Increase e-invoicing ROI through supplier onboarding
Friday, 29 May 2015
Last week, I wrote a short blog post about the importance in choosing the right B2B commerce network and the issues surrounding that choice. This week (in conjunction with Step 5 of the eBook: 6 steps to e-invoicing success) I’d like to raise up the importance of supplier or customer onboarding.
Senior Product Marketing Manager
For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on e-invoicing for Accounts Payable. AP departments know that high quality invoice data will have a measurable impact on almost all of their process metrics. Well, that’s all good and fine but just wanting your suppliers to send e-invoices won’t make it happen. For any given organization, e-invoicing is going to provide huge wins in terms of workflow efficiency and transactional cost savings but getting your suppliers onboard is a challenge all organizations struggle with.
Learnings from Heineken’s successful onboarding program
Okay, so it’s difficult. But what in life worth having isn’t? Supplier onboarding requires effort but so what – the rewards are huge so best-in-class companies know to invest in activation programs. I recently interviewed Heineken on this very topic and they had a short list of best practices. Segmenting suppliers and then going after their largest (by invoice volume) first and then proceeding to onboard segment by segment – rather than a big bang approach. Why this was important is that they had put in place a team and an escalation process to ensure results. They knew they couldn’t over burden the team if the program was going to achieve success.
Communication was largely digital, but on a weekly basis, key suppliers who didn’t onboard themselves were called directly. Additionally, the digital email campaign was designed to escalate in tone, starting with an invitation, progressing to a statement, then a demand and finally ending with a threat: ‘paper invoices will be returned to you after a certain date’.
Offer suppliers different options
Heineken also had support from Basware Activation Service. We worked with them directly for 3 years in order to get nearly 100% of their suppliers sending e-invoices. Obviously, supplier onboarding couldn’t be done if the solutions for sending e-invoices weren’t addressing individual supplier requirements and that’s an important consideration. Ensuring suppliers of different sizes have different options for sending invoices electronically is key. Small suppliers will need free and easy solutions like a portal or pdf e-invoice solution and larger suppliers will find integrated e-invoicing solutions better fit their needs.
So without giving away the whole e-Book, I’ll finish by saying that a mix of e-invoicing solutions, coupled with a well-resourced supplier activation team will determine your eventual success with e-invoicing.
Enjoy the e-book and find me back here in a week with the final installment in this 6 steps to e-invoicing success story.