Offering new products to markets in a profitable and fast way necessitates transferring the focus towards early phases of development process, systematization of all processes and high-performing supplier network. This is a significant reformation for participating supply network. Besides supplying components, supplier early involvement is needed more often to participate R&D-process and other value creation activities. Supplier extranet may act as the primary channel - digital platform - for information sharing, material handling, logistics, development activities in many forms and performance monitoring.


In order to achieve high-performing supplier network, the management of network must be more goal oriented and it should be based on supplier categorization model giving more precise action plans for development. Both diversified and accelerated supplier cooperation required comprehensive communication and information sharing solution.

Supplier extranet was the digital solution, serving as two-way information channel between organizations and covering all aspects of information and co-development needs, figure below. The former extranet served mainly purchasing department to handle information-flow in order-to-delivery-process. The renewal focused on covering new contents and co-development needs incorporated in R&D, supply chain and quality management, manufacturability development, packaging and logistics issues, maintenance and spare parts management. Extranet is also home for nonconformity item management. Suppliers are also informed on missing items through extranet, where the preventive actions based on root cause analysis also happens.

Startup view from the supplier extranet software

Supplier extranet was empowered digitally by several new before untried functionalities and processes. Renewals enabled also introduction of so called Supplier Metrics Portal. Through the portal every single supplier can now follow its own operative status and obtain exactly the same information. 


Two fundamental research questions and industrial needs were tackled: quick response R&D with early involvement of supplier network co-operation, and the concept for disintegrated, but still cooperative strategic procurement and operative purchasing functions with the ability to acknowledge supplier capabilities.


Supplier network value creation requires diversified participation on focal company processes: besides rapid component deliveries, more and more is needed early participation in R&D-process. Supplier extranet is the primary channel - digital platform - for handling material logistics, development activities in many forms, performance monitoring and information sharing. Many information gaps and misunderstandings are avoided.

Data availability and digital transfer processes promote punctuality, transparency and reliability. Complementary supplier inquiries are not needed any more. Wide use of extranet is useful for every single supplier, but for the focal company those, whose capabilities and opportunities enables greater value creation, are especially interesting ones. These are integrated to promote value creation in product- and production process based. As a whole, supplier extranet systematizes and boosts not only focal company purchasing operations. It also systematizes process practises and enhances widely crucial operative processes. Its impacts are related to order-, forecast-, product-, performance- and development benefits. Supplier extranet boosts willingness to deepen cooperation far beyond order processing digitalization, although it alone gives remarkable time and resource savings annually. 


Jaakko Kekkonen, Ponsse Oyj

Ismo Ruohomäki, VTT


Ponsse Oyj, Strera Technologies Oy, Leinovalu Oy, HT Laser Oy


Author missing

Ismo Ruohomäki