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Business networks – a win-win for suppliers and buyers

There are two good reasons why you should interact and trade electronically with your customers using a business network.

Reason 1 – Supplier / Buyer interaction: Effective communication and collaboration
A business network provides a web-based channel for suppliers and their customers to interact electronically, and enables a number of supplier self-service functions. It dramatically reduces administrative effort while improving communications. It is a platform for a number of applications which deliver value to both parties:
  • Self-service profile management enables suppliers to directly maintain standard information about themselves such as an electronic brochure, terms of business, classified goods and services, branch locations and contacts, etc.
  • Self-service catalogue management enables suppliers to state what goods and services they sell in a clear and normalised format and provides the necessary internal controls for buyers to manage updates to their central catalogue.
  • RFx and quotation posting and response streamlines the sourcing process.
  • Account enquiry allows suppliers to access published details of their account, including invoice and payment status, transaction history, etc. This removes a massive overhead for Accounts Payable and resolves supplier queries rapidly.
Reason 2 – Supplier / Buyer commerce: Streamline commerce transactions
Business networks provide a range of techniques for your customers to do business with you in a streamlined manner. As part of their supplier engagement strategy, they can apply a variety of methods based on the varying transaction volume and technical capabilities of different suppliers. And over time, they can work with suppliers like you to move through increasingly efficient methods to deliver incremental improvements that add up to significant savings for both them and your suppliers.

For ordering:
  • Punch-out makes it possible for customers to directly access your website and catalogue from within their Purchase-to-Pay solution.
  • Electronic PO posting on a business network provides a simple electronic method for sending POs, and a convenient way for you to receive them.
For invoices:
  • Electronic invoicing provides your customers with options for structured transmission, receipt and processing of invoice data with you using EDI, XML, PDF Excel, or other formats. This method is, of course, ideal for higher volume suppliers with the technical capability to generate electronic invoices.
  • Supplier self-billing allows lower volume suppliers to create electronic invoices on a business network based on usage, date or other parameters, and provides automatic payment remittance through electronic methods.
  • Purchase order flip makes it easy for smaller and infrequent suppliers to create electronic invoices from purchase orders posted to them on the portal.
  • Purchase card integration enables buyers to automate processing of spend from purchase card statements.
If your customer is deploying a business network, this represents a clear win-win opportunity for you and them, with clear benefits for all parties.

Benefits to you
  • Reduce your selling costs by more easily introducing yourself and responding to their needs.
  • Reduce your costs associated with order and invoice errors by keeping them up-to-date on capabilities, products, services and prices.
  • Reduce transaction processing costs by electronically receiving orders and sending invoices in the manner that is most convenient to you.
Benefits to your customers
  • Reduce the cost of procurement operations.
  • Reduce the cost of Accounts Payables operations.
  • Reduce organisation-wide costs associated with data maintenance and communications.
Download our guide: The Business Network - getting started with electronic commerce