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Suppliers Portal

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The supplier portal is a software tool that helps companies speed up the purchase process. The supplier portal belongs to the field of managing relations with suppliers " Supplier Relationship Management, SRM ". A the same as managing customer relationships " Customer Relationship Management, CRM " is responsible for improving the experience between a company and its customers, vendor management is responsible for improving it between a company and its suppliers.

Generally, this portal performs a very useful function for companies with many suppliers and for public entities that need to show that they are transparent in tenders. The provider portal helps companies to compare different vendor options automatically. To do this, first, companies must grant a username and password to suppliers, both those they already have and potential suppliers. These potential suppliers are also added for different reasons: either because they offer products or services that the usual ones don't have; recommendation; to have more options; because the usual provider can't offer enough; etc.

Once the suppliers are registered, they create lists to divide them according to the needs they can cover, whether it's a separation by type of products or services. In this way, there will be a filtering system and only communication with those who have that product or service will be established. To have a more comprehensive filtering system, companies usually send a request for information " Request For Information, RFI " to suppliers to know exactly what products or services they offer.

When the company needs one or more products or services, it writes a request for proposal " Request for Proposal, RFP ", which includes a list of its needs. This RFP is sent to all those providers that can cover all or some of that list. This request can also include requirements that the company wants the supplier to meet " a certain ISO standard, have software that can communicate with EDI,... ". The main advantage of the portal is a time saver, since the request is automatically sent to all the corresponding suppliers. This time savings is for both the company and the suppliers, thus promoting the loyalty of the suppliers. Companies that don't have this solution have to call each provider individually to get the information.

Suppliers receive a notification that the company has sent them a list of their additional needs and requirements, and they send a response through the supplier portal. In this way, the company purchasing manager receives all the automatic information in his system and can compare between the different options digitally. So, with this platform, the company can make its purchasing decisions faster. Due to the large number of vendor options that can come out when comparing, companies often take into account the performance and sales history of suppliers. In the ERP Guide It also includes some tips on how a customization of the portal can help with the purchase decision.

If a provider has any doubt or suggestion to make to the company, in many programs, this comment can be done through a comment chat section. The comment comes to the purchase manager with a notification to the email and this will be put in that section to answer. This occurs, for example, when a construction company has ordered white paint 1.0. But it may be that a supplier has white paint 1.00, 1.01, 1.02,... and wants to know which one would be really interested in buying the company. Or, also, in the case that an office requires paper, a supplier can try to stand out in quality by communicating that it complies with ISO 9706, which deals with paper quality.

The employee portal can function as an independent or integrated module within the company's ERP. If it's a separate module, then, when choosing supplier, the rest of the interaction, for example finance and sales, is handled with Excel or with another manual system that the company has established.

If it's integrated with the ERP system, then it's comparable to the integration of an ecommerce with the ERP. As soon as a supplier is chosen, the supplier is automatically notified and passes all the information to the purchasing and finance department. The invoice and the delivery note are also created automatically and the supplier can check the portal at any time. In addition, the supplier portal also offers the possibility of having traceability control. This control can be used both for the documents that are created from the communication and purchase from suppliers as well as the monitoring of the product itself to see in what state or where it is.

What does this tool mean for suppliers?

The supplier portal helps to retain suppliers. This portal also offers facilities for suppliers. Through this portal, suppliers can:

- Receive a notification in your email every time the customer needs something that he offers with the needs and requirements of the company;
- Be able to answer from the platform automatically and check the company's history to offer a personalized proposal;
- Communication with the company in the form of a comment chat in case there is any doubt or proposal regarding the purchase that the company wants to make;
- Once a purchase occurs, the supplier can check the delivery note, invoices, contracts and purchase history on the supplier portal at any time.

Differences between CRM and SRM

As mentioned above, the provider portal is within the supplier relationship management " SRM ". The resemblance to the term CRM is logical because both manage relationships with external parties. However, they are two sides of the same approach, that of caring for relationships.

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