Supply chain collaboration business meeting

Simplified Supply Chain Collaboration: Part I

Today’s digital economy is driving the way that we communicate in our personal life, especially regarding social and mobile connectivity. Why should business communication—and specifically supplier collaboration communication—be different?

Software technology has opened the possibility to share information up and down our supply chain. Right now is the time to begin leveraging innovation and make supplier collaboration simple. Just as with our personal apps, simple, intuitive and internet-based apps are widely adopted and easily consumed. Our supply chains should be no different.

supply chain, supplier collaboration, it.vendor portal, supplier integration, supplier collaboration tool

The goal of Part I of our blog series is to highlight decision factors when adopting a collaboration technology and identify available SAP Collaboration Tools. Various collaboration tools exist in today’s modern SAP landscape to provide and receive information from your suppliers.

Companies like yours are looking to drive value for your organization, by lowering procurement costs, shortening lead-times, and maintaining consistent, reliable supply sources. Arming your suppliers with real-time data, in a simplistic, visual manner is one way to realize value for your business. Having simple and smart software tools available and connected with your supplier base allows both companies to remain synced, visualize the same information, and avoid wasted time with phone and email follow-up. The end goal is that the supplier has all of your procurement details at their fingertips, and is ready to action both new and changed procurement requirements.

Some factors influencing the need for better Supplier Collaboration Tools:

Business Activities Requiring Digitization Business Benefits
  • Supplier does not have electronic access to purchase orders and invoices
  • Inability to provide short-term and long-term forecasts
  • Not receiving purchase order quantity and date confirmations
  • Not receiving advance ship notifications
  • Sharing files or messages (ie. Design Specifications)
  • Need to simplify one or all of the above
  • Shorter supplier lead times
  • Consistent reliable supply
  • Reduced on hand inventory
  • Total procurement cost reduction
  • Address globalization
  • Reduce expediting efforts
  • Optimize overall relationship

Certainly, all suppliers are not created equal when it comes to integration, varying widely in terms of capability, adoption, financial, location, and technical know-how. The following factors will influence your decision in selecting a supplier collaboration software package:

  • Timeline to value: overall implementation time
  • Total cost of ownership (software, services, hardware / infrastructure, maintenance)
  • Return on investment
  • Internal resource requirements for long-term solution support
  • Cloud or on premise
  • Mobile capable
  • Functionality: will the tool provision the minimum requirements to satisfy business use?
  • Security and Controls
  • Supplier training and onboarding requirements

Below are some of the most commonly used SAP Supplier Collaboration tools:

Most commonly used SAP supplier collaboration tools

  • SAP Partner Applications – SAP consulting partners often develop add-ons, which are complementary software components to the SAP business suite. In the supplier collaboration realm, NTT DATA Business Solutions has built an vendor portal solution using the SAP Fiori user interface. it.vendor portal provides the ability to mobilize, centralize and streamline supplier communication regarding order information, specification, and forecast sharing.
  • The Ariba Network Ariba is a cloud based SAP product, which is the World’s Large Trading Partner Community. Ariba provides overall framework to manage suppliers, purchase spend, contract invoicing, and electronic payables.
  • SAP Supply Network Collaboration (SNC) SAP SNC is a technology solution that connects and collaborates with suppliers, outsourced manufacturers, and customers. This supply chain collaboration software synchronizes and automates information flow – so you can better align supply and demand, optimize inventory management, improve customer service, and more.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – EDI is another way of communicating up and down the supply chain in an automated fashion. EDI is the electronic exchange of business documents between the computer systems of business partners, using a standard format over a communication network. Influence factors to deploying EDI are industry, transactional volume / velocity, reduced cost, paperwork, and data entry errors.

Join me for part II of the blog series, where I will discuss NTT DATA Business Solutions’ it.vendor portal solution in more detail. If you are looking for a collaboration tool now, NTT DATA Business Solutions can perform an assessment on your current state and provide solution recommendations.

Want to Learn More About Supplier Collaboration Solutions?

For more information of other NTT DATA Business Solutions solutions and software, please visit the itelligence Addstore.


Brandon Evans
Brandon Evans
Vice President, Customer Transformation

Brandon has over 12 years of industry experience in wholesale, discrete and process manufacturing. He has focused specifically in the areas of supply chain - procurement, inventory, material planning, and internal warehouse processes. Throughout his career, Brandon has built trust with our customers across the NTT DATA Business Solutions portfolio - consulting, managed services, presales, and solutions development roles. Brandon is motivated to bringing our customers value with our own NTT DATA Business Solutions software products, services and solution packages. Brandon resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

Contact Us
Contact Us

Have questions? Please contact us.