Supplier Solutions: Supplier Management Software

Eric Hansen
Contributing Writer

Supplier compliance is critical to reducing risk, ensuring quality, and meeting customer expectations, but the activities involved can be tedious and time-consuming. Establishing the right relationship with clear expectations between all parties and open communication can significantly reduce supply challenges. Supplier management software is a beneficial tool that can efficiently organize all aspects of supplier management, creating opportunities for more productive relationships and allowing supply managers to invest their time in adding greater value to organizational processes.

What Is Supplier Management Software?

Supplier management software is a way to organize all supplier data in one central location. Businesses must nurture relationships with suppliers to ensure that their contributions are adding to the success of the business. Increasingly organizations are seeking data-driven methods that identify areas of opportunity. This supplier relationship management becomes more and more of a challenge as businesses grow and work with suppliers on larger scales, but even smaller organizations can lose critical data when managing it manually. Supplier management software instantly places all supplier data from compliance to productivity at a manager’s fingertips.

What Is Supplier Management Software Used For?

Supplier management software has many uses, all with the goal of driving productivity safely. The features that most software platforms offer fall under these three categories:

  • Organizing supplier management: Keeping supplier information in a secure network is vital. Organizations may need to create specific documents for individual suppliers and store them, so centralized access to the cloud is key.

  • Maximizing productivity: Supplier management software can significantly reduce or eliminate time-consuming emails and stacks of paper, making more effective use of resources and personnel.

  • Reducing risk: Real-time monitoring of supplier data is invaluable. Supplier management software can transform supply chains by creating visibility. Organizations can lower risk by reacting to data as it occurs or even by using existing data to predict possible challenges in the future.

Supplier Management Software Features

Industries set compliance standards for finished products, so organizations that rely on suppliers also rely on supplier compliance with specifications. Additionally, changing or adding on new suppliers may become necessary as business needs shift or grow. In the global economy, many organizations utilize materials from multiple countries, so a software platform needs to be able to track compliance and verifications across borders. And as the pace picks up in increasingly competitive markets, real-time decision-making is necessary, making cloud-based platforms essential. Some features included in supplier management software include:

  • Supplier document storage

  • Document expiration tracking

  • Supplier site audits and performance scores

  • Supplier approval and onboarding

  • Supplier management dashboard with tasks and notifications

  • Supplier risk assessments and scorecards

What Are the Benefits of Supplier Management Software?

Staying abreast of compliance issues like expiring certificates and industry requirements is a challenge through the paper chase or tag emails. A software with a centralized dashboard and real-time notifications can generate alerts before certificates expire, eliminating the need for multiple emails and follow-ups. Clear and simplified communication is a huge benefit for organizations that need to approve and onboard new suppliers. What once may have taken days or weeks can now be done in minutes with supplier management software. 

Creating supplier scorecards delivers visual cues when suppliers are in compliance or need a closer look. Having all the data in a single place leads to more accurate decision-making in real-time, reducing risk and minimizing sharp course corrections. Moving supplier management to a software platform also helps audits run more smoothly since the software can now house all of the documents needed in a single location. Auditors can remotely access everything they need to conduct the audit and compile detailed reports with attachments afterward. 

Building Better Supplier Relationships Based on Data

Supplier management portals can create access points for supplier data for everyone who needs it, from operators and managers to the enterprise level. Each employee who plays a part in the supplier management relationship can view pertinent information and interact with it on their dashboard. Supplier management software is a solution that can greatly reduce data entry error, provide complete visibility into real-time plant performance, and allow enterprise levels to monitor it all in the palms of their hands.