This article about the procure-to-pay process first appeared in September 2016 and was updated to reflect new information on supplier adoption in June 2022.
In the first two installments of our series on Procure-to-Pay technology, we shed light on consolidating all your spend under management and global compliance.
As newer and more innovative procure-to-pay technology arise and demand fluctuates in the procure-to-pay process, it’s easy to fall into the trap of excitement. It’s no secret that in today’s P2P landscape, you need to be innovative, agile, and drive process efficiency. However, if you can’t guarantee supplier adoption and participation, your efforts will be wasted.
Put simply; supplier adoption makes or breaks the business case for P2P. For any company, the ROI associated with technology boils down to whether suppliers buy into it or not. Considering you need 80-100% supplier adoption to get the most value out of P2P automation, it’s crucial you understand the wants and needs of suppliers.
When it boils down to it, supplier adoption is contingent upon suppliers themselves and their willingness to onboard and adopt the application. After all, why would suppliers bother with a program that provides them little to no value for the extra effort?
Minor annoyances can add up — like supplier fees, poor UX, slow processing times, and watered-down portals. In the past, this has been enough to scare suppliers away from unfamiliar tools and increase hesitation to learn about new technologies.
Unfortunately, suppliers have gotten accustomed to paying fees to use P2P solutions to do business with their customers. Because of this history, suppliers believe this process is more costly than an investment. Instead of seeing the opportunity behind the technology, they rather focus on the program's expense, the potential toll it will take on their team, and unavoidable learning curves. Knowing this, it’s no wonder suppliers have preferences for legacy tools and antiquated approaches.
At Tradeshift, table stakes for supplier adoption are no fees for suppliers. Ever.
The cost of using our solution is low because the intuitive nature and value it brings make it naturally enticing. There’s no need to charge suppliers to pad margins or force them to feel invested — they simply already do.
With Tradeshift, suppliers can manage catalogs first, submit invoices, and then collaborate. Plus, they also become strategic partners, making cash flow more predictable and providing peace of mind.
Breaking it down, there are four components Tradeshift enables that directly affect adoption rates:
To help suppliers see what’s in it for them, you need to be sure your solution offers a clear and compelling value proposition. Suppliers need to have confidence it will actually provide value without a great deal of difficulty. Luckily, with Tradeshift, the value for suppliers is clear.
First, suppliers only have to complete a technical setup for invoicing once, regardless of the number of buyers. Whether they use Tradeshift for publishing catalogs for customers, invoicing, or simply making themselves known on the Tradeshift marketplace, account information only needs to be created once and can be easily maintained by the supplier over time. And suppliers are welcome to create profiles on Tradeshift at any time, without being invited by a customer.
Additionally, Tradeshift makes it easy for suppliers to publish catalogs and manage commercial terms across their customers. Unlike other vendors who require suppliers to publish their catalogs for every customer individually – resulting in lost time and a great deal of maintenance overhead – Tradeshift enables suppliers to publish their catalogs one time, then configure pricing and other commercial terms on a customer-by-customer basis.
This process expedites suppliers’ ability to conduct business with their customers efficiently through Tradeshift. Once they publish their catalogs on the Tradeshift marketplace, they’re open for discovery by potential new customers using Tradeshift, multiplying their opportunities to develop new business.
With Tradeshift, suppliers can submit and manage invoices through our e-invoicing capabilities, 100% free of charge. The simple, intuitive user interface makes it easy for suppliers to navigate the collaboration capabilities, enabling them to engage with customers to answer questions and quickly resolve disputes. Suppliers also benefit from early payment discounts and other financing options available to them through their customers.
Tradeshift makes doing business easier for suppliers, making life easier for you.
Tradeshift provides capabilities to validate invoices that meet each customer’s business requirements before suppliers submit them to customers. As a result, any potential issues are caught before invoices make their way through the customer’s approval channels, reducing any payment delays that may result from invoices being rejected and resubmitted.
Also, by moving their invoicing processes online, suppliers can create, flip, request, track, and receive payments, all by clicking a button. This enables suppliers to simplify and streamline invoicing while gaining transparency and visibility into their entire invoice and payments process.
Suppliers have a natural hesitancy when it comes to implementing new technology. Fears about losing time or records by moving invoices from paper to digital can prevent timely onboarding. But, suppliers don’t need to carry this stress when using the Tradeshift solutions.
Our scanning technology makes it a breeze to upload and correctly format previous invoices to maintain compliance and organize your records. By offering the option early on to scan paper invoices, the switch from paper or email to electronic invoicing is made much easier for suppliers, leading to a higher rate of “full” onboarding and more rapid adoption.
The relationship between buyers and suppliers can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Maintaining a positive buyer-supplier relationship is nearly impossible when suppliers chase payments and are left to phone calls and emails to get the correct orders and information.
With Tradeshift, suppliers manage their own compliance, and the buyer gets instant notifications of compliance issues or updates to supplier information. Collaboration becomes a breeze when you can communicate in real-time, suppliers become more efficient, and customer relationships improve.
When it comes to adoption, the defining question is always: Will people use it, and how does it benefit them?
Fast adoption, presenting a massive opportunity for accelerated economic growth, makes bringing your suppliers and users into the fold mutually beneficial.
There’s an art to supplier onboarding. Our supplier success team offers integration as a service, which melts away the barriers to adoption for suppliers and delivers industry-leading onboarding rates to our customers. This support is predicated on technical flexibility rather than a prescriptive “one size fits all” approach.
Suppliers of every size love Tradeshift because the natural and intuitive user experience makes it genuinely easy to use and provides value beyond free invoicing.
Be sure to check back for part 4 of our pillars of procure-to-pay series as we dive into how you can generate growth by implementing P2P software.