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A New Approach to Supplier Onboarding

Posted By RCVF Admin, Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Updated: Friday, October 2, 2020

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A New Approach to Supplier Onboarding

By Richard Wilhjelm, Traverse Systems

I feel confident in asserting the entire RVCF community has been impacted one way or another — either personally, professionally or both — by the recent events related to the pandemic. And like you, I will sincerely miss this year’s journey to Camelback to celebrate RVCF’s 20-year anniversary with Kim and team. But as they say in show business, the show must go on, and our business is certainly no different.

A refrain many of us have heard recently is that the pandemic isn’t changing business, it is accelerating it. I couldn’t agree more. To adjust to the shifting landscape, retailers are adopting —or accelerating — new processes including e-commerce, delivery, curbside pickup, and drop shipping to both offset losses in same store sales and also to remain competitive. And with any disruption comes opportunity as retailers are signing up new suppliers to take advantage of the new trends. But as we all know, the process of both onboarding and maintaining new suppliers is not only inefficient and time-consuming, but expensive.

The Challenge

Prior to the pandemic, retailers grappled with the process of how-to onboard suppliers in a timely and efficient manner. The various approaches typically resulted in a tradeoff; onboard too fast and skip the details that result in downstream failed EDI transmissions and countless supply chain errors, or onboard too slowly and potentially miss market opportunities — or worse — your competitor beats you to the shelf. And on top of that, you potentially lose the ability to mitigate the risk of dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of suppliers, many of which are offshore. As retailers race to onboard new suppliers to take advantage of emerging opportunities, the challenges onboarding them is certain to increase. The impacts of an inefficient supplier onboarding process are numerous and include:

  • Delayed shipments due to missing documents, signatures and approvals
  • Correcting data entry errors due to a lack of data normalization processes
  • Information lags due to bottlenecks, which in turn delays progress
  • No clear visibility into the onboarding process, what is complete and what is missing at an enterprise level
  • Risk – both financial and to the brand

While retailers often allocate departments and full-time equivalents (FTEs) to manage the process, it is often done to bridge incomplete tools such as email, spreadsheets and task management software. The result is often the same — the allocation of time, money and resources with little results to show for it.

As a longtime member of RVCF for more than 16 years, the greatest value we at Traverse Systems derive from the RVCF community is the opportunity, and venue, to simply listen and learn. We get to listen to your accomplishments and best practices, as well as areas of opportunity. We get to learn from your sessions, presentations and, yes, your commentary after hours at the firepits.  A comment we have heard repeatedly is that if there is one common challenge many of you face, retailer or vendor alike, it’s the time, effort, and expense required to manage the supplier onboarding process. I am pleased to announce that we have taken many of your generous ideas and put them into action. Today, we are announcing Rivet, a solution specifically designed to manage the supplier onboarding process.

Introducing Rivet

Traverse Systems has developed Rivet, a Business Partner Management Solution that minimizes or eliminates the complexity, time and expense associated with the supplier onboarding process. As former retailers ourselves, we have witnessed firsthand not only the inefficiencies associated with the process, but also both the impact to the merchandising plan and the downstream impact to the supply chain. Rivet is the ultimate tool for managing the supplier onboarding process so that speed-to-shelf and accuracy of data are not just the exception, but the reality.  Some of the key features and benefits of Rivet include:

  • A single platform to manage tasks, data, supporting documentation and follow-up actions.
  • Provides enterprises with visibility, control, and governance to traditionally siloed and informal processes.
  • Automated emails alert campaign recipients of their daily progress, specifically when their tasks are unacceptable, incomplete or at risk of being late.
  • Reducing supplier onboarding time without sacrificing data quality.
  • Achieving ROI through the reduction of labor expense alone.

In addition to the platform for supplier onboarding, Traverse Systems is also in the process of rolling out a managed services division to further assist enterprises with their supplier onboarding objectives. Our services division will consult and manage processes related to both supplier onboarding and vendor performance.

The future of commerce will require companies to onboard suppliers faster than ever to navigate current disruptions and take advantage of future opportunities. Though business is running off the levels we as a community are accustomed to, the need to optimize inefficient processes to save our two most constrained resources, time and capital, is greater than ever. We believe we have built such a platform to meet the challenges enterprises face today and we look forward to sharing it with you at our next event, whether that be in person or virtual, after all, the show must go on!

Start Today

To learn more about Rivet, please click here and download our latest whitepaper “A New Approach to Supplier Onboarding.” To schedule a presentation, please contact me directly at .


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