How a Digital Experience Enhances Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Manufacturers and other organizations are usually already familiar with the value of digital experiences for Partner Relationship Management (PRM). You provide partners with solutions that contain dashboards, deal registration flows and other essential use cases that enable your channel to thrive (which in turn drives value for your business!).

But while the value of digital experiences for PRM may be more apparent, they also provide numerous benefits for organizations whose solutions are more geared toward their suppliers. There are nuances that exist between how to build an effective experience to enhance PRM as opposed to one that enhances Supplier Relationship Management (SRM). 

The strategic importance of SRM has increased since manufacturers have switched their approach from transactional relationships to the creation of value from suppliers. Explore five reasons why digital experiences are important for supplier relations and the companies that manage them.  

1) Onboard and Recruit New Suppliers

Just because they aren’t “partners” in the strictest sense doesn’t mean companies don’t have to onboard suppliers and get them acclimated to how to do business with you. You still need to register them, get applications and agreements with them and much more. These supplier relationships and sales operations are different; where partners are traditionally focused on lead generation, suppliers are focused on fulfillment and how your organization passes information about purchasing and using certain products. 

Digital experiences for SRM help cover things before transactions and start with the awareness that there might be potential partnerships for future business. While activities to identify, select and onboard suppliers for companies usually take a lot of manual effort, a digital experience helps to alleviate those tedious processes to proactively find and then onboard suppliers. This helps your business quickly and efficiently get your products into the hands of this important network. 

2) Get Your Resellers Supplied in One Place

Successful modern industrial suppliers understand the importance of becoming a one-stop shop for anything that companies might need.Historically, these types of interactions and purchases were entirely paper-based; a digital experience provides a more seamless, efficient journey for these organizations to get supplied. 

Instead of use cases like lead generation dashboards that exist in PRM solutions, digital experiences for SRM help surface fulfillment timelines and present scoreboards, training and other enablement materials in one place. Comprehensive and centralized information is essential for evaluating which relationships are most useful and drive revenue, and these things are easily tracked within an experience. Knowledge hubs allow better coordination and an ability to overcome issues like supply shortages, and the easy availability of information and data leads to higher transparency for suppliers. Collaboration that is enabled on a single platform helps reduce complexity, making things easy for SRM with these experiences. 

3) Better Communicate with Your Suppliers

Organizations need to make it easy to communicate information out to their suppliers. They need to simplify everything from reading training materials to acknowledging receipt of different products. Outdated processes often beleaguer companies that are just looking to improve experiences for suppliers. A digital solution lets you use directories and groups to find exactly who (or what) you need, and ask questions and get responses from internal experts. Collaboration among suppliers and between those suppliers and companies is a major value add, both in the short- and long-term. Social interaction and communication is essential in supplier management; and while it can’t be replaced by automation, it is enhanced by digital experiences. 

4) Reduce Friction Across All Touchpoints

With an SRM experience, you’ll ensure that friction is reduced across all touchpoints between suppliers and your business. You’ll make things easy and your suppliers will want to do business with you, which will provide better margins purchasing for them too. A digital experience results in frictionless journeys throughout their interactions. Let them leverage self-service to answer their own questions, reducing costs and headcount in operations. Suppliers gain transparency and visibility into fulfillment status, helping them identify issues earlier and address them simply. Relevant information and data is automatically collected and stored in your experience, streamlining processes and reducing tedious administrative and operational tasks.

You know that your suppliers always have a choice in who they want to do business with. Reduce friction and make things easy to improve retention and ensure your suppliers choose you.

5) Track and Achieve Fulfillment Goals

A digital experience lets you and your suppliers focus on all of the right things. You can prioritize growth, innovation and risk management, which in turn leads to cost savings and increased revenue. Dashboards and other tools let you (and your suppliers) monitor your goals and progress, keeping everyone on track for success. On-demand applications drive real-time feedback as intelligent automation continues to take over manual tasks, helping boost efficiency throughout your supplier network. SRM solutions that use experiences enhance all of the interactions between you and these suppliers–you’ll drive anticipated behavior, support relationships, enable companies to coordinate across functions and boost transparency. With a digital experience, it is simple to track and achieve all of your fulfillment goals. 

Focusing on use cases and solutions that revolve around fulfillment will help companies build experiences that make things easier for their suppliers. By embracing digital experiences for SRM, companies will maximize business value and keep these important users on track to get supplied and meet fulfillment goals at every step of their journeys.

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Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is especially important for manufacturers. See how to make things easy for all of your manufacturing users in our free white paper.
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