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Why suppliers should join a business network

In this digital era, many organisations are looking to streamline the way they engage and interact with their suppliers by using a cloud-based business network. As a supplier, it has never been more important to participate with your customer’s initiative. Here we explain why it’s of benefit to do so.

What your customers are doing
Like many organisations, they are moving to more efficient, standardised ways of communicating and transacting with their suppliers using electronic methods. They are now in the process of creating their digital business network and implementing a new way of interacting with all of their suppliers.

Why they’re doing it
They are making this transition because it will greatly streamline many of their internal processes, reduce costs and eliminate non-value-added activity. They know it will also make it easier for them to do business with, enhance mutual collaboration and strengthen your relationship.

What they want you to do
They need your participation in order to realise the benefits to both you and them. Getting started in a business network, such as The Business Network from Proactis, is simple.

Typically, all you need to do is go to a website and register, verify or update existing information, etc. Certain further instructions may be provided within the network based on choices you make for PO and invoice delivery etc. However, basic registration should only take a few minutes.

Why it’s an advantage to do so
Although you may initially have several options for how you decide to work with your customer within this new framework, they often intend to make basic participation in a business network a requirement for doing business with them in the near future. As of now, all new suppliers are typically required to participate as part of a basic agreement.

The benefits to you
As a valued supplier, you will get immediate and significant benefits from the business network that they deploy. New online capabilities will help you streamline the way you do business with them, gain earlier visibility of orders and payments and gain more ways to take control of your cash flow.

Specific capabilities you will gain right away include:
  • Online 24x7 access to all open purchase orders. You can download and print them, or forward them as PDFs to your order processing department. You can also acknowledge or comment on them online to help better synchronise your respective efforts. You can use this as your primary way of receiving POs or you can also continue to receive them from customers by post, by email or in electronic form.
  • Online 24x7 access to the current status of your invoices. Often you will be able to see exactly where your invoices stand in the receipt, approval and payment cycle. This will help you better predict and manage your cash flow.
  • New options for how you submit invoices that will speed processing and help your customers to ensure on-time payment.
  • New options for early payment. As a valued supplier using their business network, some customers may provide you with the ability to quickly and easily request early payment of any invoice(s) in exchange for a small discount.
  • The ability to keep key information they have about you up to date. You will have the ability to view and update important profile information they have about you online at any time. This includes information such as mailing address, contact names, phone numbers, email addresses, organisation type, category of supply, VAT Number, Companies House Number, D&B number and more. This will enable you to make sure they have all the right information for working with your organisation without confusion.
Once you are registered on your customer’s business network you will become eligible for new capabilities as they are rolled out. These will be intended to provide faster, clearer and more productive ways of communicating and transacting.

In the future, it is likely they will be looking to add more supplier self-service capabilities that will make it even easier to do business with them. Participating in a business network is a win-win for all involved.

Download our guide: The Business Network - getting started with electronic commerce