Supplier Relationship Management Software: 6 Core Capabilities, Key Features & More
While most businesses know that the relationships they have with their suppliers are more important than ever before, the truth is that many organizations aren’t optimizing them. This leads to missed opportunities in the form of limited visibility, exorbitant costs, and unnecessary complexities that hinder the ability to meet demand and scale. That’s where supplier relationship management (SRM) software comes in.
SRM automates, processes, and collects supplier data that helps you make better business decisions about your supply chain and maximize the partnerships you have with your suppliers.
Without these tools, maximizing your vendor management strategies can be a complicated undertaking that ultimately slows the procurement process and creates problems with your providers and suppliers. But with the right SRM software solution, you can successfully manage your supplier performance, elevate your relationships and meet your business needs.
What Is SRM Software?
Supplier relationship management software is a solution to help companies improve their supplier management with features like supplier selection, onboarding tools, performance tracking, contract and document management, and payment tracking.
SRM solutions work to bring together all aspects of the supplier management process into a single platform to help everyone involved get a clear picture of responsibilities, timelines, order tracking, and workflow state.
What Is the Difference Between SRM and CRM?
Supplier relationship management is sometimes confused with customer relationship management, or CRM. While both processes are crucial for business growth, they target opposite ends of the supply chain.
SRM focuses on relationships with vendors, suppliers, and retailers. As such, SRM software is much more focused on the supply chain itself, including tracking orders, procuring materials, and managing the contracts between these business entities.
CRM, on the other hand, is the process of optimizing the relationship between your business and its customers. CRM software, then, allows you to track and organize customer data (e.g., interactions with your business, email opens, phone calls, etc.) in a way that helps you better understand and sell to your end users.
6 Core Capabilities To Look for in SRM Software
Here are a few of the most important capabilities to look for when exploring SRM solutions.
A supplier or vendor portal is a centralized tool that contains all the information a vendor needs access to. This might include supplier catalogs, information resources, instant messaging or communications features, personalized dashboards, templates, and contracts. Giving your suppliers a hub where they can go when they need things allows you to reduce ineffective communication like back-and-forth emails or phone tag and enables you to focus on other important areas of your business.
Helps Your Team With Supplier Data Management
Another important capability is supplier data management. This will help your suppliers and sub-suppliers track and store data like interaction history, ongoing activities, capacity, etc. It’s also where important documents are stored, like invoices and contracts. The SRM software you choose should provide search and filter tools to make it easy for users to quickly find the data they need.
Provides Supplier Performance Management
One of the most important aspects of supplier management is transparency into supplier performance. For your business to succeed, you need to work with the suppliers that offer a level of service and performance that suit your individual needs. A good SRM alerts you to any performance slips and offers supplier segmentation and customization tools to help you examine supplier activity.
Offers Real-Time Supplier Risk Management
Another crucial aspect of managing the supply chain is collecting real-time data and having risk management strategies in place. These tools help you prepare for the risk of a supplier having reputational or financial issues and make sure they pass compliance checks. They can notify you when an issue arises and provide solutions to help you find a new vendor. This way, you can avoid costly supply chain disruptions that can have a significant negative impact on profitability and overall success.
Uses AI for Supplier Pre-qualifications and Selections
Like many new cloud tools, most supplier relationship management platforms will utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to help optimize processes and streamline operations. AI can help you bid and select the right suppliers by matching you to options based on financing, compliance, risks, and capabilities. Beyond helping you source the best suppliers, AI can also allow you to automate important areas of the supplier selection process such as creating invitations and approvals for the bidding process.
Integrates With Your Tech Stack
Last, but certainly not least, your SRM needs to seamlessly integrate with other important tools in your business, such as your ERP, CRM, and inventory management tools. For all of these tools to work together they need to be able to communicate with the other platforms and solutions you use so you don’t run into issues of inconsistent data or data silos, where not all information is available to everyone who needs it.
Anvyl in Action
Now that you understand what SRM software is and why your business should use it, let’s explore some of the features that make Anvyl one of the best tools to manage your supplier relationships.
Anvyl acts as a bridge between global supply chain teams, systems, and suppliers to deliver a single source of truth that improves collaboration and alignment. It helps centralize data, facilitate communication, increase visibility, and automate processes.
The platform ensures that everyone has access to the right information when they need it, resulting in streamlined operations and communication that keeps your entire team better aligned.
Here’s a look at some of the key features that make this possible:
End-to-end visibility of order timelines
Anvyl gives you the ability to track supplier milestones and logistics integrations in a way that ensures that you always know what’s getting done, and on what timeline. This includes a clear view into areas such as shipping timelines, payment deadlines, and production timelines.
And because integration is core to Anvyl, teams can easily sync their go-to tools (ERP, IMS, etc.) to ensure data is updated and shared across systems and alleviate the burden associated with having to manually update multiple systems.
Automated milestone tracking
Anvyl prompts suppliers for automatic updates throughout a purchase order’s lifecycle, including PO acceptance, production start, on track to ship, ship and delivery.
This empowers teams with accurate information and clear traceability of what is being produced by their suppliers and on what timeline. As a result, teams are able to decrease the time spent chasing down updates from their suppliers and can focus on other important areas.
Supplier performance analytics
Anvyl knows how crucial your supplier relationships are to the overall success of your business. By tracking every order and shipment date, as well as the rate of responses to milestone prompts, we give brands the data they need to know how their suppliers are performing and help them manage their relationships with them.
Unlike most solutions out there, Anvyl takes supplier performance to the next level with a Supplier Scorecard that allows teams to discuss performance with suppliers based on data and help identify things like areas of improvement and help with finding new suppliers if needed.
Centralized document management
By encouraging collaboration in one central location, Anvyl makes it easier to distribute important information and documentation across teams. With easier collaboration, you’ll spend less time digging through email threads or searching for files.
With some brands sharing hundreds or even thousands of documents on a monthly basis, this is a tremendous advantage.
Custom tasks and full audit trail
Using if-then logic, Anvyl makes it easy to create and assign custom “to dos” to keep track of the work that’s getting done between you and your suppliers.
And thanks to our audit trail features, which automatically logs the actioner, timestamp, and date associated with major changes to orders you’ll always have the context needed to answer the question “what happened?.”
Elevating Supplier Relationship Management With Anvyl
In today’s ever-changing and unpredictable world, it’s becoming more and more important to have control of your supply chain. A great SRM system allows you to improve your business processes and workflow, while building stronger relationships between your company and your vendors.
At Anvyl, we understand how important it is to have the right SRM platform. That’s why our solution helps businesses standardize processes, track, and report purchase orders, and improve operations. To learn more about how Anvyl can help your business with our many supply chain management tools, request your demo of our platform today and discover how we help improve your supplier strategies.
Take Control of Your Production Process
Anvyl provides a central source of truth for all your order information, and helps you manage your supplier relationships. All in one simple platform.