One of your largest customers or suppliers has mandated that to continue doing business with them, you have to be EDI compliant. So, rather than risk losing the business, you search “EDI compliant” in your browser and are immediately presented with a dizzying number of potential suitors. You select one of the first listings that appear, and the vendor enrolls you in their EDI webforms solution. This is a solution that makes you “appear” to be EDI compliant with your trading partner, but in reality you’re still keystroking all of that data into your system and into an EDI portal. You gain no efficiencies since you still have to manually process the data, BUT, you didn’t lose the business. Does this sound familiar?
There is No Typing in “Real” EDI
If you’re one of thousands of businesses who are presented with the “…be EDI compliant or else…” mandate, don’t allow fear of the unknown push you to take a minimalistic, reactive approach. By doing so, you shortchange your organization from gaining efficiencies such a shorter order-to-cash cycle, better visibility into your supply chain, fewer fines and chargebacks from your customers and above all – more profit. Instead, work with a reputable EDI provider and have them illustrate for you how EDI will not only save you money, but will make you money. Chew on some of these statistics: implementing EDI reduces operating costs by AT LEAST 30% and shortens the time for the entire order-to-cash process by MORE THAN 60%. And if that doesn’t provide enough incentive to do more rather than do less, know that IDC projects that companies will gain a whopping 335% ROI with modernized EDI/B2B integrations – where data flows seamlessly into & out of your business systems – which is essentially more than $4 in benefits for every $1 invested. Yep, you read that right!
No ERP, No Bueno
One of the biggest obstacles we see that prevents organizations from fully embracing EDI is the lack of an ERP system. If you’re still using QuickBooks, start looking now for an ERP system that will scale with your company as you grow and not box you into an EDI solution where you have little flexibility. The reason is that many of these so-called EDI mandates come from companies that require an EDI 856 Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) – Walmart, Target, and Amazon to name a few. Simply stated, QuickBooks isn’t architected to handle/process/maintain the data necessary to generate an ASN so workarounds and additional middleware become necessary. Each touch point along the path creates more risk with regards to exceptions and errors, each of which can cost a company upwards of $30. On the other hand, if you are running Acumatica, CloudSuite, NetSuite, Canopy (or any other decent ERP system out there), you are only limited by your budget and the expertise of your EDI partner. Imagine a world where your EDI orders magically appear in your order management system, rather than hand-keying them after you have downloaded them from your non-integrated web-based platform. Such a world is not only possible, it is necessary to keep up with your competitors.
Actionable Intelligence (AI)
This AI, is NOT your usual AI. Actionable Intelligence is what happens when you leverage an EDI visibility tool and are able to make data driven decisions based on real-time information. Don’t take my word for it – see for yourself in this video. You may be surprised to learn that only 6% of supply chain professionals claim to have full visibility into their supply chain. With this tool you’ll have complete visibility across your network—from purchase order to shipment—and advanced, real-time analytics and insights will help you prioritize challenges and solve problems before they become major headaches. How about reconciling invoices against purchase orders, shipment documentation, and receipts to identify quantity and price discrepancies? Empower yourself to be proactive and eliminate costly fines and fees, prevent late payments and late shipments, and realize revenue faster. It’s like having your own supply chain advisor – anywhere, anytime, without requiring IT to aggregate that data for you.
So, if your approach to technology is one of waiting for mandates, know that approach may find you out of a job and your company out of business as your competition leaves you in the dust. On the other hand, if you’re an organization that wants to make technology work for you, I’d love to be able to call you my customer.
Learn more about how to thrive in a world full of supply chain challenges in our free eBook: Supply Chain Insights