Why use B2B Managed Services?

Business consolidation

Many organisations are consolidating back office functions across business units, companies and geographical locations. Some establish Shared Service Centres to provide non-strategic roles such as accounting or HR to the entire organisation. The benefits come not only from cost reduction but more frequently from increased productivity and quality of service. By centralising or consolidating functions such as B2B e-commerce the organisation becomes more agile as it can grow quickly without the expense of re-inventing or extending their back office functions.

The Challenge

Most medium and large organisations will have developed piecemeal B2B solutions over time. This is very often on a national or business unit level. The result is a trading community supported by a number of different solutions from a number of different suppliers on a number of different platforms. Merger and acquisition adds further to the challenge by introducing the necessity to consolidate an entire new set of B2B systems.

Areas to address: Increasing complexity

Most B2B infrastructures have developed on a national basis. There can be very good reasons for this: a devolved business strategy or the ability to identify and select suppliers with the correct local market solutions. However, once the organisaton begins to consolidate its B2B solutions, it soon discovers that it is supporting a huge range of document types, communications protocols and technical standards. In addition, the expertise on each of these areas is held locally. Even consolidating in a few regional centres takes extremely careful planning and implementation.

Areas to address: Multiple suppliers, multiple service levels

One key goal of consolidation must be to benefit from economies of scale. Yet, it is likely that different business units and countries have their preferred suppliers – especially where they are using Value Added Network (VAN) providers. Each business unit will have their own service levels and cost structures. In some cases, a VAN can be working with two separate business units and charging different pricing to different SLAs. The organisation will have to manage a series of different contracts. By consolidating on a single supplier, you can ensure you receive the highest level of service at the keenest prices on a single central contract.

Areas to address: Global supply chain visibility

The piecemeal trading networks that many organisations have today make it almost impossible to know what is happening across their entire supply chain. There is little or no possibility of the real time data flow or decision making needed to fully capitalise on the business opportunities in supply chain optimisation. By consolidating onto a single B2B infrastructure, you gain much more control over all aspects of your supply chain. You can begin to better manage supplier performance and service customer demand.

The role of B2B Managed Services

Often to properly consolidate operations give you the opportunity to start afresh. You have the alternative of integrating all your disparate B2B networks, trading partners and supplier contracts into a centralised operation or selecting a third party with global reach that can quickly onboard your internal systems and trading partners onto their infrastructure. In most occasions, the costs associated with the second option are significantly less than maintaining the B2B systems in-house, while giving access to the advantages a Managed Service provider delivers in terms of future-proofing and disaster recovery.

Issues to consider

  • How many B2B networks are there within your organisation?
  • In how many countries do you have trading partners?
  • How are your trading partners currently supported?
  • How many VANs does your organisation currently use?
  • Are you getting the best price for your B2B transactions?
  • Do you have complete view of your global supply chain?

Are you ready?

Use our checklist to find out if your organisation can benefit from B2B Managed Services.

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