My supply chain is disrupted — how can I respond?

The recent pandemic has hit a lot of businesses hard, particularly in the supply chain, and the negative effect on suppliers of both finished goods and components has been significantly disrupted. 

Even in cases where there is ample supply, delivery times have increased significantly. Shipping times of weeks instead of a few days or overnight are now common. As a result, many sellers are searching for new suppliers, ideally with an eye to finding more local partners, in order to be more responsive should a similar situation arise again.

For many retailers and distributors, adding product information from suppliers is a challenging process that typically involves everything from phone calls with your new supplier to emails exchanging information, and even swapping spreadsheets, burning valuable time and resources with each step. Sellers may have this cadence down with existing suppliers, but starting the process from scratch with new suppliers adds additional friction while you are trying to rapidly respond to shifting market demands and disrupted supply chains.

What’s needed is a solution to tackle the issue of efficiently onboarding supplier product data. A solution that enables willing suppliers to provide their product information directly to you, the retailer/distributor, in the format you need, without having to go through the painful, time-consuming manual process of editing Excel sheets, copying and pasting data, and manually reviewing and approving their submissions. 

These manual processes can leave you with errors in product information, a slower time-to-market, and an inability to add new products to your product collection or modify your existing offerings.

Akeneo PIM with Akeneo Onboarder can solve these issues. This solution makes it easier to collaborate with suppliers to add new products and improve product data quality, resulting in faster time-to-market.

Handling the long tail of suppliers

In a retailer’s or distributor’s ideal world, all suppliers would graciously offer the authoritative product information the sellers need to create great product experiences. But sometimes, suppliers just won’t play ball. 

The largest and most important suppliers you work with might often decline to collaborate directly with you — or they simply may be unable to, given their resources or whether they perceive a strategic relationship. A rule of thumb we often hear retailers and distributors quote is “20% of my suppliers are 80% of my business” — so what do you do about the other 80% of suppliers — the so-called “long tail”? The key to getting these suppliers to work with you is to make it as easy as possible for them to provide you with the information you need. So how do you make that happen?

Onboard supplier product data with ease

Akeneo PIM features integrated product data onboarding capabilities for suppliers via the Onboarder. This speeds up the process of collecting data from suppliers and makes it easier for them to provide product data directly to the seller. 

Myer, a leading Australian department store used Akeneo to devise an easier method for their hundreds of suppliers to upload product information and images. By informing suppliers about Myer’s exact requirements, both Myer and their suppliers were able to enjoy a more streamlined process and get products for sale much faster than before. Myer also gamified the process by giving suppliers a score and therefore an incentive to enhance data quality. You can read the Myer case study and hear more about it in the podcast below.

Accelerate time-to-market

Besides the need to find new suppliers, the current pandemic has also impacted available resources as some companies have been forced to make unplanned, unwanted cuts. If you don’t have enough people or other resources available to dedicate to manually acquire, enrich, and approve product data from suppliers, that’s just another reason to look for an integrated solution to share the work among your team and those of your suppliers.

With a solution like Akeneo PIM and the Onboarder you get more done with less. Suppliers have a personalized online environment for creating, uploading, and enriching required product information requested by the retailer/distributor, who then reviews and approves the data. Once approved, the supplier’s product data is ready for further enrichment and then distribution to relevant sales channels.

Akeneo customers like Petra have already seen the benefit of using PIM to accelerate time to market. The U.S.-based wholesale distributor of electronics uses Akeneo PIM to help their supplier managers oversee an average of 30 suppliers each, enriching a total of 33,000 products while accelerating time to market and improving product data quality.

To hear more about this topic, check out our podcast where we discuss the challenges with today’s supply chain and how a product data onboarding solution can help to overcome them.

Ready to say goodbye to supplier struggles and hello to accelerated time-to-market, high-quality product information, and top-notch product experiences? Then say hello to the Akeneo Onboarder! 

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