How a supplier portal in your WMS will make your life easier

Does your business ever run better with less information about your customers?

So, why would you expect your suppliers to be doing their best if you’re not giving them the information they need about you? Supplier portals, which can be introduced into many WMS platforms as a module with a login for your supplier, are an ideal option for you to share all of the data your business has and needs to do its best.

Here are four key areas where a WMS module for your suppliers can improve your relationship, the quality of service your suppliers provide, and ultimately support your revenue growth when you need it most.

1. Improving communication and integration

You work with your suppliers in a wide range of ways that moves beyond just checking in your inventory and ensuring everything is on time. A WMS module that integrates a supplier portal could be the first step into creating better communication for all of these other areas.

In a supplier portal, you can set it up so that you’re doing most of the work and providing most of the documentation, with your supplier playing a role more of a verification check than a data provider. If those goes well and streamlines your interactions — such as reducing documentation errors or helping your supplier get paid faster — the supplier portal might help convince your partners to integrate into greater systems like your ERP or even CRM where your business benefits from having more data and access to partners.

2. Giving suppliers data they need to help you

Do you provide suppliers with your product data? Are they part of your overall product information management?

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Some warehouse teams will say “no” to those questions, and that may be holding them back from being their most efficient operation. It’s hard for a supplier to give you 100% perfect product data. This is important to your business, especially if you’re a manufacturer or a distributor.

A supplier portal within your WMS can link to other WMS modules that can include product catalogs. That ensure everyone has the same scope, dimensions and more of your products.

When you’re gearing up your warehouse to support a new product launch or shoring up for a big shopping season, information shared on a WMS module and in your portal can give you a boost to having the right number of the right parts, materials, and products.

3. Enforcing rules and reinforcing your requirements

A supplier portal can also provide you with a quick and easy way to make sure your suppliers are qualified for your business. It can support audits and allow you to generate requirements for a supplier profile. New conditions of your business can be delivered to everyone, and you can even require acknowledgment of the change for them to move forward and do more business with you.

If you create a new company initiative, such adopting reusable or low-waste packaging options and multi-use containers, the portal will allow you to share this requirement and confirm that your partners know of the change, acknowledge it, and agree to it. It’s also a tool you can use to easily hold them accountable to your new requirement.

4. Helping your suppliers manage their work

Suppliers have many internal requirements that they want to audit based on customer data, from complete and on-time deliveries to satisfaction levels and how their own partners are operating. Your suppliers route, track, and approve each shipment on multiple levels, and building a portal will give them quick access to the latest data such as approved bills of lading.

You can be a better partner simply by making it easier for your suppliers to audit and improve their own processes. By collecting the data and putting it in a single location, they can better understand how you’re serving them, and you have an easier time making comparisons across suppliers.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting

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