Photo appears courtesy of Sarah Ackerman. Supplier enablement just got a heck of a lot more fun with the unveiling of Liaison Technologies’ Community Manager. As a hub organization, can you imagine being able to see what's happening with your trading partner community at a glance? Liaison Technologies, always on the cutting edge of integration and supply chain solutions, has created a tool for hubs to manage their community from one convenient place. Community Manager uses a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to allow hubs to monitor and manage their customer/supplier enablement programs.
For the spokes, Liaison's Athena solution is provided as a perfect solution for the smallest companies which would not otherwise pursue an EDI connection to the hub. Athena can be accessed from any device with an internet browser, including mobile devices. Modeled after a basic email interface, Athena makes the viewing, creation and exchange of EDI documents virtually effortless. Athena's reply-to feature and simple web-forms makes EDI as easy as answering an email. In addition, carton labels (GS1-128/UCC-128), email alerts, and Athena's reporting capabilities allow users to quickly summarize a variety of EDI activities, such as all sent or received or rejected documents within a specified time period.
For the hubs, Community Manager makes the process of outreach, onboarding, data validation, and monitoring much more fluid. Supplier enablement managers can monitor if a spoke is receiving and viewing received transactions without a phone call or e-mail. This changes the dialogue from, “Did you get my purchase order?” to "Hey Bessie Clothing Supplier, I see you have not reviewed PO #1234." One of the most useful features is that you have the authority to move your suppliers from test to production status right within Community Manager. You decide which documents to enable, what the message flow is and you have the ability to add or remove and edit trading partners. This powerful tool is currently being used by a company with 28,000 suppliers. Can you even imagine the control and visibility this company has into its supplier community?
I haven't even gotten to the best part. With a commitment to add a minimum number of suppliers within the first year, this tool comes at no additional cost to the hub! Yes, you read that correctly. The maps will need to be written of course, but this is a minimal investment for the impact of having this kind of visibility into your global trading partner community. Oh did I neglect to mention that Athena is available in 12 different languages? Forget huge testing fees, forget long contracts...easing your suppliers into a well-built, low-cost solution that you have some control over is invaluable. Convincing your suppliers to be EDI capable is tough and accomplishing that without damaging the relationship is a delicate process. As a pair working for you, Community Manager and Athena can help you accomplish that goal. If you would like to see a demo of either Athena or Community Manager, please do not hesitate to contact us.