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Supplier Enablement Best Practice and Strategies

Buyers and suppliers from millions of companies and multiple countries are discovering new opportunities with the SAP Digital Supplier Network by collaborating together on transactions and extending their relationships. Buyers can manage the procurement process while controlling spending, finding new saving sources, and building a healthy supply chain. And Suppliers can see and track PO’s, deliveries, inventory levels, invoices, and payments all in one place.

To guarantee long haul achievement, Supplier Enablement is best executed in three stages:

Create a Strategy:

To begin with, lead vital examination to build up a prioritization, in light of key stakeholders and spend. The aftereffect of this activity is the determination of a limited number of recognized providers empowered in an ideal opportunity for Go Live.

Create a Communication Plan:

Next, optional “waves” of providers are recognized and empowered to include full volume and boost business esteem.

Start Onboarding!

Finally, leverage the initial supplier segmentation in ongoing, holistic development and execution of the overarching supplier management strategy.

Preparing for Wave 1:

As shown above, start with a discrete usage exertion concentrated on empowering a sensible number of suppliers (i.e., “Wave 1”) who have been chosen for a successful “Go-Live”, as per business rules as:

    • Wide-extending materialness over the association (e.g., office supplies inventories.
    • Vital motivating force in streamlining and smoothing out business structures, especially in directing supports and standards (e.g., IT hardware and software; mobile phones)
    • Industry-explicit or potentially basic need and volume (e.g., suppliers of claim to fame items and administrations required on a regular, high-volume premise by the purchasing association)

Including Higher-Volume Suppliers:

At the point when the Buyer is operational (i.e., electronic purchase orders and invoices – with an automated workflow – are as a rule effectively oversaw through the characterized channels), the following influxes of suppliers to be empowered are commonly the higher-volume suppliers to be empowered – at the very least – to submit electronic invoicing to use an automated workflow and impact enormous scope, exact cost allotment, and accurate account coding.

Depending on parameters set by the buying organization, the automation will facilitate a range of ‘order-to-receipt-to-invoice-to-pay’ matching to control price and item compliance. Supplier Enablement additionally safeguards adherence to payment terms, facilitates cash flow management, and minimizes invoice process cost.

Strengthen Business Value through visibility:

When these underlying strategic switches are set up and giving a strong continuous base of spend information, the organization turns its focus to forward-looking, holistic strategy development to achieve its overall supplier management objectives. This stage will be included further and intermittent spend and category investigations, provider division and legitimization, and will fill in as basic contributions to future floods of Supplier Enablement, arranged key sourcing occasions, and future category planning.

The outcome will be a progressing, dynamic administration of suppliers, including the elimination of some existing suppliers as well as activating new suppliers who bring new value and innovation.

Recommended activities:

The challenge some organizations face is the ability to effectively sustain the focus, resources, and knowledge to support the ongoing but periodic nature of Supplier Enablement activities, without which, the total expected value of the implementation and licensing investment will fall short.

3 Critical Success Factors to consider:

Current Supplier data

Teams are aware this may be a challenge -much time and effort will be needed to compile an accurate list of supplier contacts with whom to engage –and this is critical to meeting wave objectives

Communication/compliance – internal and external

Strong compliance messaging (internal and external) is essential to secure supplier registration, which in turn will drive adoption

Change Management

Your internal teams will encounter some change during the course of this program; active change management programs coupled with direct and frequent cross-functional executive messaging to the organization are often the lynchpin of success.

Key Best Practices:

Moving from a traditional paper or manual environment to an electronic process takes planning:

    • Ensure resources are on hand to support this process.
    • Ensure policies and procedures are reviewed/changed.
    • Ensure sufficient support and communication for your Buyer and AP community.

Executive Support & Buy-In from All Stakeholders

    • One vision and direction.
    • Gain sponsorship and resource commitments from each major stakeholder.
    • Solicit ideas/input from all areas within your organization where this change will have an impact:
      • Procurement, Sourcing, Accounts Payable, Finance, Business Units, IT, Legal, Tax.
    • Ensure you have internal compliance with key business partners upfront.
    • Educate business units on the value of electronically enabling suppliers.

Supplier Enablement Aligned with Customer Goals & Objectives

    • Understand your goals –what are you trying to achieve?
    • Ensure suppliers targeted match Goals & Objectives; Prioritize suppliers based on goals.
    • Provide refreshed supplier data for strategic analysis to ensure active suppliers are targeted and avoid wasted effort.

Build a Strong Supplier Compliance Plan

    • Most successful organizations implementing Ariba solutions have a strong supplier compliance plan.
    • Document your compliance plan & non-compliance escalation process and enforce it from the onset.
    • Easier to relax your position for a few suppliers as the need arises than it is trying to enforce strict changes down the line.
    • Results in more suppliers transacting electronically.
    • Suppliers only do what they are required to do or what they see as benefit & value.

Change Management Plan in Place

    • It is important suppliers hear the same message from all personnel.
    • Educate stakeholders, buyer community, end-users about the project, and what is expected of suppliers.

Communicate Often

    • Be clear and consistent in communications.
    • Provide timeline, value, benefits, and the importance of participation.
    • Keep suppliers informed of project status in the event of delays or changes in requirements.
    • Follow up with non-compliant suppliers promptly.

IT and Supplier Enablement Plans Aligned

    • Development of Supplier Education materials is dependent upon completed requirements, network customizations.
    • Supplier Testing is dependent upon technology & test environment availability. 

And finally, Supplier Enablement plans need to be developed and implemented (including the development and implementation of a tailored supplier communication strategy). The preparation and data collection time is accompanied by initial and informative communication with the supplier (to share detailed information on the electronic delivery of orders and invoices), as well as constant reporting and progress tracking in order to let it happen properly, and effectively. Although the need for supplier activation is continuing in nature, peaks and valleys are also present in the amount of demand at any given time, as well as conflicting goals.

For more information on how to achieve maximized business value with strategic Supplier Enablement objectives, please visit SAP Digital Supplier Network – Supplier Adoption Overview.

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