How B2B suppliers can increase market share | Transalis Blog

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Ensuring market penetration is essential for B2B suppliers, particularly in intensely competitive and volatile business environments.

Our report, Procure-to-Pay platforms: Maximising market coverage, explores this topic in detail. It covers how EDI can be leveraged as middleware to automate the exchange of all communications between customers, P2P platforms and suppliers.

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Get your own copy of the full report to reveal all the details of these strategies we have outlined in this blog as well as how they benefitted our client with the addition of a supporting client case study.

In this blog, you’ll learn how EDI middleware enhances this strategy further to ensure B2B suppliers make the most of Procure-to-Pay platform marketplaces.

More P2P platforms, more market visibility

Procure-to-Pay platform marketplaces are attractive to B2B suppliers as they overcome one of the challenges of being able to secure new customer contracts; market visibility.

Many organisations have adopted these platforms to improve the management of their procurement processes. Suppliers are able to list their product catalogues on these platforms in a marketplace that buyer organisations can view and decide on the right products/services. Organisations that follow this B2B supplier strategy should consider listings on multiple Procure-to-Pay (P2P) platforms. This is because each Procure-to-Pay platform serves a different audience (could be industry specific or general). For this reason, B2B suppliers that serve many different business types and industry verticals should list their product catalogues on all relevant P2P platform marketplaces.

Maximising coverage across P2P platforms will not only increase visibility in buyer communities, it also has the potential to reduce the Cost of Acquisition (COA). This is another compelling reason to ensure broad coverage across all relevant P2P platforms operating in your business verticals.

However, managing various P2P platform listings, new customer contracts, alongside internal processes in back-office systems is a challenge. Examples include high order volumes, consolidating P2P data, and ongoing communications with the end customers. This often leads to time-consuming manual processes that also run the risk of errors. Therefore, finding a solution to reduce this complexity whilst keeping costs low and allowing for scale is essential.

This is where harnessing EDI as one-to-many middleware for P2P platforms comes in. We are able to offer expert insight on this subject following a large-scale project for a client. Our tailored approach to the client’s needs ensured rapid onboarding of P2P platforms to achieve maximum market coverage.

The critical success factors of this project lay in the approach to onboarding and leveraging a wider set of EDI message types. We cover both of these topics in the following sections.

Photo finish of male runners sprinting to cross the finish line of an athletics race track. Used to represent the concept of onboarding multiple EDI connections at speed.

Onboarding in short time-frames

So, the first challenge is how to onboard all the P2P platforms you wish to connect with, at speed.

P2P platforms represent a great opportunity to generate new revenue at a lower Cost of Acquisition (COA). Using digital automation solutions to manage these complex trading connections is also a natural first port of call. However, it is so commonplace for these kinds of onboarding projects to overrun outside deadlines, or worse, never even go live!

This can be avoided by entrusting a provider to harness EDI as a “one-to-many” middleware layer. This approach allows for an onboarding framework that can configure, test and push live these complex projects in short time frames. It also offers further operational cost savings as opposed to setting up individual connections for each P2P platform.

Transalis use the following framework for any onboarding project:

  1. Recruitment: The critical element of Stage 1. is to identify the delivery team (this extends to all parties), the EDI vendor, the supplier, and representatives from the P2P platforms. Each member of the team has to have a defined role and importantly, there needs to be executive sponsorship.

  2. Engagement: This outlines the proposed plan to all parties and is the ideal forum to; confirm project scope, highlight potential roadblocks, and set the timeline. This is also a good point to run a Proof Of Concept (POC) and establish strengths and weaknesses within the onboarding plan.

  3. Enablement: Following stage 2 sign off from all parties, the onboarding process can start. The main objective here should be to run multiple work streams simultaneously. This approach mitigates the risk of delays, therefore allowing rapid configuration and testing, through to pushing connections live.

  4. Handover: The Operational team hands the project over to technical support and Customer Experience (CX) teams for ongoing management and service.

Leveraging EDI messages for good buyer relations

Effective communication is central to all good business relations. For suppliers, this is especially critical.

For example, delivery delays can have knock-on effects, potentially even leading to the cancellation of a contract. This is why it is important to automate as much of the communication process as possible. EDI has a broad range of call-off-type messages. Our recommendation is to adopt standard EDI messages and include them in the message exchange via integration with P2P platforms. Adding these supplier-side messages via P2P platforms is essential for operational efficiency and, importantly, to meet buyer SLAs.

Below is just a small sample of the most commonly used EDIFACT-type supplier messages within the P2P message suite:

CODE NAME
DESADV Despatch Advice
INVOIC Invoice
ORDERS Order
ORDRSP Order Response
PRICAT Price Catalog
RECADV Receiving Advice Message

Additional P2P message types include:

CODE NAME
APERAK Application Error and Acknowledgement
AVLREQ Availability Request – Interactive Message
AVLRSP Availability Response – Interactive Message
COMDIS Commercial Dispute
CONEST Establishment Of Contract
CONITT Invitation To Tender
CONQVA Quantity Valuation
CONRPW Response Of Pending Works
CONTEN Tender
CONTRL Control
CREMUL Multiple Credit
DELFOR Delivery Schedule
DEJIT Delivery Just In Time
IFTMIN Instruction To Transport
INSDES Instruction To Despatch
INVRPT Inventory Report
ORDCHG Order Change
PAYMUL Multiple Payment
RETANN Return Announcement
REMADV Remittance Advice
SLSRPT Sales Report

Case study: B2B supplier strategy success

We have successfully executed a project, as mentioned above, for a B2B supplier that was already using P2P platform marketplaces.

This client had a vast network of customers (over 300) across 15 P2P platforms, which was a lucrative sales channel. The client came to us to help them replace and improve upon their P2P middleware solution, as the incumbent was being withdrawn from service. This was a very time-sensitive project, with a 4-month hard deadline. If this was not actioned in time, customers would not have been able to order, which would have a long-term impact on our client’s brand reputation.

To guarantee the client would meet the required ‘go-live’ date, Transalis deployed their rapid onboarding strategy, which proved pivotal to the project’s success. This meant that all connections were delivered within 9 weeks. Furthermore, the client has also been able to expand their client base and scale this area of the business, by adding an extra 100 customers within 4 weeks. A result which, during such an unstable economic period, is highly sought after to future-proof business.

Office stationary supplier. EDI middleware Client case study

Indicating a key vote of confidence, Transalis has been selected as the client’s ‘provider of choice’ to facilitate all future business acquisitions. This entrusts Transalis with the management of consolidating core business systems between different divisions and brands with minimal disruption.

Conclusion

Procure-to-Pay (P2P) sites offer potential access to new markets. Businesses can maximise their exposure to potential buyers, and, more importantly, win new business at a lower cost of acquisition.

Making this a successful B2B supplier strategy, however, requires broad reach across as many P2P platforms as possible. To avoid complexity and additional costs, B2B suppliers need to leverage existing EDI capability to do the heavy lifting and remove error-prone and time-consuming manual processes. Businesses embarking on a project like this must ensure the onboarding plan is robust and takes into consideration the full scope of messages needed.

With opportunities for greater supply chain efficiency and business growth, the benefits of rapidly connecting to P2P platforms is obvious. Transalis fully understands the importance of resourcing these projects correctly. That is why our eDI Connect+ bundle includes a choice of platform integration and onboarding support as standard. Take a look at the selection of popular P2P platforms on our integrations page.


eDI Software

Want to discuss this strategy for B2B suppliers in more detail? Get in touch with our team directly by scheduling a meeting at a time that suits you. Alternatively, you can call us on 0845 123 3746 (UK), +44 1978 369 343 (international), or email us at sales@transalis.com. Find even more great insights in our Knowledge Hub!


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