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Supplier Enablement: Fast and Cost-Effective eProcurement Integration for Your Suppliers

Supplier enablement is key to cost-effective eProcurement integration, but enablement of suppliers is often more expensive and time-consuming than it should be.

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Modern eProcurement platforms give businesses tremendous insight into procurement processes and spending. They allow businesses to manage procurement processes with greater granularity and accountability, enhancing procurement efficiency, cutting waste, and fostering collaboration.

Integration is the bedrock on which these benefits are built. eProcurement and spend management platforms are most useful when buyer and supplier platforms are integrated. Integration allows data to flow between platforms seamlessly. If buyer and seller platforms can’t communicate, eProcurement platforms cannot be leveraged to their fullest potential.

Unfortunately, businesses have no guarantee that their eProcurement platform is compatible with supplier Commerce infrastructure and applications. It’s almost a certainty that it isn’t compatible with some supplier platforms given the huge number of eProcurement platforms and eCommerce applications as well as OMS and ERP systems.

PunchOut2Go and the PunchOut2Go Vendor Connect Hub empowers businesses to enable their suppliers with seamless B2B integration and punchout catalogs, slashing the expense, lead-times, and frustrations of traditional B2B integrations while maximizing true efficiencies through methodical approaches to data mitigation and harmonization.

Why “Truly” Enable Your Suppliers?

Buyers often take the lead where B2B integration is concerned. Integration is important to the smooth and efficient operation of procurement workflows. Without true end-to-end integration, data must be moved between platforms manually, increasing staffing costs and errors on both the buy-side and sell-side. Data is locked away in documents spread across the organization, providing procurement professionals with little insight into spending patterns or oversight of rogue spending. 

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Businesses that have adopted an eProcurement platform such as Coupa, SAP Ariba or any eProcurement system are familiar with the frustrations and headaches where often there's a disconnect between supplier and buyer platforms without true automation between buyer and seller systems. They include supply chain disruptions, confusion around supplier information and products, missed cost savings, misspending and labor factors. The confusions engendered by a lack of integration cost businesses dearly and put supplier relationships at risk.

Supplier enablement improves the relationship between supplier and buyer, ensuring supply chain continuity and that product and material procurement processes run smoothly. Automated B2B integration reduces requisition-to-order processing costs, ensures speedy completion of procurements, and gives businesses the data they need to manage procurement across their organization.

The organizations that approach PunchOut2Go are highly motivated to enable their suppliers for integration.

Supplier Enablement Challenges

Ideally, B2B integration provides the following:

  • Documents and other transactional data are automatically communicated between buyer and supplier platforms.
  • Supplier catalogs can be accessed and managed from within the buyer’s eProcurement platform, either with hosted or punchout catalog capabilities.
  • Automated integration covers all important eProcurement platform and eCommerce application interactions, including purchase orders, invoicing, and delivery notifications.

This wishlist has been difficult to realize for many businesses. Purchasing organizations seeking to enable suppliers face numerous challenges and expenses. Foremost among them is the number of supplier eCommerce platforms that must be integrated with.

A midsized organization may buy from hundreds or thousands of suppliers. The B2B eCommerce space offers countless eCommerce technologies, each with its own integration requirements or lack thereof. A seller may have to accommodate many different applications, from widely used eCommerce stores such as Magento, SAP Hybris, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and IBM Websphere Commerce, to homemade eCommerce applications that don’t conform to any widely used standard of data interchange.

Developing custom integrations for each supplier’s application is expensive and time-consuming. Enabling a supplier for punchout often involves lead-times of up to a year, as supplier and buyer work together to develop and implement a custom integration plan. Custom integrations impose significant costs on both supplier and buyer. These costs often discourage businesses from implementing the across-the-board integration of all suppliers, resulting in the integration of a few favored suppliers while the majority continue with manual and inefficient procurement processes.

Suppliers can be reluctant to bear the expense and labor of creating a custom integration, damaging what may be a valuable relationship to the purchasing organization. Many suppliers do not have the technical ability or the IT resources to complete an integration project.

Furthermore, custom integrations are a sunk cost and they don’t scale. The expense of integration may influence organizations to maintain a relationship with a supplier when they would otherwise prefer to initiate a relationship with a competitor. As the business establishes new supplier relationships, existing integrations are unlikely to be transferable, necessitating further expensive development work.

PunchOut2Go Reduces the Friction of B2B Integration and Supplier Enablement

The PunchOut2Go Vendor Connect Hub can integrate any eProcurement platform with any eCommerce application as well as ERP / OMS to automate order to invoice transactions. A managed cloud middleware layer, the Hub is positioned between the purchasing organization’s eProcurement platform and the supplier’s eCommerce application. It mediates communication between endpoints, translating data feeds between heterogeneous formats and protocols.

The Vendor Connect Hub substantially reduces the amount of time it takes to enable suppliers for B2B integration, including punchout catalog integration. Working with both buyers and sellers, PunchOut2Go slashes integration lead-times to weeks rather than months, while substantially cutting the cost of integration.

The Vendor Connect Hub and PunchOut2Go’s support services are designed to overcome the real-world challenges businesses face when enabling suppliers for integration.

  • PunchOut2Go provides comprehensive integration that can include punchout catalogs, and purchase order, invoice, and shipping notification integration.
  • With PunchOut2Go, buyers can more easily move between suppliers and add new suppliers, increasing competition in the supplier market.
  • PunchOut2Go reduces integration costs for both buyers and sellers and will support both parties throughout the integration process.

VCA, Inc. is a leader in the veterinary industry with more than 750 animal hospitals throughout the US and Canada. VCA adopted the Coupa business spend management platform to handle its $250 million procurement spend, but over half of the company’s suppliers could not support Coupa’s protocol, at no fault whatsoever to Coupa. Systems such as Coupa Software have the means to transact, but the system itself varies as do the buyer’s unique requirements. Many suppliers did not have the IT resources to complete the integration process. Onboarding new vendors took up to nine months.

Seeking to streamline supplier enablement, VCA adopted the PunchOut2Go Vendor Connect Hub. VCA leveraged our platform to assist its high-volume suppliers to conform to Coupa and VCA’s requirements, streamlining supplier on-boarding and transaction processing.

VCA and its suppliers benefited from a 50%+ reduction in supplier on-boarding time, a 6-fold increase in the number of integrated suppliers, the capture of 92% of spend data as well as reduction of 40,000+ invoices that no longer needed manual intervention. You can learn more about how the PunchOut2Go Vendor Connect Hub reduced integration costs and increased flexibility for VCA, Inc. in this case study.

Start Enabling Your Suppliers Today

To learn more about how PunchOut2Go and the PunchOut2Go Vendor Connect Hub can help your organization to enable its suppliers for punchout catalog and procure-to-pay integration with any eProcurement platform, contact us via live chat or complete the form below.

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