Part 1 and part 2 of the blog series looked at the key supplier concerns behind eInvoicing and the tips on choosing a supplier friendly solution. In this piece we will introduce you to the five-step best practice approach to supplier onboarding.
- Preparation: Internal Alignment + Collaborative Approach
- Persuasion: Quantitative Benefits + Qualitative Benefits
- Phasing: Segmentation Criteria + Interim Strategy
- Activation: Adoption Model + Communication + Modus Operandi for Enablement
- Measuring: Create Shared Succes Metrics + Make them Visible
Ensure that your internal teams have a common vision and they all know what kind of approach you are following, the end objectives and the protocols for all the processes involved. Cross-functional alignment with IT, Treasury, Procurement and even with Business Requesters helps that everybody knows what message to communicate at what steps and how to handle objectives and resistance at any given time. It is also important to lay down some ground rules for transactions, payment terms and invoice formats as well as channels of submission so that everybody knows exactly what they are getting into.
Show the suppliers what’s in the eInvoicing implementation for them! Highlight the benefits of a win-win collaboration where the suppliers gain from reduced costs, faster finances and end-to-end visibility while you increase your match rates and processing efficiency through digitization. Suppliers are naturally more willing to work for it when they know that there’s measurable benefit in adopting change.
Divide your supplier base and thus your invoice volume on the basis of two factors – the amount of spend and the ease of going electronic. Some suppliers will automatically be your top most trading partners and will be technically more ready to get going with digital invoices. Prioritize them for paper-less eInvoicing and facilitate alternate methods of eliminating human intervention for the rest.
Design an effective drip communication plan for outreach and education. During this phase it is critical to gather onboarding requirements and creating provisions for the successful registration. For those suppliers that use the ERP for submitting electronic invoice, the set of requirements will be somewhat different from those who will be using the self-service portals. Technology, outreach and training material will need to be relevant and meaningful according to the method for invoice exchange.
Track some win-win success metrics that bring joy to your suppliers, as they increase the adoption of the eInvoicing platform. There is nothing better than a direct linkage between action and reward. Be it in the form of higher match rates, faster payments or reductions in the follow up calls, both the suppliers and the AP side are sure to feel the goodness of digitization; but that’s going to happen only when there is a number tagged to it, for seeing is believing.
That’s all from us in this series of breaking the big barrier to eInvoicing.