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Build Better Supplier Relationships with B2B Automation

B2B automation helps businesses to optimize the procurement process, but it can also play a significant role in building collaborative, cost-saving and engaged supplier relationships.

b2b_automation_relationships.jpgIn the past, the influence procurement departments had over costs was primarily limited to identifying suppliers, negotiating prices, and attempting to impose conditions that favored the buying organization. Though the procurement process was a perennial cause of inefficiency, there was not much that could be done about error-prone manual workflows and the expense of hiring qualified staff to make sure the supply chain ran as smoothly as possible.

In recent years, technology and changing attitudes to Supplier relationships has fueled a revolution in procurement efficiency, but many purchasing organizations face challenges aligning Suppliers with the procurement and enablement processes that can reduce costs and increase efficiency.

eProcurement platforms allow Buyers to gather data, streamline communications, and implement optimizations across the procure-to-pay process. To exploit the full potential of eProcurement, Buyer and Seller platforms must be integrated to enable the automatic interchange of data. End-to-end automation of the payment process with the flawless communication of purchase orders, invoices, and other procurement data brings immediate efficiency benefits, which PunchOut2Go CEO Brady Behrman explained in detail here.

But automation isn’t just about tangible efficiency improvements. It also plays an important role in establishing collaborative relationships between Buyers and Sellers. Poor relationships lead to lack of engagement, lack of commitment, and a reluctance to make investments that could contribute to future process optimizations. The causes of poor relationships between Suppliers and Buyers, procurement and payment errors, downtime and lack of reliability, incompatible workflows, and the perception that either side of the relationships is expected to carry an excessive cost or labor burden.

Automation Removes Friction from Supplier Relationships

Research from the Tungsten Network shows that 84% of businesses have suffered Supplier failure over the last three years, with 30% of businesses reporting significant harm such as loss of revenue or business partners. Siloed data is a significant cause of Supplier failure alongside inadequate processes and failure to leverage the available technology. No business that depends on its Suppliers can afford the risk of Supplier failure, so it is in the interests of the buying organization to enable their Suppliers with technology that improves engagement and integration while reducing the risk of error.

Businesses are complex human systems, and each one grows organically over time in response to internal and external pressures. It is inevitably challenging to align processes, cultures, expectations, and platform choices between any two organizations. An automation layer that handles data interchange between Buyer eProcurement platforms and Seller eCommerce applications can help to overcome the friction caused by incompatible human and organizational factors.

In 2019, organizations are focused on building sustainable Supplier relationships. Human connections are vital to cultivating strong and lasting relationships, but automation technology can play a crucial role in bridging the differences between Buyer and Seller organizations while providing opportunities to reduce costs throughout the procurement process. Did you know that many suppliers will offer a higher discount if the ordering process is automated? With automation, Suppliers lower the cost to serve customers and create efficiency along the way, creating a win-win for buyers and suppliers alike. Smart B2B Buyers are meeting Suppliers halfway with Supplier enablement strategies that include low-overhead integration and automation solutions.

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