DEC 12 2023 Supplier Management

Shorten Your Supplier Onboarding Process with Simpler Questionnaires

Learn how your business can save time and shorten supplier onboarding times by eliminating manual processes and simplifying supplier questionnaires.

Efficient supplier onboarding will do more than just end a lot of headaches. If you think of your team’s time in terms of money, then the cost of time spent working with repetitive and over-complicated supplier onboarding begins to add up. Not to mention, it can hold up your whole supply chain and ruin supplier relationships. 

Why change my questionnaire?

Paperwork, data inaccuracies, delays in communication… All of these can contribute to long and time-consuming supplier onboarding processes. These challenges are more common than not, but it doesn’t need to be that way. 

By identifying ways to shorten questionnaires, procurement teams can achieve faster turnaround times while still ensuring that new suppliers meet quality standards. With a faster supplier onboarding process, your team can reduce supply chain disruptions and time costs to meet organizational needs and deliver greater value to your organization.

Keep reading to learn the best practices you can adopt take to tackle these challenges and shorten purchase turnaround times.

Creating simpler onboarding questionnaires

Creating simpler onboarding questionnaires

Onboarding questionnaires can be lengthy and complex at best. This can be a major roadblock for both companies and potential suppliers. It can even deter the most popular suppliers from working with you.

New supplier evaluation is extremely important. Anyone in procurement knows this. However, if your onboarding questionnaire is too long and unnecessarily complex, this can pose a real issue. Simplifying your vendor onboarding as much as possible will not only attract the best suppliers to you— it will also save your own team time and money. Try to find a balance that simplifies questions as much as possible while collecting the data required to cover all the necessary risk and due diligence topics.

Not only will this simplification reduce supply chain slowdowns, but it will also reduce paperwork, promote faster response times, and improve data accuracy. Not to mention, your suppliers will trust and respect you as a customer. 

No one likes unnecessary paperwork, so don’t make it harder on your suppliers than it needs to be. Ask clear and concise questions and narrow it down to only the questions that are absolutely essential. Doing so will make your supplier’s experience simpler and more enjoyable. 

They’ll also be able to get the questionnaire back to you in a much shorter time frame, with greater certainty in their answers. Fewer questions means you have more time to review each question and validate data. 

Simplified onboarding forms will also mean a better relationship with your suppliers. They’ll see that your business respects them and their time and will be more willing to enter into discussions and collaborations that are productive and helpful to both companies. Building this type of solid and trusting relationship with suppliers will pay your business dividends for years.

With simplified questionnaires and shorter onboarding times, you’ll also save your team time and resources that would otherwise be dedicated to reviewing supplier responses and managing longer onboarding times with suppliers. 

Increasing your team’s efficiency will allow you to do more with fewer resources, save your business money, and run a team that can turn their attention to other important matters.

Streamline the onboarding process

Streamline the onboarding process

So now we understand how important it is to simplify supplier onboarding, what are the best practices?

Shorten questionnaires

Shorten questionnaires

An easy way to begin is simply reducing the number of questions on your supplier onboarding forms. If that is not possible, simplify the language of the questions as much as possible. Keep the focus on the most essential information. Clear, simple, concise questions will take less time to complete and will be a smoother process overall. 

Customize questionnaires by category

Customize questionnaires by category

Another thing your team can do is create customized questionnaires for different supplier categories. Not all questionnaires can be the exact same. You need different information from different suppliers. However, you can still improve the process of customization by creating categories rather than starting from scratch every time. Group your suppliers into categories for products and services that your business needs or uses the most often, and create questionnaires that fit those categories.

Aim for clarity

You can also help the onboarding process go more smoothly by providing clear instructions and support to your suppliers and stakeholders throughout the process. It’s easy to send over your portal and questionnaire and think that the process is then out of your hands. However, if you provide support to your suppliers through clear communication, answering any questions they may have, and being open to collaboration, you will save yourself time in the end.

Utilize technology

Utilize technology

Lastly, implement software or tools that will help you in this process. You may want to take a look at your current onboarding platform or portal. Is it easy to use? More often than not the answer is no. If it’s cumbersome, it may be time to look at other services that support easier processes for both you and your suppliers.

What’s next?

Ready for a supplier-centric solution to these issues? Graphite Connect’s supplier onboarding platform enables suppliers to enter their data once and securely share it securely with their customers. 

You can access supplier data and request anything you’d usually send in an RFX through Graphite’s questionnaire capabilities and store that data in a central location that is quickly accessible for both parties. 

Graphite’s supplier onboarding solution can also help you enhance supplier intake, onboard new suppliers, and even keep track of key success metrics, enhancing business performance. 

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