3 ways to eliminate the pain of manual transactions with your smaller partners

By | 2 minute read | May 26, 2020

The global pandemic has shown us that supplier collaboration and innovation have never been more critical – as is the need for trading partner networks to be more fluid. Companies are augmenting and switching suppliers at a faster pace in response to geographic boundaries imposed by the virus, workforce disruptions and dramatic demand mix changes. When agility and resiliency are key to survival during extended periods of volatility, you can’t continue to live with manual processes to onboard and transact with trading partners. The pain of error-prone manual data processing, and inefficient, paper-based communications – fax, email and physical documents –is too great and in some jurisdictions becoming obsolete.

To help you digitize and automate B2B transactions with every trading partner – including smaller partners that lack the technology and expertise to support EDI transactions – we offer the following solutions.

  • IBM Sterling Supplier Transaction Manager, formerly IBM Sterling Web Forms Supplier Community
  • IBM Sterling Customer Transaction Manager, formerly IBM Sterling Web Forms Customer Community
  • IBM Sterling Catalog Manager, formerly IBM Sterling Web Forms Supplier Catalog and Customer Catalog

Your partners only need internet access to start connecting and collaborating efficiently and cost-effectively with you. Here are three ways these solutions help you and your smaller suppliers and customers work better together:

  1. Automate the onboarding process. Automate registration and information gathering of suppliers and customers through the IBM Sterling Transaction Manager powerful web portal. There’s no need to manually contact partners, form partner agreements and collect information.
  2. Digitize and automate transactions. Create, exchange and view documents without asking your partners to change their way of doing business. Sterling Supplier Transaction Manager allows you to submit documents, such as a Purchase Order (P.O.) in EDI format, via the web portal to your suppliers and converts into a format they can view and use. They can create and send back P.O. acknowledgements, advanced shipping notices (ASNs) and other documents, either uploading documents to the web portal or entering the data directly into an online form. The solution ensures compliance with EDI and business rules and handles the document conversion so that supplier documents can be brought into your systems for viewing and processing without manual intervention. Use Sterling Customer Transaction Manager to adopt the same processes in reverse with your smaller customers and gain similar efficiencies. Smaller retailers can generate a P.O. more easily in a format your systems can use, which streamlines your sales process.
  3. Share product information easily. With Sterling Catalog Manager, smaller suppliers can share their product catalogs and updates with you, uploading detailed product information such as models, configurations and prices through a web portal. The solution generates an EDI product catalog or other structured file for use by your enterprise’s ERP system. You can also make it easier for your smaller, non-EDI customers to order products from you by distributing curated product catalogs via the web portal, including business rules and the ordering process.

As we move to the “next normal,” the ability to adapt to change, including churn and shifts in trading partner networks, will be part of every business’ strategy. Our focus at IBM is on supporting you as you accelerate your path to resiliency and agility. To help, we are offering eligible organizations special discounts on 12-month contracts for Sterling Transaction Manager.

Schedule a consultant to explore if these solutions are a good fit for your organization and how to get started quickly.