3 Ways to Optimize Supplier Enablement For Higher Education

Apr 12, 2018 11:46:42 AM

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As a university accounts payable professional, you know that supplier enablement - or electronically connecting your vendors to your supply chain - in higher education is incredibly important. You need to keep things organized and in good standing with your suppliers so that you can keep their services flowing. Here's an overview of three simple strategies to optimize your supplier enablement for more efficient AP.

High-Level Benefits of Supplier Enablement to Your Suppliers

But first, let's rundown of the benefits to your supplier and to you. What are the high-level benefits of supplier enablement from the perspective of your vendors? Here are just a few:

  • Improved satisfaction for the customer (you)
  • Improved visibility to their customer (again, you)
  • Increased opportunities for collaboration
  • Increased revenues
  • Decreased servicing costs
  • Improved service/product quality
  • Improved cash flow

Benefits of Supplier Enablement to Your Institution of Higher Education

Now let’s look at the benefits to your institution. These include:

  • Less stress inside your AP department
  • A more efficient payment process
  • A more organized work environment
  • Better overall relationship with your vendors

Supplier Enablement Optimization Stategy #1: Prepare Your Accounts Payable Team for Long-Term Benefits

Every person on your team plays an important role. When it comes to supplier enablement for higher education, you need every individual on board to ensure that it’s successful for both your vendors and your organization. This requires a certain degree of technical and personnel training, but offers many long-term benefits. 

Supplier Enablement Optimization Stategy #2:  Enlist the Right AP Automation Program and/or ERP

Once your staff is prepared to put a supplier enablement plan into action, you need to choose the right AP automation program or ERP for your institution. Your team could be ready to go, but the wrong AP software can quickly derail your plans. Find a program that can handle pricing settings, do invoice intake, make automated payments, organize your vendors’ contact information, store all the transaction information for future queries, and do it all securely. 

Supplier Enablement Optimization Stategy #3: Keep Your Suppliers Happy

Nothing is worse than an unhappy supplier - especially if you have previously established a long working relationship with them. Not paying a vendor’s invoice on time is one of the fastest ways to put a damper on a business relationship. Supplier enablement for higher education helps you pay your vendors on time. You work with hundreds of vendors at your institution. Processing the thousands of invoices you receive from them will be highly inefficient if there’s no uniformity to the invoices. Quality supplier enablement involves you receiving automated, uniformly formatted invoices from all your suppliers to help ensure timely payments.

The Bottom Line: You Save Money with Supplier Enablement for Higher Education

Supplier enablement makes a positive impact on your bottom line. With supplier enablement for higher education, accounts payable is no longer solely as a cost center. Your AP department can save significantly with e-payments to your enrolled suppliers. Firstly, you can eliminate the costs of processing and mailing physical checks to vendors. The estimated median cost of a check transaction is $3.00, and it is often much higher than that, according to The Association for Finance Professionals. That’s a lot of money when you consider the high volume of vendors that colleges and universities pay. Also, the payment controls for virtual payments in the top accounts payable systems help you save time and money from overpayments that could go unnoticed. Lastly, you will save money through security measures that can help prevent breaches and fraud that can cost your institution potentially millions of dollars. 

Is your college or university ready to embrace electronic payments? Find out more about how virtual card payments improve the AP picture for all sorts of nonprofits, by grabbing our primer. New Call-to-action

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