Overcoming supply chain visibility challenges with tech-forward vendor management

This interview was conducted at Reuters Events: Supply Chain USA (May 17-18, Chicago, 2023).

While the need for supply chain visibility increased in relevance post-pandemic, the industry continues to lag in adopting tech-forward solutions that bring greater efficiency and transparency. “There’s a big disconnect between manufacturers, contract manufacturers, and their suppliers, especially when building one particular product by procuring parts from different sources,” says Jithesh Manoharan, the founder and CEO of Partner Portal, a vendor management platform that automates supply chain workflows. 

Partner Portal bridges this via its platform that supports a plethora of stakeholders in the value chain, including suppliers and third-party logistics providers, and their associated EDI systems within a single portal. With everyone interconnected in the platform, Manoharan contends this enables a procure-to-pay cycle, a daunting task otherwise. “We’ve been supporting around 17,000 vendors as of now,” he says. 

Partner Portal’s platform creates a cohesive network that streamlines the entire procure-to-pay cycle, helping businesses minimize logistics bottlenecks and eliminate potential delays, ultimately enabling them to optimize supply chain operations. 

The complex nature of managing multiple vendors is evident, as companies may face delays due to a lack of seamless communication. For instance, a manufacturing plant would require several parts to be carted from multiple vendors across different markets, making it an exhaustive process to ensure they arrive within the delivery timeframe. The situation is complicated by issues with volatile demand, pressuring the management to ensure the availability of supplies to meet demand. 

“There are multiple aspects to the supply chain business that makes it a very dynamic and complex ecosystem,” says Pradeep Vidyadharan, SVP of Global Product Strategy at Partner Portal. “Having a vendor management solution will make communication between manufacturers, vendors, and logistics providers faster and more simplified. A streamlined platform speeds up the process of addressing problems, as it’s easier to interact and get things done.” 

The advantages of adopting such a vendor management solution go beyond mere efficiency gains. With enhanced transparency into the supply chain, businesses can identify vulnerabilities and risks more effectively. This allows them to implement robust contingency plans, and, ultimately, ensure their business stays afloat in the face of demand volatility and black swan events.

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