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John Sanborn, a regional distributor of construction material with 1.2M USD in annual revenue, earns the majority of his sales from seven key customers—one of which recently asked John to start taking orders through the Ariba® Network. The recent uptick in the economy has boosted orders and made business extremely busy, yet John doesn’t want to add staff or make any big moves till he’s sure the higher volumes will continue. When he finally sets up his Ariba account, he completes only the required fields and chooses email as his preferred order routing method, requiring no real change to his current process. Relieved to have met his customer’s demand so painlessly, he crosses this off his list and turns back to more pressing matters.

 

Everything’s great, right? Well, yes and no. On the surface, John delivered what his customer wanted—giving the appearance of providing e-commerce without really investing in the process. But he also left money on the table, because his approach short-circuits his chance to realize major top- and bottom-line gains through e-commerce. He also risks losing business to competitors who offer true e-commerce, providing the real-time visibility, accuracy, and efficiency his customers seek. Yet with just a bit more effort, John could reverse this scenario and turn e-commerce into a powerful competitive advantage.

 

The E-Commerce Catch-22

If your e-commerce approach resembles John’s, you may share a common dilemma: you realize that embracing e-commerce could help you delight customers and eliminate many of the day-to-day tasks absorbing your time and resources, but you’re too busy completing those tasks to develop a proactive e-commerce strategy. The result? You stay stuck in reactive mode…and miss out on the big benefits e-commerce can deliver.

 

Removing the Catch: Four Simple Steps to Success

Here’s the good news: you don’t need a fancy multi-year strategy to take your e-commerce results to the next level. Here are four steps you can easily take in the next 12 months to greatly escalate your e-commerce ROI.

 

Step 1: Start Getting Your Ariba Orders Online

Choosing to receive orders online through the Ariba portal, rather than email or fax, allows you to effectively manage all order-related tasks through a single location: your Ariba Network account.

What will it give you?

  • Centralizes access to useful online features that let you:
    • Easily view and search orders
    • Gain real-time visibility into order status, including changes and cancellations
    • Automate order confirmations and ship notices
    • Quickly troubleshoot order problems and fix issues up front
    • Take advantage of e-invoicing capabilities that let you “flip” an order into an invoice with one click

How do you do it?

Go to the administration navigator tab in your Ariba Network account, click “Electronic Order Routing” under “Network Settings,” then choose “Online” as your preferred routing method. This will send orders to your Ariba inbox, where you can easily retrieve and manage them directly through your Ariba account.

 

In the Next Blog We'll Cover Step 2: Replace Paper Billing with E-Invoicing

If you don't want to wait until tomorrow to learn more, then go to the Supply Lines group to read the full article.