The world has become more uncertain than it ever was. Couple of years back who would have thought that a certain unforeseen global event could bring the world’s economy on its knees. While the pandemic has had a tremendous effect on sectors bringing them to the brink of closure-it also helped certain other business models to evolve. It is during the times like these that the organization with a stronger Supply Chain resilience manages not only to stay afloat but also lead. It is this ability to spring back when pushed to the wall that gives a competitive edge to a company over its competitors.
For a supply chain function to succeed it becomes imperative that all stakeholders of the business work together and support each other. Among the different business processes and verticals one such focal point would be the collaborative approach between the organization and its suppliers. The prime questions here would be how we leverage the technology at our disposal for seamless transfer of information, bring more transparency within the concerned partners and ensure ease of working by automation while strictly remaining compliant to local regulatory and public laws. Looking at the Indian context specifically the key areas would be cutting down the time and effort spent in the communication (order, acknowledgment, changes, shipping) and managing the GST processes along with other regulatory practices.
One such enabler to answer the above challenges would be the use of iSupplier portal from Oracle. The Oracle iSupplier Portal is a secure internet-based portal used for all supplier communication.
A broad level process flow for transfer of information with supplier within the P2P framework offered by iSupplier is as outlined here:
The high-level process flow shows that the supplier is now able to view the newly created purchase order in the iSupplier portal in almost real time thus cutting down the time and effort spent in communicating the order. The supplier can acknowledge and modify the order, if required, in the iSupplier portal. Oracle iSupplier has the ability to automatically accept those changes which are within the predefined tolerance levels. Changes beyond the tolerance levels would require buyer action of approval thus helping the buyer manage exceptions.
Based on Indian tax laws, Oracle has developed an India specific solution which displays linewise Goods and Service taxes on purchase orders and carry forwards the taxes defaulted and added on an Advanced Shipping and Billing Notice to receipt. The supplier can submit invoices online if the buying company uses Oracle Payables and view invoice and payment information.
Illustration on how India specific GST taxes are embedded in iSupplier
- Supplier can view the GST tax amount separately in iSupplier
- The relevant tax components are seen during the ASN creation (CGST/SGST/IGST)
Let’s see how integrating with iSupplier helped XYZ Inc. a manufacturing company which is into making of regulator valves that are used in pharmaceutical industry.
- XYZ Inc. believes in sourcing parts only from approved suppliers whose product quality and organization credibility are verified and found satisfactory.
- While the company is open to unsolicited registration requests it expects potential vendors to share basic quality certificates and references for initial screening.
- By implementing iSupplier, XYZ managed to completely automate the unsolicited registration requests from new vendors through their own web page and eased the onboarding process.
- Potential vendors could register, attach documents and ask for clarification directly from the given link.
- Existing vendors were trained quickly and provided with iSupplier portal access which helped cut down the document processing lead time that was lost from purchase order creation to sending it the supplier.
- Supplier could now securely log-in to the portal from his computer using his internet without any additional VPN access and view demands from all of the XYZ manufacturing sites- real time at a click of button.
- Suppliers could acknowledge purchase orders and communicate delay (if any) which would immediately be notified to the buyer if it was beyond the preset acceptance limit. This enabled buyers to reach out to alternate approved suppliers to get the shipments on time.
- With the tremendous surge in demand for Oxygen and Oxygen beds during the pandemic it was imperative for XYZ to ensure two things-
- To ensure uninterrupted availability of pressure regulators especially for the pharmaceutical end customers and
- To bring down the component lead time as much as possible especially since XYZ used Kanban planning to stock these regulators.
- With iSupplier, they could now provide the supplier the complete view of Kanban card consumption and replenishment thus increasing transparency and helping supplier take some proactive / calculated decisions based on the stock movement as illustrated below.
- The supplier also had the visibility of forecasts shared by XYZ in iSupplier to plan his capacity and materials. Once the supplier was ready with his shipment- he would create an advance shipment notice in iSupplier detailing out the delivery details and add the required documentation on the portal itself which would be seamlessly visible to the warehouse supervisor and the buyer in Oracle EBS.
- On the expected receiving day, the warehouse team would now be prepared to receive these critical components based on the shipment details and documents attached.
While the scope of iSupplier is much more to include quality, item maintenance, VMI amongst others- we can see how integrating supplier with the companies core supply chain helps reduce overall time and efforts by means of automation and enhance trust by bringing in more transparency. The security concerns that may arise due to an external entity (supplier) accessing the isupplier portal over the net are addressed by setting up of a ‘Demilitarized zone’ (DMZ). The DMZ is a network perimeter that demarcates the portion of organization network between corporate intranet and external network to ensure that the corporate intranet remains protected in an event of a security breach. Being a peripheral module Oracle iSupplier can be easily and securely implemented for companies which are already using Oracle EBS with minimal configurations. Thus, with the changing business landscape and dynamic environment, the collaborative approach backed by technology helps businesses to be better prepared than before and react quickly to spring back especially when the chips are down.
1. Oracle iSupplier Portal Implementation guide
2. Oracle Financials for India (OFI) Goods & Service Tax (GST) Processing iSupplier Transaction (Doc ID 2327524.1)