Skip to main content

Supplier enablement: Debunking the myths

July 20, 2023

When you first explore it, trying to achieve genuinely integrated supplier enablement can seem overwhelming. Not only do you have to make sure all your internal processes will integrate with your suppliers (and let’s face it, that sounds a bit cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive) but you also may need to buy additional hardware and software. Plus you’ll need a comprehensive training program for all staff involved, from purchasing to accounts payable. It might be easier to go on with business as usual and wait until things quiet down – or wait until things get simpler to integrate. Electronically connecting a supplier to your company’s supply chain and integrating with your ERP (enterprise resource planning) would have to save both time and money to make it worth your while, and the switch just seems too onerous. Right? Not necessarily!

Pioneering virtual payments

Supplier enablement is much simpler and more straightforward than it sounds with the tools WEX developed for large and small businesses. And it is much more cost-effective for both you and your suppliers. As pioneers of virtual payments, WEX knows how to integrate supplier enablement programs across industries and businesses of all types and sizes.

Won’t upfront costs be expensive to adopt virtual payments?

The first worry is that integrating a new way of managing accounts payable will incur high upfront costs. However, since our supplier enablement works with your technology to get your suppliers onboarded, you don’t need new hardware or software; WEX works with what you have.

“We pioneered virtual payments and have spent the last 20 years growing our network of acceptance, building an extensive supplier engagement program, and creating new ways to maximize virtual card spend,” explains Eric Frankovic, senior vice president and general manager of corporate payments at WEX.  “Our success is tied directly to yours, and we are committed to helping you grow your supplier-enabled network and maximizing your spending volume.”

Won’t the virtual payments onboarding costs be high?

While there must be a strong commitment throughout the purchasing and finance teams to truly enable your key suppliers, the actual cost of onboarding the suppliers when you partner with WEX is zero. WEX does not charge you any fees for onboarding your suppliers. WEX has a dedicated team to guide you through the process as well as integrate with your systems. We will work with your existing ERP and create additional application programming interfaces (APIs) where needed, minimizing disruption to your processes and those of your suppliers.

Isn’t the process complicated?

With decades of virtual payments experience, WEX has honed its onboarding process into a well-oiled machine. Key to this process is working with customers to identify and target your key suppliers.; these may be suppliers with whom you spend the most money. Still, there are other factors to consider such as how central they are to your business or whether they are already accepting virtual payments. So while our process has been robustly tested, those in your organization who have a stake in supplier enablement must be committed to making the process successful.

The WEX virtual payments campaign system

WEX creates a campaign team to work with you on all the stages of supplier enablement. Your dedicated team works with your key stakeholders and with the suppliers you target together.

Opportunity analysis prior to supplier onboarding

WEX aims to match your most important suppliers first. There is a spending analysis that takes place, looking at your spending with your suppliers, what factors are important in that supplier relationship, and any other aspects that make suppliers important to your business goals. From that data, WEX can help you to prioritize the suppliers to target first in the enablement process.

Virtual payments campaign preparation

Each of WEX’s supplier enablement programs has a campaign manager dedicated to guiding you through the onboarding process. After analyzing your priority suppliers, WEX works with you to articulate your buyer strategy and priorities – and then target the agreed suppliers.

Virtual payments campaign execution

As illustrated below, WEX prepares the entire plan, creates all the collateral, and plans and executes the telephone campaign. WEX works with you to ensure all the collateral meets your company brand standards, including letters, call scripts, emails, and endorsements.

Post-campaign and future enrollments to virtual payments

WEX performs all campaign analysis and reports that back to you in order to apply any lessons to future campaigns. WEX stays with you for any future enrollment campaigns – either with new suppliers, or critical suppliers in your business as it evolves – and your suppliers become more vested in virtual payments.

Why would my suppliers bother to adopt virtual payments?

Fifteen percent of suppliers enroll in virtual payments when they receive the initial email campaign conducted by WEX. These businesses enroll on their own because they understand the benefits of virtual card adoption. For those who need convincing, WEX embarks on a series of steps to encourage adoption.

Suppliers will experience cost savings with virtual payments

You have cultivated important relationships with your suppliers; the last thing you want is to disrupt a relationship that is working perfectly well. However, with traditional payments, your suppliers have a built-in wait for payment – as well as costs associated with executing that payment. Suppose it’s a check payment: That payment needs to be reconciled with the purchase order, printed, signed, and mailed – not to mention bank fees for processing those checks. This is also the case with ACH payments.

Fraud prevention is enhanced with virtual payments

The opportunities for fraud with both check and ACH payments are much higher than with virtual card payments. Because the virtual card number is generated for one payment and is also only valid in a short time window, the chances of fraud are very low compared to traditional payment options.

Closer business relationships result from virtual payments adoption

Both you and your suppliers benefit from a closer business relationship once you make the switch to virtual payments.  With a smoother ordering and payment process, your mutual business success is part of both your organizations.

Won’t the payments cost more if I adopt virtual payments?

The savings in-house for both you and your suppliers can be significant. The administration of check payments alone can be a massive resource for businesses, large and small. From administering check runs to arranging for those payments to be mailed, there are many manual steps — for you and your suppliers – to the current process. With those manual steps eliminated comes dollars saved.

Additionally, the cost per transaction is much lower with virtual payments than it is with check or ACH payments. The most significant benefit of WEX virtual payments and WEX’s supplier enablement program is the rebates that accrue from using WEX’s system: the supplier incurs a discount fee for every transaction.

Making the virtual payment leap with your suppliers

According to PYMNTS, by 2025, 80% of all business-to-business payments will be made in the virtual space. According to Global Newswire, accounts payable automation will reach $7.5 billion USD by 2030. This isn’t a new way of managing accounts payable; WEX has been working with its clients and their suppliers for over two decades to enable virtual payments.  Now is the tipping point for your business to run more smoothly, save resources, improve payment security, and create better working relationships with suppliers.

Learn more about how WEX payment solutions can be tailored to your business, so you can accelerate and streamline operations while creating lasting growth and success for your organization.

To learn more about WEX, a dynamic and nimble global organization, please visit our About WEX page.

Globe Newswire



Stay connected

Subscribe to our corporate payments blog to stay on top of payment innovations. 

"*" indicates required fields

Learn how to increase value from every business value with WEX