Onboarding New Trading Partners

No supply chain remains static for long if business is to survive and grow. New markets, new channels, new products means new suppliers, new customers, new logistics partners and new geographies. For your business to be successful, each trading partner needs to participate in B2B e-commerce quickly and easily. Below are 5 key areas to consider when onboarding new trading partners:

  1. The capabilities of your trading partner
    When connecting to a new trading partner for the first time it is worth conducting a B2B connectivity and technology audit. The sooner you understand the technical capabilities of your partner, the better you can plan the optimum B2B infrastructure required and the support they will need. Remember that the type of B2B document they can support will depend on the communications infrastructure available in their territory.
  2. Deploying B2B solutions to suit partner capabilities
    While some trading partners will be EDI veterans and have a good deal of B2B experience, others are likely to have had very little. There are a huge number of small and medium sized organisations that are using Microsoft Excel as their main business tool and to trade with these companies means being able to seamlessly handle Excel documents. Other partners may lack internal resources and technology infrastructures that make simple web-based forms the most effective means to exchange B2B information.
  3. Managing your trading partner community
    Exchanging B2B information effectively is only part of trading with a new partner. It is important to ensure that the physical supply chain can be monitored end-to-end and in real time. When onboarding new trading partners, it is worth considering how you achieve this level of visibility and how you deploy the information captured to improve the service you receive from suppliers and provide to customers.
  4. Planning for future business directions
    In the current economic climate, it is important that your B2B platform can scale seamlessly up and down with your business. Key to this is how you onboard new trading partners and divest yourself of partners that are no longer required. You have to consider what happens to your service contracts when your traffic volume increases or decreases. Today, the pay-as-you-go models available from Cloud-based platforms can be very attractive.
  5. Ensuring effective back office integration
    An area of onboarding that is often overlooked is the role of partner data within your own back office systems. ERP systems especially contain a high proportion of externally sourced data. Issues surrounding the effective integration of partner systems can have downstream effects on the quality of data entering your network. Successful back-office integration will bring additional benefits to your B2B platform – not least being improved cash flow and reduced order-to-pay cycles.

GXS helps to connect trading partners quickly and securely anywhere in the world with the GXS Trading Grid® platform, lowering the risks and costs associated with entering a new market or channel. For advice or to find out more, call +44 (0)1932 776047 or click here to contact us.