Manufacturing businesses and their suppliers work in a complex environment that calls for simple, secure, and seamless processes in order to operate efficiently with one another. Without the right solutions and platforms in place, these business processes can be extremely time-consuming and potentially frustrating to work around.
A supplier portal can be the solution to many issues manufacturing organisations face when working within supply chain management. A supplier portal, more broadly called a vendor portal, is used to store information, submit documents, receive updates, display inventory, and house communication.
Let’s explore different aspects of supplier portal solutions and how such a platform can improve both efficiency and vendor relationships.
What Is a Supplier Portal?
A supplier portal is an online platform that helps connect and manage processes between a business and their third-party vendors. The portal is a safe and secure system that allows manufacturers to work and communicate through a web interface.
While many organisations can benefit from supplier portal solutions, supply chain management enterprises, especially those with multiple vendors, most often gravitate toward this type of online platform. This is because their everyday processes can involve massive amounts of data entry along the supply chain.
There are many features offered within a vendor portal, but it’s important to note the difference between a supplier portal and a customer portal when deciding on the right solution for a particular business.
Similar to a supplier portal, a customer portal is also a secure web interface often used to centralise information and communication. However, a customer portal is designed to give the user visibility into interactions between them and a business. Depending on the type of enterprise, a customer portal can offer simple tasks like downloading documents, or more complex functions like requesting customer support processes. Both kinds of portal solutions have evolved rapidly over time and provide features that make the supply chain more efficient and accurate.
How a Supplier Portal Integrates Along the Supply Chain
A vendor portal can connect to several touch points along an organisation’s supply chain. Integrating other systems can offer capabilities that start at the very beginning of the supply chain, like when purchase orders are first created, and extend all the way to the end of a transaction and beyond, such as accessing past payment invoices.
Common Uses for a Supplier Portal
- Streamlining vendor onboarding. This allows new partnerships to start off on the right foot by being able to easily provide the vendor with important links, process instructions, and answers to any frequently asked questions.
- Simplifying tracking and reporting. Businesses are able to track multiple suppliers and get a clear picture of their own progress with customised reporting. A supplier portal can provide insight into stock levels, performance, and even provide notifications when an order needs to be placed to maintain day-to-day operations and keep up with customer demands.
- Staying up to date with procurement functions. Invoices, purchase orders, and payment histories are easily accessible through the platform, as well as visibility into any changes or updates with a shipment, the expected delivery date, payment status, and other vendor notifications in real-time.
Top 3 Benefits of a Supplier Portal
Business processes with vendors can include many tedious daily tasks when the work is done manually. Because supply chain management is an ongoing process, these tasks can seem never-ending but supplier portals can help to simplify the manual functions that can be the most time-consuming.
Here are three key benefits of using a supplier portal to help improve existing processes and eliminate manual tasks:
1. Build Strong Supplier Relationships with Vendor Portals
Vendor portals help promote better interactions between organisations through improved two-way communication, clear directions, and enhanced onboarding. Reports and updates are easier to retrieve, which also improves transparency. When everyone has clear guidelines and more streamlined workflows, trust and communication grow and facilitate successful and long-lasting relationships with partners.
2. Improve Accuracy of Data and Important Information
Supply chain management involves large volumes of data and an increased risk of human error. Before vendor portals, buyers and suppliers reviewed data on separate platforms. This made it difficult to get accurate and up-to-date information. A vendor portal offers accurate and live updates. Changes made can be seen immediately, which helps increase transparency and clear communication.
3. Enhance Workflows with Automation
As progress is made through the supply chain, vendors need to receive notifications to know it’s time to take action on next steps in the workflow. Automated notifications remove the need for suppliers to manually follow up with each other. This allows the work to flow smoothly from one stage to the next. Automation helps make processes more efficient, while also reducing manual administrative tasks.
Distributor and Supplier Portals with Liferay
In order to stay both competitive and relevant, it’s vital for organisations to utilise web interfaces that allow them to grow and scale. Liferay can help your business to create exceptional experiences for your partners on a platform that works best for you. With Liferay’s partner and supplier portals, you can:
- Create fresh, modern interfaces.
- Connect with partners through blogs, message boards, and comments.
- Easily manage user profiles, access, and permissions.
- Gain feedback and insight from your partners through form builders.
Liferay allows you to equip all of your vendors with the documentation, branding guidance, and product information needed to maximise sales and get the most possible value out of your partnership.
Shifts Towards Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing Industry
Over the past decade, digital transformation has been accelerating in almost every industry - and manufacturing hasn’t been an exception. Rising customer expectations, increased competition, and disruptive changes caused by big data, Industry 4.0, and COVID-19 have forced the industry to shift their business models and refocus their IT investments towards resilience, business continuity, and cost saving.
Download our e-book - ‘Manufacturing Excellence: 5 Inspiring B2B Solutions Built With Liferay’ - to see how manufacturers have designed flexible solutions with Liferay DXP to meet rising expectations of customers and other stakeholders.