build in such specifications, or any others you might need. For example, do certain products require an approval chain or contracts. Those could be built directly into the architecture of your system so that important functions don’t fall through the cracks.
Whether you are a large corporation with vendors all over the world, or a smaller organization with just a few vendors, you could reduce your stress, your costs and your carbon footprint by creating a vendor portal suitable to your needs. You can transfer your human capital to areas that most need it by removing the time your employees need to spend on administrative tasks.