The unprecedented disruption in the retail industry due to the COVID 19 pandemic was an eye-opener for retailers. Many retail brands realized the value of having a more resilient digital infrastructure in their operations.
One of the facets of retail that found it hard to keep pace during the pandemic was procurement. Raw materials and supply chain networks were badly affected globally, and the resulting shortage stretched inventories and delayed product plans everywhere. There was no shortfall in demand from consumers as the pandemic only brought a paradigm shift in the way consumers shopped for their needs. Long and hectic store visits transitioned quickly into eCommerce. Globally we witnessed the share of online retail rise to 17% of total retail sales in 2020 up from the 14% in 2019 largely due to the pandemic.
So, with a disrupted supply chain and steadily growing demand from the market, retailers faced a tough time.
Many retail companies recognized that the best option was to stay nimble and eliminate unwanted inefficiencies. Above all, they realized the need to deploy the most efficient procurement and supply chain management strategies to save operating costs while fulfilling the demands of customers.
The focus has shifted to making procurement resilient, accommodative, cost-effective, and efficient. As with most other areas, software innovation is the solution recommended by most experts and industry leaders to create an impact.
But the problem here is that procurement is a two-way mechanism. It is not just a retailer that needs to have flexible and powerful procurement software at its disposal. Their partners or suppliers need to have a digital baseline that accommodates the unique requirements of each retailer’s business model and facilitates seamless collaboration between suppliers and retailers worldwide.
What SAP Ariba brings to the table
SAP Ariba is the answer to solving this problem in procurement. It is not just a platform for digitizing a retailer’s procurement lifecycle but an end-to-end fully automated buyer-supplier relationship management ecosystem. The Ariba Network boasts of over 6.7 million verified suppliers globally on the platform from which retailers can pick choices for different categories of products and services. When connected to the network, retailers get access to the world’s largest pool of B2B suppliers from over 190 countries meeting nearly every expense category that a typical retail business is expected to encounter in their operations.
How is Ariba the best choice for procurement?
Simplify operations– Ariba offers retailers the choice to discover any supplier with simple searches like how they browse the web on search engines like Google. By leveraging AI and machine learning, Ariba matches the most relevant content from suppliers across its network and provides retailers with a step-by-step guide to navigate through the procurement process with each supplier they choose.
Centralizing Procurement– Procurement in a retail business is a multi-faceted operational process. The hierarchies of approvals, diversity of requirements, variety of choices in suppliers, nature of expenditure, etc. all have their own story that needs to be understood and managed efficiently. For a retailer having a global presence, the geographical and demographic differences add up extra complexity. With Ariba, procurement is centralized. Every direct and indirect expense, associated processes for compliance, vendor relations, and services is unified into a single destination where retailers can manage all procurement-related activities.
Global Process Compliance – When managing a multinational retail business or while dealing with suppliers from multiple countries, compliance becomes a critical feature in the procurement lifecycle. From tax to regulatory approvals, there is a huge cycle of processes and policy frameworks that needs to be validated across transactions made between buyers and suppliers. Replicating proven and trusted transactional workflows across suppliers with similar geopolitical compliance traits can help save costs, but manually performing the same will be time-consuming. Ariba simplifies global process compliance by enabling seamless data maintenance, tax and regulatory intelligence, autonomous invoice templating consistency, and many more capabilities. A retail business relying on the Ariba network can effortlessly manage expenditure invoices consistently and meet regulatory norms for as many as 90 countries.
Large supplier base – We cannot simply ignore the fact that the Ariba network has over 6.7 million verified suppliers from across the world. This itself is a network that most retailers can never dream of accessing had they stuck to traditional manual procurement mechanisms.
Why Ariba can be a key competitive advantage for retail businesses
The future of retail depends on how seamlessly retailers can unify their digital and physical experiences to ensure that customers get the best products at the best price. Irrespective of the sales channel, the underlying groundwork needs to be solid from sourcing to settlement to ensure that order fulfillment timelines are met. Ariba brings in this assurance, having proven its mettle in building the world’s largest and most intelligent supplier network on top of which any retail business can build lasting relationships with as many suppliers as they need. Bringing onboard the best and most revolutionary procurement platform into your retail business is a critical move where you need expert guidance to make sure everything falls right in the first chance itself. This is where our consultants can become your biggest asset. Get in touch with us to know more.