Supplier Onboarding Best practices


A successful rollout of any digital supply chain solution like SmartDocs Supplier Portal (SSP) involves significant planning and preparation for vendor onboarding and adoption. A comprehensive plan to communicate with the suppliers and internal teams need to be executed. Digital Supply Chain, in general, involves not only making processes electronic but also streamlining, refactoring and optimization of the overall procurement processes. This means there is going to be a significant change in the way business is done for all parties involved. Careful identification of the changes and an effective program to manage the effects to various stakeholders are critical success factors for a successful rollout.

The following are generally the key processes areas improved by SSP roll out: 

  • Vendor Registration
  • Bidding and Contracting
  • Invoicing and Payments
  • Logistics
  • Compliance and Reporting
  • General Collaboration

There are two main constituents that are affected by changes brought in by a digital supply chain implementation are: 

  • Internal users (Procurement, Accounts Payable, Logistics, Master Data etc.) 
  • Suppliers 

This white paper focusses on the strategies and best practices for Supplier onboarding and adoption. Supplier Portal roll out has clear benefits to both customers and suppliers. And the trick is to ensure these benefits are communicated properly to all these groups. Different strategies and approaches are needed to make this effective and the rest of this white paper outlines different strategies used by various customers in successful roll-outs.  

Key Impact Areas 

Some of the key impact areas that a digital supply chain implementation brings about are discussed here in details. 

Transacting Electronically: The very first change that occurs with SSP roll out is the requirement for suppliers to transact electronically via the SSP as opposed to all the other modes of interaction including emails, snail mail, phone calls or talking to the various customer field personnel. This is generally a big change for the suppliers because they likely are used to working directly with different internal personnel. It is very important to give proper guidance and support for suppliers so that they are not overwhelmed. Transacting electronically will like for both inbound and outbound transactions including Bid, Contracts, Purchase Orders, Confirmation, Invoices and payments. 

Transparency of the process and documents will allow suppliers to have a clear idea of the process flows. This is generally very much welcome by suppliers as they might not have such insights into the internal operating processes of a company that they are transacting with. Even though the Purchase orders and contracts might lay out some of these, with the transparency afforded by SSP, the suppliers generally feel comfortable doing business effective and can plan properly on their side. 

VisibilityThis is one of the top benefits that both suppliers and customers get with a SSP roll-out. Supplier can get the visibility of the procurement transactions like contracts and purchase orders while customers get the visibility into the logistics, invoicing and more. 

Self-ServiceKey tenant of SSP implementation is the self-service capabilities that both suppliers and various customers department get rather than relying on emails and other non-auditable modes of collaboration.