In the areas of e-invoicing and invoice discounting, getting the right technology in place is essential. But deploying the right strategies to manage supplier expectations and maximize supplier participation in programs is arguably just as important – if not more – to overall success. I recently caught up with a long-time P2P process and systems owner at a Fortune 500 food/beverage company who offered tips he’s found have worked over the years in 2 large-scale supplier enablement projects designed to support P2P, accounts payable and trade financing efforts that he’s gone through.
The first lesson is that there is absolutely no substitute for experience. Namely, understanding what questions to ask a solution provider and what support to expect from them, versus what needs to happen internally to make the program successful. This organization has a few key lessons learned from a technology it previously used for supplier onboarding and e-invoicing connectivity, but ultimately migrated away from. While that technology was shut off in favor of a more modern system (Taulia’s supplier portal, eInvoicing and Dynamic Discounting), the transition gave the organization more experience with deployment and ongoing management to accelerate efforts the second time around.
Some of the most important lessons from both the previous and current deployments include:
- Getting procurement and the field (i.e., decentralized supplier relationship owners) involved as early in the process as possible and making them an advocate in supplier communications
- Investing the time to create the right upfront marketing and “messaging” to suppliers so that they understand the process, why it’s happening and the impact it will have on them. AP and procurement must see themselves as a marketing firm in this regard – not vendor managers!
- Not underestimating the power of communication combined with a well-orchestrated process and technology to get suppliers onboard quickly. The organization managed, based on its well-honed efforts, to get 36% of suppliers to sign up in the first 2 days of a targeting campaign
Stay tuned as our analysis (and lessons learned) continues.
(Cross-posted @ Spend Matters)