B2B In A Post-COVID World
In the same way that Amazon’s success fueled the explosion of the B2C eCommerce market, Covid-19’s supply chain impact is accelerating the adoption of B2B eCommerce.
“What do you think of that analogy, Sam?” a senior SAP official asked me during one of our regular partner update meetings.
I immediately thought that it had a nice ring to it and I really wanted to believe it, since Corevist stands to benefit greatly if it were to be proven true. I then considered the source, an SAP Executive with his finger on the eCommerce market’s pulse, so it had to be based in some semblance of reality. However, as an entrepreneur with a strong survival instinct, I’ve immunized myself against Siren-song-induced shipwrecks. I dismissed this one as another in a long line of SAP’s sensationalistic, self-serving, marketing hyperbole. One that is disrespectfully, and in this case egregiously, taking advantage of the devastating situation that the Covid-19 has thrust upon humanity and our economy.
And then I realized that he was right.
How Covid-19 is challenging manufacturers
Within the last month, we’ve had many inquiries from all over the world presenting the same Covid-19 induced challenges. Each inquiry goes something like this:
“Our salespeople can’t travel and our customer service reps (CSRs) are working from home while doing double duty as babysitters and homeschooling teachers. Their stress level is skyrocketing, and productivity plummeting, as they struggle to simply survive. With that as the backdrop, it’s understandably hard for our CSRs to look up an order status with one kid in their lap and the other screaming because she’s starving and needs help with her crashed zoom session. To add insult to injury, our customers are inundating us with delivery status inquiries thanks to our supply chain interruptions. And if that wasn’t enough, they are delaying paying their invoices because their businesses have slowed down, so we’re struggling financially. We need to do something quickly! Can you help us?”
Can we help you?
That’s our mission! To make B2B eCommerce available to all SAP Manufacturers.
How manufacturers are responding to Covid-19 challenges
Here is a sampling of some of the inquiries that we’ve received in the last couple of weeks:
Case 1– A Spanish based manufacturer of educational supplies had an online Magento “brochureware” store displaying their catalog of products. They just went live on S/4 Hana, and they wanted to hook the two up together and leverage Magento as their front end and S/4 Hana as their B2B commerce platform (Sales, Distribution and Finance). Their priority was to get order status and invoice lookup (Corevist’s eTrack module) up and running as soon as possible in order to remove the routine workload on their CSRs. They would eventually move to taking orders online (Corevist’s eCart) once we freed up CSR capacity to help with that project.
Case 2 – A USA based manufacturer recently went live on S/4 Hana and wanted to improve their Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). In hard economic times, everyone has a heightened sensitivity to cash flow. This manufacturer performed a value stream mapping of the collection process and realized that resending “lost” invoices could add anywhere from 2-5 days to the collection process. Not accepting electronic payments online could add another 2-5 days to the amount of time that their customers held onto their cash. Enter Corevist’s eTrack + ePay modules, and within a month, they will be able to take 4-10 days out of their DSO. With the success of this program, they will then move on to eCart and enable online ordering.
Case 3 – A Latin American Manufacturer presented the need for a simple Customer Portal so that 100 of their customers can register online to view the status of their orders, sales history and open invoices, all of which are kept in SAP ECC. The manufacturer needs it fast, cheap and all in Spanish.
Case 4 – A North American Manufacturer in the Food industry believes that Covid-19 will force many of their competitors out of business. They see this as a growth opportunity if they can quickly and easily pick up their competitor’s stranded customers. Their sales model has traditionally been based on onsite visits by Sales Representatives. With potentially tens of thousands of customers in play, B2B eCommerce is the only realistic approach.
Case 5 – A German based chemical company is looking to improve access and usability to SAP for their travel restricted employees (Sales + CSRs). They are also looking to improve Customer Support capabilities by offering a Customer Portal that enables their customers to self-service their inquiries about order and payment status. Customers are asking for more flexible hours to contact CSRs because they too are juggling remote work and family responsibilities.
Case 6 – The US subsidiary of a Swiss based Manufacturer is looking to upgrade/replace their 20-year-old homegrown B2B Partner Portal solution. They are not capable of supporting the increased demand for B2B eCommerce services on the platform that they now have. SAP ECC integration today, and the ability to support them through their S/4Hana migration is critical to them.
The Takeaway: Digital interaction is here to stay
Everyday we’re seeing new inquiries to help Manufacturers provide better customer services while their staff are struggling to juggle the work/life imbalances that Covid-19 has thrust upon them.
We’re here to help.
So, yes…with mixed emotions…
I wholeheartedly agree that Amazon is to B2C what Covid-19 is to B2B.
Moving forward: FREE case study
Want to see what digital transformation looks like in real life? Download this case study on Blount International. You’ll learn how this leading forestry/agricultural manufacturer transformed their customer experience with Corevist Commerce. The best part? They did it with no additional IT resources.