For global manufacturers, shippers, and distributors, peak season is the pinnacle end-result of intense production levels, rapid-fire orders, and fast-paced distribution. The period leading up to the seasonal peak is also filled with repeated collaboration and frequent points of interaction between trading partners.

While some companies may excel at production and distribution, their ability to effectively connect with other businesses can be error-prone and labor-intensive. Take the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) process for example. A tremendous amount of overhead is required to manage the order lifecycle from purchase order transmission, acknowledgment, change, re-acknowledgment, shipment, receipt, invoicing, payment, and more. Inefficiency at any point in the communication chain is further amplified in the crush of orders ahead of peak season. 

Beyond this, given the number of parties across a typical supply chain, how a business connects with and collaborates with the community of parties outside of its own four walls is critical to success. As information flows between manufacturers, freight forwarders, customs brokers, third-party logistics providers, ports, ground carriers, distribution centers, retailers, and marketplaces; any brittle point of connectivity, error, or non-automated business process can add complexity and make it difficult to effectively identify points of failure.

Enabling Successful Supplier Relationships

The intense production build-up and operational pressures ahead of peak season call for systems that can help streamline communication. Today’s highly distributed trading partners and complex supply chains require solutions that can:

  • Connect Digitally to Suppliers – With the cost of a single, manual purchase order topping $100 (Source: Gartner), transforming manual interactions to exception-driven electronic connections is critical to driving down costs.
  • Measure Supply Chain Performance – From supplier on-time performance to lead-time analysis, pinpointing trading partner performance-related issues with meaningful alerts and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help resolve discrepancies and boost overall supply chain execution.
  • Collaborate Across Suppliers, Forwarders, Brokers and Carriers – With a growing number of partners across the value chain, creating ‘one version of the truth’ can not only speed the flow of goods but can reduce cycle time, better replenish inventory and minimize stock-outs. In addition, enhanced communication enables better purchase order visibility from initial order placement to shipment, to customs clearance, to the dock, to delivery.

How Descartes Can Help

Peak season can be a performance litmus test of B2B communication. Orders skyrocket, and customer demands are at their highest, highlighting challenges as businesses seek to meet stringent timelines and maintain accuracy in pursuit of the ‘perfect order’. 

The Descartes B2B™ Collaboration solution can help provide a critical competitive advantage before, during and after peak season by simply enabling better communication between businesses across the procure-to-pay lifecycle and beyond.  

The web-based integration and applications platform connects trading partners to a community-based ecosystem of customers, suppliers, manufacturers, carriers, intermediaries, networks and more—regardless of IT capabilities, communications environment, data standards or unique business processes.

Our solution can enable, execute and manage virtually every step of the inbound supply chain and buying process, minimize reliance on manual and paper-based procedures, drive down transaction costs, reduce lead times, eliminate errors, improve vendor relationships, support advanced supply chain collaboration, and more.

Descartes B2B™ Collaboration goes beyond digitizing connections to measure supply chain performance and align stakeholders through collaboration. The core benefit of the solution is the ability to customize the digital interactions between businesses and their trading partners on a far more granular level. This is achieved by not only providing repeatable and re-usable connections, but also by offering adjustable business rules that can be tailored to the unique requirements of a trading partner, industry, or business relationship.

With seamless, digitized, inter-company sharing of data added to a smart layer of business logic, companies are better prepared to stream information and product from PO to POD to not only meet the challenges of peak season but also to thrive.  

Contact us to learn more.

Written by Fasih Hussain

Vice President, Industry Solutions, B2B Collaboration at Descartes