As a Walmart supplier, you or someone on your team is spending most of the day in Retail Link®. From that first item setup to running those Monday reports, getting a handle on Retail Link® is imperative for your relationship with Walmart. It’s also one of the biggest struggles for Walmart suppliers.
When we saw SupplyPike was making it possible for Walmart suppliers to never open Retail Link® and still work with the data and applications, we wanted to know more! TJ Sangam, President and CTO of SupplyPike, joined us on a recent Conference Call Podcast (click the play button above to hear our entire conversation). He explained how SupplyPike takes raw data from Retail Link® and packages it into clean reporting and workable applications to save suppliers time and payroll.
What Is SupplyPike?
We started the interview with the background of TJ’s company and how they support Walmart suppliers.
“We’re a software company providing software for suppliers,” he began. “Being a supplier is a lot of hard work. There’s never enough time in the day to do everything a supplier needs to do to be successful. They’re dealing with On Time In Full (OTIF), line reviews, in-stock issues, sales, deductions, managing buyer meetings, and demand planning.
“What SupplyPike helps suppliers do is to streamline and automate as much of that work as possible. We do that by bringing advancements in fields like machine learning and data science into supply chain. We automate tasks and try to connect as many systems as possible.”
Really? Never Open Retail Link® Again?
If you’ve ever seen SupplyPike’s marketing message, a big selling point is suppliers never having to open Retail Link® again. We asked TJ how that was even possible.
“Walmart suppliers spend a lot of time in Retail Link®,” TJ acknowledges. “It’s a good system and there’s a ton of really good information there. But the information can be hard to find, especially when you’re a supplier trying to juggle multiple responsibilities. You need the information when you need it. You can’t be fighting against the system to get the data.
“That’s where SupplyPike comes in. We work with a lot of suppliers and we try to understand their pain points. We interview them to understand what data they need and what they do with the data. We then build the system around their needs.
“For example, a lot of suppliers check up on their in-stock levels. They need to know how much product they have across different stores and across different distribution centers. That’s actually a LOT of reports! Surprisingly, it’s not that straight-forward to get that data. What you can do with SupplyPike is just set alerts for when your in-stock goes below a certain amount. The system will then push that information to you instead of you having to go dig and find it.”
Walmart Deduction Disputes Made Easy
Walmart suppliers are focused on more than sales each month. They’re also looking for ways to add dollars back to the bottom line by eliminating fines and cleaning up accounting errors. SupplyPike has made one of the biggest pain points for suppliers easier to manage through its software: deductions.
“Deductions are a really big problem for suppliers,” TJ illustrates. “When suppliers ship product to Walmart, they bill Walmart for the products that were shipped. Often times they may not get paid in full. That’s called a deduction. If the supplier feels some of the Walmart deductions are in error, they can dispute them with Walmart. However, if you dispute a deduction, you have to submit relevant documentation to substantiate your dispute. The time it takes to research and determine if it’s a valid deduction (plus gathering the required documentation) is a lot of work. Even when you know what you’re doing, it can cost you 30 to 45 minutes per dispute.
“SupplyPike is super helpful for deduction disputes. We plug into all the different systems a supplier uses. We become the single source of truth for purchase orders, invoices, shipments in flight, and how much product you have in which warehouse. So when a deduction comes in, SupplyPike’s machine learning systems will know immediately if it’s a valid or invalid deduction. If it’s an invalid deduction, since it’s already connected to your carriers, we actually pull in the bill of ladings. We can show you delivered on time. We can show money was deducted incorrectly from the invoice. We then can file that dispute for the supplier with Walmart automatically. It’s one of our most popular features with the software.”
To see demos of the SupplyPike software and speak with Walmart experts, click here to see more.