Why Do You Lose Important B2B Information?
We all know that information is critical to modern business operations. Running an organization is all about making decisions based on accurate information delivered at the right time and to the right person. When you lose critical b2b information due to poorly designed workflow processes and information systems, an overwhelming amount of email, or even user error, that information is no longer actionable.
It seems like people are busier today than ever before. While technology promises us that we will be able to decrease stress while increasing productivity, poorly implemented technology usually results in the opposite. The speed at which we can send and receive information increases, but overly complex system design, poor notification design, and bad data from the beginning cause more stress and diminished efficiency.
Let’s look at some causes of losing b2b information.
Poorly Designed Information Systems
All work is a process. The ability to define the flow of information in a sequential, organized, and auditable way is critical for effective business operations. A well-defined process naturally increases efficiency and effectiveness because it brings repeatable results to your team, department, and organization.
Conversely, work that isn’t repeatable isn’t sustainable. So, if you do not design your information systems to facilitate a well-engineered business process, then you will not reap the benefits that technology offers. Your technology will be a pain in the neck that still doesn’t function well, regardless of what you do to it, and therefore exists to consume time and resources and doesn’t provide any value to you or your team.
Lack of Information Systems
It is a problem if your information systems are configured poorly, but also, it’s a problem when you don’t have the IS infrastructure, to support the process at all.
How do you know you’re lacking the necessary information system infrastructure? To answer this question, we must ask another. How much time per day do you spend checking and responding to emails? How many emails per day do you receive? When you don’t have the proper information systems to support your b2b processes, you use email to facilitate b2b communication and collaboration.
Say hello to the email abyss.
The email abyss is where b2b information goes to die alone and is often never seen again.
You create the email abyss by not having a structured, process-oriented application for managing b2b information. Often, companies spend a lot of money to invest in enterprise business software, but then they don’t invest to allow their systems to talk to the business systems of their suppliers and third-party vendors. Having these systems but not integrating them means they must facilitate that communication manually, which leaves no other option than to send an avalanche of emails daily. This email avalanche is an extremely vicious and growing cycle because the more emails there are to keep up with, the more issues it creates to resolve. The more problems there are to resolve, the more emails it creates.
For a more in-depth discussion about the email abyss, check out our blog: Problematic PDF Purchase Orders and Other Business Documents.
Sending Information To The Wrong Destination
You would think that sending b2b information would be straightforward, but it is often more complex than most people realize. The difficulty begins with the question, “where do I send this purchase order?” Usually, you send it to your regular contact, named Bob. However, Bob is out on vacation this week. Because Bob is out of the office and Bob hasn’t communicated who his backup is, your time-sensitive purchase order goes straight to Bob’s inbox and remains unopened until he returns.
If this were a process-based solution, the purchase order would go to the backup automatically. If someone is sick or on vacation, your b2b collaboration partner still receives the order with complete tracking and visibility, and the business continues to move forward without one specific person as a single point of failure.
This principle applies to other mission-critical b2b communications too, like quality-related documents. Reject and RMA, part specification updates, and Supplier Corrective Action Requests must arrive at the appropriate location for processing on time. In other words, they require routing through a process, not just being sent in an email.
“I’m just going to ignore this one and hope it goes away.”
Your supplier or collaboration partner has messed up in this situation, and they know it. Rather than resolve the problem, they just hope that it will eventually go away if they bury it. After a brief look to the left and to the right to see if anyone is watching, your collaboration partner deletes your email, and if questioned, they just say they never got it.
Yes, this is unethical, but it constantly happens. Without structured, process-oriented communications and tracking, there is no recourse for you to take while you continue having unresolved quality issues from your suppliers. This reason alone should convince you that all your b2b messaging and communications need to be conducted over networks and system platforms that will facilitate tracking and delivery, not just email.
What Happens When You Lose Crucial B2B Information?
When you lose mission-critical b2b information like business documents and tracking data, you may as well operate your business blindly. You cannot ensure that it is received when you send a purchase order unless your collaboration partner responds with a Purchase Order Acknowledgement or an ASN. But to whom do they send that ASN? Can you ensure that you receive the ASN or other logistics information from your third-party provider?
What about those quality documents and issue resolution processes that require participation and collaboration with your supplier? If you are losing that b2b information, you will likely never achieve the supplier scorecard values you want to see. Additionally, it could cost your organization millions of dollars in scrap materials that arrived out of specification. You shouldn’t have to pay for your supplier’s mistakes, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to ensure that all your b2b data arrives in the right place at the right time, those mistakes could steal millions of dollars from your company’s bottom line.
Of course, the list of bad results continues as you could run out of inventory, over-order, or even fail to fulfill orders from customers, all because your organization can’t keep track of its b2b information. It’s time to stop losing business due to lost data. Make the investment in structured, process-oriented b2b communications and never risk leaving an order unfulfilled because of lost b2b data again.
If any of these issues resonate with you, let’s chat!
Don’t forget to check out this quarter’s supply chain resource: Solving Six Supplier Quality Issues with ChainLink SRM