3 ways to ensure digitally connected business partners

Despite advancements in digital technologies, connecting business partners digitally still poses challenges for purchasing. EDI and OCR solutions do not prove to be suitable options for supplier connectivity. Instead, purchasing must find a digital tool that offers benefits for buyers as well as suppliers. The Netfira Platform connects all significant business partners easily, quickly and cost-effectively. 


Most business partners are not connected digitally

In procurement, process optimisation through automation tools has become a critical factor. Nevertheless, the issue of supplier connection prevents processes from running smoothly and efficiently. In many purchasing departments, business partners such as suppliers are still not connected electronically, leading to interface problems, media disruptions and unhappy business partners. Many customers mean many different customer systems for suppliers, but they can’t adapt to all systems. Suppliers are usually reluctant or even refuse to cooperate when it comes to changing their processes for customers. There are several reasons for this reluctance: adapting to many different systems is too expensive and time-consuming, and suppliers often lack technical requirements and financial resources. 

However, purchasing can only be future-proof if processes are automated, document flows are digitised, and, if possible, all important business partners are connected electronically. So how can purchasing achieve a digital supplier connection?   

1. Digitally connected business partners through EDI

Traditional software solutions do not bring the desired success. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is the technique that has long been touted as one of the most promising solutions. For sure, these techniques are much more efficient than manual transactions between suppliers and customers. However, despite EDI, many business partners are not connected digitally. Moreover, EDI is too complex and too expensive, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

2. Digitally connected business partners through OCR

Many companies have introduced an OCR (Optical Character Recognitionsystem to scan and extract data from invoicesHowever, manual work is still necessary to correctly interpret and analyse the documents content so that the data can be passed on to connected systems. Another disadvantage is that OCR cannot be used for other document flows. Furthermore, OCR is unsuitable for a bidirectional digital exchange of data and documents with business partners 

Why digitally connecting business partners is vital

The most important thing to begin with: driving forward digitisation in purchasing goes hand in hand with supplier connectivity. To optimise processes and workflows, as many suppliers as possible must connect digitally with purchasing. Digitised procurement is the entry into the digitisation of the entire company – and successful digitised procurement starts with the electronic connection of all business partners. Therefore, procurement must find a digital tool that offers advantages for both buyers and business partners.  

3. Digitally connected business partners through the Netfira Platform

With the Netfira Platform, purchasing can connect all significant business partners easily, quickly and cost-effectively. The unique onboarding app allows buyers to connect with their business partners without burdening the IT team. Unlike OCR, data and document flows can be exchanged seamlessly and bidirectionally. And unlike EDI, business partners are quick to adopt a digital connection because they do not have to change their systems, do not need any training and do not incur any additional costs. In addition, the Netfira Platform flexibly connects with all ERP customer systems and integrates into existing ERP and accounting systems and IT systems.  

Advantages for procurement through electronic supplier connection

The digitalisation of purchasing and the connection of all relevant business partners allows a significant optimisation of the purchasing processes. The Netfira Platform enables organisations to automate document processing tasks and free employees of manual, repetitive and error-prone activities. As a result, buyers are afforded more time for more intensive contacts with business partners and more flexible handling of special requests. On top of that, the digitalisation of the entire supply chain leads to shorter response times, high process reliability, full transparency for purchasing and improved data quality. Read here how to increase data quality in procurement through digital automation tools. The optimisation of purchasing thus results in the optimisation of the entire organisation. 

Pfleiderer Case Study

Learn how Pfleiderer successfully digitised its procurement by digitally connecting its business partners with the Netfira Platform.