Vendor portals: Benefits of outsourced vs. in-house

by | Jun 27, 2017

Vendor portals are a web-based, vendor management solution that allows better communication and greater collaboration between retailers and vendors in a secure online environment. Once a vendor is on-boarded into the retailer’s portal system, both entities have a single access point to easily and instantly send and receive invoices, purchase orders and other vital documents or information. Vendor portals also make it easy to add new trading partners while improving time to shelf for new products added to your assortment.

Vendor portals can improve processes, hasten vendor onboarding and reduce errors. However, the benefits of a vendor portal will only be as good as its adaptability and vendor adoption rate. Each vendor portal implemented by a retailer is one more portal that the vendor needs to learn and manage: for vendors with many retailers, this is a significant investment in order to manage all the relationships effectively.

Types of vendor portals

In-house vendor portals are created from purchased software or developed internally. The retailer maintains full control, but at the cost of software, hardware, infrastructure, personnel and training. Scaling up or upgrades incurs costs from staff, processes and budgets. Sometimes, the one-sided view of a vendor portal supporting the retailer is insufficient in addressing the vendor’s needs, which can complicate the relationship.

Outsourced vendor portals assume the responsibility of maintaining the portal in a cost-efficient manner. When a vendor portal is managed by a third party, the provider ensures communication is flowing between trading partners on a stable platform, letting the retailers and vendors focus on addressing their business requirements Changes and upgrades are provided as part of the service, letting trading partners focus on their businesses.

With either type of portal, there are pros and cons: do you want to make IT a big part of your business capabilities? Do you want to just sell products to customers and let someone else maintain the technology? The answers to these questions should influence the choice you make.

Why partner with SPS Commerce

SPS Commerce provides retailers, grocers and distributors a fully hosted vendor portal for both new vendor on-boarding, as well as introducing, expanding and maximizing adoption across the entire vendor community. With new vendors, the goal is speed-to-market to get that first purchase order sent as soon as possible. For existing vendor communities, rolling out new vendor requires proven, low-friction onboarding process. SPS Commerce’s multi-tenant vendor portal and unparalleled vendor enablement methodology uniquely addresses both requirements.

With SPS Commerce:

  • Eliminate total cost of ownership by removing the need to maintain hardware, software, staffing and production costs associated with hosting and managing your own vendor portals.
  • Improve speed to shelf by offering a turn-key, web-based portal that allows suppliers to receive electronic orders without any upfront technology investment.
  • Maximize vendor adoption of electronic collaboration and automation by providing a “vendor-preferred” platform that can be used across multiple trading partners.
  • On-board new vendors in 24-48 hours, substantially reducing the time it takes to send out orders to new vendors
  • Evaluate product effectiveness from day one, knowing that the product will be launched successfully.
  • Attain complete, accurate product information from vendors while eliminating inefficient, cost-prohibitive and manual processes.
  • Reduce redundancies for suppliers and merchants by consolidating all item information in one common format.
  • Leverage 400+ SPS coordinators dedicated to vendor on-boarding including vendor outreach, training, technical setup and support providing you an unmatched vendor management staffing model.
  • Considerably increase business confidence by having 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year support globally to your vendor community.

More than 70,000 companies in over 60 countries around the world trust SPS Commerce. Many of them have used SPS vendor portals to assist in their growth. One of the largest multi-national store chains in the world was able to reduce vendor onboarding from six months to just a few days or weeks. Another large global retailer reduced new item setup time from six weeks to a few days by automating item information exchange with vendors. We also helped yet another retailer advance from 50 to 6,000+ trading partners with a fully automated end-to-end supply chain across order management models to include ship-to-DC, ship-to-store, VMI, Imports, cross-dock and drop-ship.

What will your SPS success story be?

If you would like to learn more about the SPS vendor portal and other retail supply chain solutions, please visit the SPS Commerce website or contact a vendor onboarding specialist today.

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Shivani Khanna Stumpf