In almost every business, internal transactions cover only part of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) needs. Past a certain point, improving your own systems and records can only do so much when it comes to efficiency. If, for example, suppliers are not on the same page when it comes to purchasing and tracking, then it’s like having a blind spot in the middle of your operations. Today, we’re going to look at Supplier Relationship Improvement (SRI) processes and functionality that can fill in these gaps.
Supplier Relationship Improvement (SRI)
SRI refers to applications specifically designed to foster better communications throughout your supply chain. Together with other ERP solutions, these applications let you digitize communications and progress with vendors throughout your supply chain. Here are a few of the processes and functionality you should look for in a good SRI suite of applications.
In any working relationship with a third party, the approval process can be tricky. If you’re trying to approve via phone calls, physical paper, and non-digital approval methods, these problems can increase exponentially. By building the approval process into an integrated configurable rules-based Approval Routing system, you make it simpler to track approvals and updates. Some key functions to look for include purchase approval, new supplier approval, contract notifications, project budget approvals, delivery and inventory alerts, supplier master file updates, and reminder alerts.
Like the approval process, purchasing becomes much simpler when work online, which is why the online marketplace continues to grow each year. Digitized purchase requisition software lets you keep automate procurement and manages purchasing capabilities for buyers and suppliers, eliminating manual processes. It provides the ability to track past, present, and future purchases, without having to hunt through ‘loose’ paper records. With SRI purchasing software, you should have access to everything from current orders to product catalogs showing price updates/changes. Essential features such as eCommerce shopping, project budgeting and tracking, PO change orders, PO receipts inquiry increase efficiency dramatically, along with purchasing compliance for controlling Maverick Spend. Mobile access to software means you can place needed orders on the go, and reporting analytics let you see how money is spent over time, giving you a more complete picture of total operations.
Paper purchase orders with handwritten signatures can be difficult to track, getting lost beneath other paperwork. Sometimes, you may know for a fact you placed the order and you may even have a copy of the PO in front of you, but the supplier has no idea what happened to it. Digitizing PO’s lets you create an electronic record including the history of that record. Functionality such as PO acknowledgements and scheduled ship dates for each PO line item, supplier/buyer alerts, use of a supplier scorecard to help determine performance of your suppliers are requisites for Supplier Relationship Improvement. Whatever your process, online PO’s make it possible to quickly and easily track and record orders you placed as the order moves through the system without needing to hunt down paperwork.
On the other side of purchasing, supplier invoice reconciliation and tracking lets you keep charges transparent and accountable. If the invoice is based on a PO, you can attach the two in the system in order to close the loop of purchase made, goods or services received, and now invoice to be paid. If the invoice is not based on a PO, then this document can serve as a single point of contact for all parties. An invoice voucher application can pair with approval applications and with overall ERP software showing the resources available and how much you paid for them. It’s important to note again, that a robust SRI solution provides space for invoice reconciliation, in case there are any errors in invoicing or in value received.
Regardless of your suppliers’ internal process, digitization will make it easier to work collaboratively. If your supplier already digitizes much of their data, then you can use SRI to work with their systems. If not, then SRI will normalize operations on your end and provide useful end-points for suppliers to connect and report on progress in keeping with contractual agreements. Whatever your situation, SRI applications know how to deal with a range of supplier types.
For more information about a SRI solution that will fit your business, contact us today.
ISS Group (ISSG) has been providing IT solutions and services to the QAD User Community since 1995. ISSG’s primary focus is to deliver QAD add-on Solutions to the QAD User Community that improve Supplier Relationships by reducing PO transaction costs, managing and promoting Supplier catalogs, increasing PO volume, tracking Supplier contracts, streamlining invoice processing, and more. Our Solutions have been implemented in hundreds of QAD domestic and global User Organizations, are extremely cost effective, and are implemented within 60-90 days.
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