Supplier enablement: The key to your Coupa strategy
Think of automated source-to-pay (S2P) as an auto race. To compete, you’ll need a high-end sports car like Coupa with enough horsepower to speed up your processes, precision and responsiveness that keeps you on track, and reliability that means you’re not constantly in the shop for repairs. But before you get hypnotized by luxury features, it’s more important to consider the basics, like the key that starts the engine—supplier enablement.
Supplier enablement is the process of establishing electronic relationships between businesses and suppliers, gearing you up for seamless communication, collaboration, and processing as you move towards automated transactions.
But that’s not the only way it drives value. It also increases transparency into your orders, invoices, and payments so you can confidently track status with a head-up display. And greater visibility into your data means a higher rate of first-time-right invoices, taking your automation from zero to sixty—increasing your negotiating power and the ability to achieve early-payment discounts. Not to mention, you’ll also see improved relationships as you streamline the ordering process and create a consumer-like experience.
Ready to rev an effective supplier enablement program? Here are 5 tips that will give you a flying start.
1. Map out a strategy and track to it
Start by setting clear goals and targets, like the percentage of on-time payments or the number of suppliers using their preferred invoice methods. You can even create supplier segments that address different engagement methods, like catalogs, electronic interfaces, and supplier portals. Once you have those in place, you can start to see which have the most success—and what to home in on down the line.
2. Pick a lane
Creating standardized processes, policies, and technology can make the lives of your suppliers easier. That way everyone is always aligned—whether they’re new and being onboarded or an active supplier whose relationship you wish to maintain.
3. Go hybrid
Use various communication channels with your stakeholders to see what sticks—like email, internal and external trainings, or digital content.
4. Gauge your progress
No one is immune to improvement—and when it comes to non-compliant sellers, define an escalation path and leverage standard dashboarding and reporting tools to identify who might need a pit stop. You’ll be back on track in no time.
5. Choose a main driver
Determine who will be the individual owner of supplier enablement in your organization. They’ll make sure you’re driving towards process standards, minimizing exceptions, and improving your supplier relationships.
We’ve taken this analogy pretty far to prove a point, but it’s still worth it to call out the main difference between racing and supplier enablement: Supplier enablement has no clear finish line. It’s an ongoing journey that requires dynamic performance and regular tune-ups.