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Credit departments in the building materials supply industry have a difficult task. Approving and monitoring credit limits and payments for thousands of customers and hundreds of thousands of projects every year can get a bit cumbersome. Luckily, technological advances have made it much easier for credit teams to manage customer relationships. Good credit departments know this.

Gone are the days in which a company was could build and own all of its tech in-house. There are so many third-party technologies with sophisticated offerings to consider making the improvements in-house, and credit executives who don’t see this are being left behind.

Controlling collections activities, managing sales tax receipts, controlling mechanics lien rights, and monitoring potential customers’ credit are just a few of the functions that credit technology partners can do for the building material supply industry. Whether delegating responsibility for accounts across a nationally distributed credit team, or managing a shared services operation, credit technology sits at the heart of every great credit organization. Deciding which technologies to adopt, however, is a much different beast. Here are a few basic guidelines to consider when looking to bring on new partners for your credit technology platform.

Look for platforms that integrate with your ERP

Whichever ERP (Enterprise Resource System) you use – Oracle, Eclipse, SAP, Infor – you will be at a significant advantage if your system integrates with the partner you choose. With a successful integration, your data is either transferred automatically, or in a pre-determined and easily readable format. The amount of time it takes to “go-live” with a new tech partnership is drastically decreased, and the chances of adoption are much higher.

Get the data right, from the start

In the event that your ERP is not already integrated with your chosen tech partner, be sure to make your data transferrable. Get your fields organized. Make sure the data in those fields is complete and in a readable format. Most importantly, get in the habit of updating and transferring the data regularly. For many tech companies, frequently updated data is the best way to deliver value to your company.

Make sure your partners are partners with each other

When tech partners are connected to each other, your company benefits from having a “one-to-many” data connection across multiple platforms (not to be confused with “one-too-many”). By connecting to one tech partner, you are entering the network of all technologies that they are integrated with. Each time your company brings on a new tech partner and makes the investment to onboard that technology, you want to avoid having to make that connection again with a different tech partner.

For example, billing and payments technology company Billtrust recently announced a partnership with Levelset that will improve the experience for joint customers. Thus, if your billing platform integrates with your mechanics lien management platform, you can potentially make one integration and get access to two platforms. It’s like killing two (or three, or four) birds with one stone.

The ultimate credit technology stack for the building materials supply industry:

A comprehensive suite of third-party technologies that cooperative to solve a problem is often referred to as a “technology stack.” Below is an example of an ideal credit technology stack for a building materials supply company. This suite of platforms covers all of the basic functions that each credit team is tasked with, and makes it easier for teams to do their jobs well.

  1. Avalara 
    Simpler sales tax compliance. This includes the ability to transfer tax exemption certificates, among many other products specific to sales tax.
  2. Billtrust
    Invoice-to-Cash solutions. From paper invoices to e-invoices, Billtrust manages the billing and payments process so your company can get access to cash faster than ever.
  3. Experian
    The consumer-credit giant also has excellent data on businesses. Run credit reports on potential customers with ease.
  4. FundingGates
    Receivables management that is making collections the easiest part of your business.
  5. Levelset 
    Manage the mechanics lien compliance process for all parties in the contracting chain, automating and optimizing the exchange of preliminary notices, monitoring lien rights and exposure, and exchanging lien waivers.

All of the above are cloud-based platforms with excellent technology and support teams that are interested in seeing your company succeed. As you put together your plan for a credit technology stack, consider the platforms above an all-star suite of solutions.