Managing purchase orders is on most buyer’s daily to-do lists. It’s not their favorite task, but it’s important. They spend hours sending emails, texts, or calls to ensure that the vendor:
- Received their order
- Can completely fill the order
- Will deliver the order on time
Once the order is sent, retailers have little or no visibility to its status until it arrives at their docks. It’s frustrating and tracking down orders is not how buyers want to spend their day. There should be an easier way. Luckily there is. Just ask The Iconic.
As the leading online fashion and sports retailer in Australia and New Zealand, The Iconic wanted its buying team to focus on expanding their business, not vendor management. The answer was automating the process with EDI.
Linda Chen, Head of Vendor Management at The Iconic explained: “Engaging with our vendors before collaborating with SPS was manual. Everything you can think of from faxes, emails, phone calls and text messages. After collaborating with SPS, they were able to help us go on the journey of setting up and streamlining our procure-to-pay process using EDI. And then that really allowed us to focus on the things we’re really good at.”
Making suppliers part of your team
Suppliers are an important part of your business. By automating many of the manual tasks related to purchase order management, the retailer-vendor partnership can move from discussions about “where’s my order?” to “how can we sell more?”.
When both parties use EDI, the process runs smoothly and can provide the following insights without the buyer’s direct involvement:
- Validation that an order was received by the supplier
- Confirmation that the order will be shipped completely, as specified (or if changes are needed)
- Notification of when and how the order was shipped and when it will be delivered
Suppliers appreciate receiving complete orders. EDI ensures that all the details are included, every time, so they can get right to work fulfilling the order.
The fast track to vendor management
When onboarding vendors onto EDI is the goal, how you get there matters. Some retailers opt to use internal resources. This usually results in minimal adoption and a lot of frustration on both sides. There is a better way.
“With a full-service provider, like SPS Commerce, retailers can lean on our expertise and staff,” states Mark O’Leary, Chief Marketing Officer at SPS Commerce. “We develop a program using industry best practices and proven communications to engage with vendors. Our experts contact your suppliers to answer questions, explore EDI options and then work side-by-side with them until they are EDI-enabled. As the retailer, you can easily monitor the program’s progress.”
The Iconic found this option attractive and teamed with SPS to onboard their vendors. “We converted 97% of our vendors to using EDI in three months,” shared Chen. “SPS recently has approached us with a 60-day program. What that means is a vendor is able to trade with us by EDI after 48 hours of signing trade-in terms. That gives us a significant benefit over our competitors in the market because it allows us to beat the speed to market and bring in new fashion to our customers a lot faster.”
Want a better way to work with your suppliers like The Iconic? Contact SPS Commerce today.