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Gazumped ! The benefits of B2B

For those of you to whom this delightful English slang word is unfamiliar it describes what happens when someone out bids you for a house, or indeed anything else. I’ve just been “Gazumped” in the B2B benefit stakes by a gentleman called Michael Brady.

I was about to share with you a number of reasons why our B2B Managed Services have become so popular of late and why I feel it can deliver huge business benefits and then I attended a webinar! Michael works for Marks and Spencer, one of our major retail customers.

I thoroughly recommend this to you because it brilliantly encapsulates many of the key reasons why B2B is such a good thing and more importantly the logic of it all in a sequence of events. Watch the 2 minute video here.

There are three things that stand out to my mind in this webinar.

First, recognition that having moved to a new ERP meant that the B2B component needed to be upgraded. The new ERP processed Marks and Spencer’s 500 food supplier invoices at a finer level of granularity than before. Specifically, it processed invoices at a line level rather than the header. So instead of just matching a Purchase Order and Invoice of 800 units at £10,000, they moved to a PO with, say, 200 green ones at £20 each, 600 red ones at £10 each and could confirm receipt and match the items on a line by line basis. This is clearly a more accurate and compliant process.

Second, they were very keen to ensure that all their food suppliers submitted invoices. The key word here is all. Using a web form to submit invoices via a managed service, M&S were able to enable whole trading community. That’s 100%, the lot, everybody, all invoices, the end. So, all inbound invoices are received electronically at a more detailed level than before. Now we have conformance and compliance to a new and improved process.

And third, if we receive all these invoices electronically, we can process them electronically. The GXS service acts as a quality and data compliance gateway ensuring the invoices are correctly formatted. Marks and Spencer now automatically process 97% of the two million invoices received. If you want to do the maths that’s over five thousand invoices automatically processed per retail day.

B2B services help to deliver a massive operational improvement. I think it’s clever, exciting and hugely rewarding. So if you’re implementing an ERP, remember much of the data it needs to operate has to come from beyond the firewall. B2B and ERP are a critical combination and a managed service allows you to focus on your business.

Let us bring the data to you to enable those operational improvements. Please watch the video then let me know what you think.

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