The Supplier Portal Playbook: A Step-By-Step Guide for Successfully Launching a Content Collaboration Portal with Your Suppliers

Join EnterWorks and Deborah Weinswig from Li & Fung for a step-by-step guide to successfully launching a content collaboration portal with your vendors and suppliers. This playbook provides expert insight and real-life customer insights on Supplier Portal solutions to answer some of your top questions about portal implementations. As a guide to your portal and Product Information Management (PIM) journey, the e-book introduces ideas to help you score great content and sell more products through a successful Supplier Portal program.

Mnet 193274 Enterworks Playbook 784x392
The Supplier Portal Playbook A Step-By-Step Guide for Successfully Launching a Content Collaboration Portal with Your Suppliers Introduction In today’s global, omnichannel marketplace, promoting and selling products requires rich, accurate content to differentiate their products. Yet too often, down-stream sellers – namely distributors, wholesalers, dealers and retailers – lack enriched information from brands and find it challenging and costly to source and manage it themselves. To improve content effectiveness, many sellers are implementing Supplier Portals to directly engage brands and industrial suppliers in the process of onboarding vital information. With failure rates exceeding 75% for new product introductions, deploying a Supplier Portal to aid in new product launches as well as other collaborative efforts with sellers is essential. But: You need the right game plan to go with it. Li & Fung Limited is an $18 billion dollar global supply chain manager primarily for US and EU brands, department stores, hypermarkets, specialty stores, catalogue- led companies, and ecommerce sites. Deborah Weinswig Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, Li & Fung 2 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Supplier Portals help you score great content and sell more products To deliver growth, companies must bring products to market more successfully: • faster, • at a lower cost, • with richer content, • amidst more regulations, • and with less resources. Many organizations recognize supplier collaboration is a key to success, but inefficient and manual systems are a major roadblock. Product onboarding can be a cumbersome experience. For one item, multiple e-mails or calls with your suppliers may be required. Even after several attempts, the content received may not be accurate or consistent with good data governance practices or support the need for product differentiation in marketing and selling activities. This is where a Supplier Portal can help. 3 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Supplier Portal Business Benefits When implemented correctly, Supplier Portals can: • Improve the product differentiation needed for successful product launches and success with new products and their role in assortments • Reduce markdowns arising from ineffective product introductions • Reduce business overhead and manual work for managing supplier information and product content. • Accelerate time-to-market by speeding up the process for onboarding new suppliers and products. • Assess performance and compliance, as well as provide direct real- time feedback to both suppliers and supplier management. • Manage supplier information relationship across an organization, including subsidiaries and sub-suppliers. A frightening 75% to 85% failure rate for new product introductions creates a daunting environment for innovation. Supplier Portals make product introduction faster and easier. Businesses can create an onboarding workflow that enforces data standards for its suppliers and notifies internal teams about new product introductions, missing data, and other triggers that may need attention. 4 The Supplier Portal Playbook | The Problem: Many Supplier Portals Fail When implemented correctly, Supplier Portal programs can be game-changing. However, too often portal implementations are costly failures. Why? Suppliers and distributors get demands from multiple sellers and may be unwilling to fully engage. Or, the technology is too complicated to understand and maintain. Yet the mistakes others have made in implementing these type of programs can be avoided. When it comes to launching a Supplier Portal, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The answer lies in partnering with an expert, following the right playbook, and demonstrating the benefit case to suppliers for participating. The fact is, launching an effective Supplier Portal hinges on the program’s successful adoption along with best practices in choosing and deploying the software solution within and across the collaborating enterprises. When it comes to launching a Supplier Portal, the right platform and professionals can show you the best path. 5 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Playbook Rules for Supplier Adoption Whether you’re deploying a portal as part of an overall Product Information Management (PIM) system, or seeking a standalone Supplier Portal to reduce business overhead and accelerate time-to- market, following these best practices will help set you up for success. 1 Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Having a plan in place is vital for your Supplier Portal to succeed. Supplier Portals that build on what has worked for others have a greater chance for success. Therefore, seeking an expert with a track record in Supplier Portal solutions is a great place to start. 2 Focus on Supplier Adoption. Supplier understanding of the program benefits and direct support of the initiative are key factors for success. While suppliers will have a period of adjustment, the program will offer benefits, not burdens. Therefore, Supplier Portals must keep a firm focus on collaboration, from start to finish. All of the effort and expense of your Supplier Portal will be in vain if your suppliers fail to get on board. 3 Tailor your Portal Playbook. When implementing a Supplier Portal program, don’t assume one size fits all. Your engagement with suppliers will vary based on the sophistication level of their technology and content capabilities. While some may need basic collaboration on content quality and data governance, others may seek collaboration on advanced campaigns and product launch strategies. Tailor your playbook to their needs. 6 The Supplier Portal Playbook | 4 Be Lean and Agile. Avoid implementing a solution that requires an army of people to deploy and maintain. A Supplier Portal that is integrated with other elements of your overall data and content platform is the best approach to such efficiency. The portal should seamlessly connect into other related assets you may deploy, such as Product Information Management (PIM), Master Data Management (MDM), and Digital Asset Management solutions. 5 Engage, then Enforce. To get the needed adoption of your suppliers, you may need to have flexibility on initial rules around quality constraints. These rules are critical for long term success, but having a critical mass of supplier support is a key first step. As your business changes and your suppliers adjust, you can continuously tighten rules and add deeper levels of data quality and content enrichment as their skill and controls increase. 6 Prepare to Penalize and Reward. Clear communication begins with setting basic standards and expectations for performance, as well as clearly-defined rewards and penalties. These should be consistent with the business benefits you convey at the start of bringing the suppliers on board and tie to ongoing shared targets of the program. 7 The Supplier Portal Playbook | 7 Avoid Over-Complicating. The onboarding “registration” process for suppliers should be as simple as possible – don’t overwhelm them or give them reason to withdraw. The goal should be keeping your suppliers engaged and excited about the mutual benefits of using the new tools. Remember, bi-directional collaboration with program managers will help drive adoption. 8 Measure, Measure, Measure. A Supplier Portal solution should provide tools to monitor and measure real-time activity. Polling suppliers is also a helpful tactic for two reasons: to find areas where adjustments are needed, and to identify positive experiences to share with others. Positive word of mouth among suppliers can be a powerful ally in pushing your program forward. 9 Provide Constant Feedback. Let your suppliers know how they are doing, and consider incorporating a “scorecard” on the dashboard that all suppliers can see. A scorecard can be a constant source of performance monitoring, as well as a motivation for suppliers to keep up the pace and to provide direct views of their products’ success. 10 Give Yourself Time. Be sure everyone in your organization knows that full adoption will take time. The beginning stages of your implementation should involve piloting the program with a few of your “champion” suppliers to work out the kinks and gain support. Once you are ready for a full rollout, continue to test, measure and adjust as needed. 8 The Supplier Portal Playbook | What to Look For in a Solution Focusing on the supplier adoption process is half the battle. An effective portal deployment is only possible if you have a technology solution that suppliers will embrace. As Supplier Portal experts, EnterWorks has worked with a wide variety of organizations. Based on our extensive experience, here are the top three attributes you should consider if you’re looking to follow the beaten path to a successful implementation. The right portal technology will help you grow your supplier collaboration program, not stifle it. Your solution should be extremely easy-to-use, flexible with out-of-the-box features, and configurable over time. 3 Configurable To ensure your implementation goes smoothly, look for a technology solution that is configurable over time, but that also has out-of-the-box functions for controlling the quality of your data so no programming is needed. A flexible, configurable solution enables you to adapt the solution as your business changes. After the initial rollout, you can easily add data points to your data pool and create new quality requirements. This allows you to take baby steps throughout your deployment. 2 Flexible Another way to ensure adoption is to look for a solution that is flexible in regards to collaboration and communication. The portal should include several options for how the supplier can interact and provide data. For example, small supplier organizations may take a more manual approach, while your larger suppliers may want to send an excel file that the portal can receive and upload automatically. In that case your supplier can avoid manually logging in altogether and reap the benefits from a constant data feed. 1 User-Friendly Supplier Portal implementations hinge on adoption. That’s why a portal solution must be designed with a simple, user-friendly interface. A supplier should be able to easily log in and interact with the system with only basic training and technical skills. The dashboard should be easy-to- understand and intuitive. 9 The Supplier Portal Playbook | 1 Product Information Management Strategy and Roadmap 2 Portal Program Goals, Objectives and Key Performance Indicators 3 Supplier Capabilities Assessment 4 Portal Program Rollout and Implementation Plan 5 Technology Selection 6 Product Taxonomy and Quality / Validation Rules 7 Business Process for Supplier Collaboration, Data Collection, and Adoption 8 Supplier Preparation and Communication Plan 9 Supplier Incentives, Measurement and Scoring 10 Install and Configure Portal 11 Beta Test and Phased Rollout 12 Continuous adjustment based on learnings and adoption The Supplier Portal Success Cycle As part of your Supplier Portal Playbook, consider each step in the Supplier Portal Success Cycle. From start-to-finish, these 12 steps will get your organization from vision and planning to a successful rollout. 10 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Supplier Portal in Action: Johnstone Supply Johnstone Supply is the largest HVAC Distribution Cooperative in the U.S., with $1.7 billion in sales and over 400 suppliers. They carry over 80,000 actively managed products with 900 possible attributes across sales channels including in-store, phone, and e-commerce. Previously, product content flowed from various systems and spreadsheets. Inconsistencies emerged, and legacy systems could not handle the increased volume of data changes. To drive business transformation and prepare for e-commerce growth, Johnstone implemented EnterWorks Enable™ PIM solution with Supplier Portal. The result? Johnstone has a central repository for all product information. Suppliers enter content using business-friendly user interfaces. All e-commerce, catalog, and counter sales now share access to enhanced and accurate content, improving the customer experience. Johnstone is also able to achieve speed-to-market for new products, paving the way for quick growth. Read Johnstone’s full story here → “In HVAC distribution when something breaks you’ve got to locate the right part quickly! With EnterWorks Enable PIM we collaborate with suppliers using the Supplier Portal to create and enrich our data for a consistent customer experience across our print and digital publication channels.” Laura Schultz Director of IT & PMO, Johnstone Supply 11 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Getting Started Either way, EnterWorks has you covered. Already have a PIM but need to add a Supplier Portal? Many retailers and distributors who already have a Product Information Management system in place find that in order to push an endless aisle strategy, they need a Supplier Portal as well. Adding a Supplier Portal to your existing PIM solution allows you to transfer the burden of onboarding millions of product details and data points to your suppliers. Even if you already have a PIM solution in place, EnterWorks can supply a Supplier Portal. Looking for a PIM Solution with an integrated Supplier Portal? If you’re looking for a Product Information Management solution and also need a Supplier Portal, EnterWorks Enable™ provides an all-in- one system at a lower cost of ownership. While our competitors often have a completely separate Supplier Portal, the EnterWorks Enable™ PIM with Supplier Portal solution is implemented together. By sharing the same software, they easily communicate with each other. They use the same data model, same security system, and more. The result is a seamless solution with high adoption rate at a lower cost. 12 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Conclusion You Are… A wholesaler, distributor, or retailer who relies on rich and accurate product content to promote and sell products. You need content ranging from product descriptions and marketing copy to images, videos, and PDF instruction manuals. You need your content to be accurate, consistent and up-to-date. Your Challenge Is… To implement a program that shifts some or nearly all of the responsibility and burden of creating, entering, and managing product content to your suppliers – and automate as much of it as possible. Yet you fear the costly rate of failure experienced by other organizations. Your Solution Is… An easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy content Supplier Portal solution – created by experts, and driven by the right onboarding best practices playbook. 13 The Supplier Portal Playbook | Where to Begin A great first step is speaking with a Supplier Portal and content management expert who can answer your questions. Email us at info@enterworks.com More information → /company/enterworks /enterworks /enterworks Ranked by 46040 Center Oak Plaza, Suite 115 Sterling, Virginia 20166 888.242.8356 | enterworks.com About EnterWorks EnterWorks® Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) solution enables companies to acquire, manage and transform product information into persuasive content that drives higher sales and new competitive strengths. By leveraging a company’s products, associated images and videos, brands and other marketing assets, EnterWorks Enable™ platform delivers powerful content through e-commerce Web, mobile, print and various electronic channels. EnterWorks is highly ranked by Gartner (recognized as an industry leader in centralizing product content for manufacturers and retailers alike in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities Report from December 2015), Forrester and Ventana Research. The Right Content. Enabled. Deliver differentiated experiences across your content value chain with EnterWorks, your Product Information Management solution.
More