Customer and Supplier Portals are Essential to Supply Chain Collaboration
Published on 6 June 2023
Despite company initiatives to digitize, small companies in the supply chain without the technical resources can get left behind. Customer and supplier portals are a great way for those suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and retailers without extensive IT resources and supply chain software such as ERP systems to manage and optimize their supply chains.
Customer and supplier portals allow businesses to connect and collaborate with their trading partners over the internet. They serve as a central exchange hub for supply chain-related communications by connecting trading partners electronically. These portals accommodate a variety of data formats, whether EDI-based documents, web forms, XML, and unstructured data formats (PDFs, flat files, scanned documents and images, etc.) through a backend integration to the trading partner’s ERP system.
Customer and supplier portals facilitate the flow of information and knowledge among companies by automating supply chain processes. The many benefits of portals include error elimination and improved data quality. These platforms reduce order processing times and eliminate disputes by providing an archive and audit trail.
The use of portals bring trading partners inventory visibility and through automation, allow them to truly collaborate with their trading partners and even diversify their supplier networks.
Here's a look at the Generix cloud-based customer and supplier portals:
Generix customer order-to-cash (O2C) portal
The customer, such as a retailer or distributor, sends their vendor or supplier an PO (purchase order) through the Generix O2C portal which is translated by the portal and sent to the supplier’s ERP or other order system. The customer receives an order acknowledgement from the supplier, ASNs (advance shipping notices), and pays the supplier, all via the portal, ultimately managing the entire process in a centralized repository.
By collaboratively managing multi-channel orders (EDI, fax, paper) on a customer portal, users can stay on top of their business and greatly reduce the labor and costs associated with paper handling and chasing down paperwork offline or searching for documentation held elsewhere on company systems elsewhere. The Generix intuitive application means customers can set up customized product catalogs to execute their orders to suppliers via an input form or clicking on a purchase-again option.
The retailer or distributor also reaps the many direct and indirect benefits of reduced order processing times, real-time visibility into order status and eliminated disputes. Retailers and distributors can also more easily boost their product sales when they take advantage of the POS resources such as promotional banners and reseller promotions offered by their vendors.
In turn, the benefits of enhanced service levels are far reaching. This means that a retailer can inform their own customers when product will be in stock based on delivery shipping and delivery information in the portal. They can also more easily plan promotions and discounts, knowing product will be in stock.
Generix supplier procure-to-pay (P2P) portal
A small manufacturer receives an order from a retailer on the Generix supplier P2P portal and manages the entire process from shipping to receiving payment on the portal. For example, a candle supplier receives an order for 1,000 units from retailer and receives a notification of the order via text or email. At the portal, the user receives the purchase order and in turn, returns an order acknowledgment using autofill technology in a turnaround document that is sent via the portal to the retailer’s systems.
Even suppliers without much digitization can use the system, such as a vendor that scans in a hand-written or printed order which is uploaded to the portal. Using shared error resolution and advanced OCR (optical character recognition) technology with AI, the order acknowledgment can be generated and using the portal’s built-in graphic correction studio, images can be further corrected or enhanced. Upon receipt, the retailer can then make any final corrections to the order and accept it.
This means companies that ordinarily wouldn’t normally have access to advanced tools such as the automation of order processes and detection of disruptions and disputes can better manage their supply chain chains from inventory management to logistics and delivery performance. They can also use the forecasting and reporting tool to look at warehouse outputs and optimize production and logistics costs.
The Generix supplier portal is estimated to reduce operating costs at users by 20 percent to 40 percent through greater efficiencies in order processing, inventory management, logistics, invoicing and payment as well as dispute management.
In summary, today’s supply chain portals are a lot more than just a way to send and receive supply chain documentation such as POs, ASNs and shipping confirmations. Portals have evolved with the times over the decades they’ve been in existence and often incorporate technologies such as machine learning, AI, and advanced OCR capabilities. Ultimately, portals deliver supply chain efficiencies and competitive advantage.
About Generix Group
At Generix Group North America, we provide a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across your entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none.
We invite you to contact us to learn more.
Click here to discover the benefits of Generix Transactional Portals.
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