Once you have completed your community setup (ie. organizing your community into product groups and location groups, then defining and assigning your community requirements, such as location types, product types, document types, etc.), including your supplier onboarding workflow template(s), you are ready to start onboarding!
Based on our experience assisting FoodLogiQ community owners through the onboarding process, here are some best practices that we recommend to develop your plan for onboarding.
- Test the Experience
- Complete a Pilot
- Consider a Phased Roll-out Approach
Test the Experience
We highly recommend that you invite yourself as a supplier, and go through the onboarding process as if you were a supplier. This helps you understand what instructions they will see as they navigate the process and review the ordering of the steps you’ve setup for them. Through this process you may find that you want to add additional instructions to your workflow template or perhaps rearrange your workflow steps. If you have multiple onboarding workflows, such as one for suppliers and one for distributors, you will want to test both versions. To learn more about how to do this visit our "Preview Supplier Onboarding Experience" article.
Complete a Pilot
This is an optional step that some have found helpful. Identify 1 or 2 suppliers and/or distributors to invite into your community and have them go through the onboarding process and provide feedback to you. This not only gives you an opportunity to gather feedback on how to make the onboarding workflow more straightforward, it also prepares you for your responsibilities during onboarding. To learn more, visit our "Monitor Supplier Onboarding Progress" article.
Consider a Phased Roll-out Approach
We recommend a phased roll-out approach*. First, consider dividing your community members into 3 groups (distributors, high risk suppliers, and low risk suppliers). You would onboard them in this order.
- Distributors - Inviting distributors first, allows you to collect location details which will support your roll-out of incident reporting or traceability.
- High Risk suppliers - we define "high risk" as those vendors that supply perishable items, such as Produce, Protein, Dairy and Bakery. These items are likely the most susceptible to quality issues and/or recalls, so getting these suppliers and product information in the system sooner would be advantageous.
- Lower risk suppliers - we define "low risk" as those that carry a lower likelihood of having quality issues, such as non-perishable goods, like packaging, disposables/paper and cleaning products.
Once you’ve separated out your vendors into these 3 groups, you will then want to categorize each into your Location Group and Product Groups, as well as collecting all the contact details per supplier (i.e. First Name, Last Name, Email Address for Primary Contact). From there, you will want to develop a timeline for when you want to invite each group. Prior to inviting you will want to consider your outreach plan, for more info please visit our "Supplier Communication Plan" article.
Here’s an example to consider:
Proposed Onboarding Plan
- Week 1: Test the Experience and Create your Supplier Communication Plan
- Week 2 - 3: Complete a Pilot and Gather Feedback
- Week 4: Invite Distributors
- Week 5: Invite High Risk Suppliers - Produce, Protein, Bakery, Dairy suppliers
- Week 8: Invite Low Risk Suppliers - Invite Packaging/Disposables and Chemical suppliers
*Please note: You certainly have the option of inviting all your suppliers at once. This may help you keep track of consistent dates (invite sent date and deadlines for completion all the same). However, depending on how many suppliers you have, this may seem a bit overwhelming at first. The number of phases and suppliers you onboard at a time should be defined based on the time and resources you have to allocate to this effort. For example, if you have .5 resources to devote to onboarding review, you may want to limit the number of suppliers you onboard per phase to 20-30 suppliers.