Updated January 20, 2023 | 8 min read How B2B Supply Chain Management Works Supply chain management (SCM) refers to the series of processes that begin with product manufacturing with raw materials and end with delivering finished goods to the customer. In the business-to-business, or B2B, business model, customers are other businesses rather than individual consumers. B2B supply chain activities aim to make products available in the most efficient way. An eCommerce supply chain includes the processes of planning, design, production, storage, inventory management, and order fulfillment. Some companies are able to own every stage of their B2B supply chain, meaning the manufacturers as well as the distributors work for the same overarching company. However, many businesses need to collaborate with other organizations and outsource different steps of the supply chain process. This means that other suppliers, distributors, etc. that partner with these businesses are each responsible for completing certain steps within the process chain. Increase Sales by Improving Your B2B Supply Chain Solution Effective B2B supply chain management starts with an SCM system. A good SCM system or software solution helps you optimize business relationships, streamline and automate supply chain processes, and forecast supply and demand. Proper B2B architecture must be followed closely. Each of these factors increases efficiency and thereby customer satisfaction and sales. Optimize Relationships Optimizing the relationship between suppliers, manufacturers, and customers means fostering strong working relationships through effective communication. This can include setting up systems for regular communication such as weekly check-ins or using cloud-based systems that allow all parties to have access to updated information. You also need to be aware of potential changes or risks that might occur and have protocols in place to deal with them effectively. Automate B2B Supply Chain Processes Streamlining and automating B2B supply chain processes can help increase production efficiency and minimize delays in product delivery. Automation can involve introducing robotic technology into manufacturing lines or investing in software that helps coordinate tasks across different sites. Streamlining processes can include implementing lean management principles to reduce wasteful activities, simplifying organizational structure and procedures, and reducing paperwork where possible. Plan Ahead Effectively Forecasting supply and demand let your organization (as well as business clients and partners) plan ahead when deciding how much inventory to order or strategizing marketing campaigns. Artificial intelligence, analytics tools, and automatically generated reports can help predict customer behavior and optimize B2B stock levels so you're maximizing sales opportunities while minimizing costs associated with overstocking. Real-Time Tracking A comprehensive B2B supply chain solution provides real-time visibility into the supply chain, including your inventory and production schedules, enabling prompt responses, informed decisions, and improved customer relationships. Challenges & Advantages of B2B Supply Chain Management Challenges of B2B SCM B2B eCommerce supply chain management can be complex, particularly for B2B businesses that may not own the entire supply chain. When multiple companies are involved in the supply chain, B2B procurement participants need to be on the same page. A miscommunication or out-of-date information at any point in the B2B supply chain can slow down the entire process. This has consequences down the line when a customer doesn't receive their order when expected. This may result in the customer contacting customer service resources to resolve the issue. Due to the nature of business-to-business eCommerce, B2B SCM must meet stricter deadlines. While the consumer in B2C may want their product as soon as possible, the business in B2B needs the product by a specific time and day to run its own operations from there. Advantages of B2B SCM When it comes to eCommerce supply chain management, SCM software has made things easier for B2B eCommerce in many ways. With access to online systems, instant data transfer, and multiple ways to communicate, your company has access to a wider range of suppliers and better ways to facilitate those relationships, enabling partnerships that weren't previously available. You can also compare prices online for different members of the B2B supply chain and aggregate information about how much you're spending and where, allowing you to reduce operating costs if anything becomes unnecessary, inefficient, or too costly. Additionally, with ERP software integration, your eCommerce company can have quick access to information at each stage of the B2B supply chain. This helps point out growth opportunities for a better customer experience, improved methods for selling goods, and other key elements for your business. ERP Software Integration and Supply Chain Management With software integration of eCommerce business systems, your B2B company can combat the challenges of complex supply chains and benefit from online SCM systems. SCM and ERP integration gives you a better solution than using them separately or without full integration. Let's go over why. Seamless Data Transfer With integrated eCommerce, when one system updates, so does the other. No more manual entries or guesswork. You'll have the power to make informed decisions for the best possible outcomes because you'll have up-to-date data in all your business systems, which gives you a better view of the whole picture. More Automated Workflows Integrating your ERP and SCM software allows you to automate more processes, such as B2B inventory management workflows. This saves time, reduces overhead, and minimizes errors. Shipment Tracking Shipping integration with supply chains, along with ERP and SCM integration, will give you not just shipment tracking, but also shipping updates for you and your customers. Plus, you'll be able to offer multiple options for shipping and delivery, depending on which carriers you integrate with. Timely Fulfillment Consistent information helps ensure that schedules are kept to deliver to the customer in a timely manner. Automating processes can reduce your eCommerce business's operating costs and save time. Integrating your ERP with your SCM system benefits you, the entire B2B supply chain, and your customers. Clarity Can Help For 16 years, our team at Clarity has helped eCommerce businesses integrate their B2B supply chain management systems with their other software. Using our integration platform, Clarity Connect, our custom integrations have helped our clients save valuable time and resources for their B2B projects. To find out more about how Clarity can help your company improve its eCommerce supply chain management processes, contact us today! Get A Free Demo FAQs Why is supply chain management important in B2B? Supply chain management is essential for B2B businesses to be successful, as this is what allows the business to run. SCM software helps by automating workflows, improving communication, and providing up-to-date data. With a comprehensive SCM system, you can identify areas where your business can save money and plan ahead effectively. You can also respond quickly to changing customer needs with visibility into the entire B2B supply chain. By leveraging an SCM software solution for supply chains, your business can ensure that operations run smoothly and increase profitability in the long run. What is a B2B integration? B2B integration is a connection between two or more business systems. It can be between systems in the same organization, or between different organizations. B2B integration technology helps businesses securely connect their systems together so they can easily share data with each other. Integrated software allows businesses to create custom and automated workflows that make certain processes—such as supply chains, easier, faster, and more accurate. What is B2B EDI? EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. It is used by businesses to securely and efficiently exchange data between their systems, so everyone stays up to date on their relevant processes. B2B businesses use EDI in eCommerce as a way to communicate data with partners and clients. EDI helps businesses streamline operations, reduce costs, and gain valuable insights into their operations. Still have questions about EDI eCommerce? Chat with us at the bottom right corner of your screen #NotARobot Related Posts Bulk Ordering in eCommerce: Streamline Your Process Operations and Supply Chain Management for eCommerce B2B Companies B2B Data Insights with eCommerce Integrations Written by Autumn Spriggle Autumn Spriggle is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures with experience in research and content design. She stays up to date with the latest trends in the eCommerce and software development industries so she can write content to help people like you realize the full potential for their business.