Alternate a Comin’
When I first started working in EDI, many moons ago, EDI was almost 100% trading partner instigated. What I mean by this is, for example, a supplier (distributor or manufacturer) gets a contract to supply a major trading partner (large retailer for example). The trading partner sends out a supply contract outlining terms and conditions agreed, but also inserts a clause that the supplier must be EDI enabled in order to exchange electronically the required business documentation (Purchase Orders, Invoices, Shipping Notices and so on).
How many times have I got calls from suppliers that generally went like: “Hey, I got a new supply contract with Walmart which is great, the only darn thing is that they want me to do something called EDI, which I never heard of before.”
In 2014, this is drastically changing. Not only are all suppliers highly versed in EDI, its workings and advantages, but suppliers are now mandating that their trading partners must become EDI compliant so that they can run an efficient, integrated and cost effective supply chain process, giving full visibility to every link along the way.
Today’s suppliers see the advantages of communicating seamlessly with their manufacturers, distributors, retailers, third party logistics providers (3PL’s) and online shopping platforms. As well as allowing full visibility from every quarter, EDI offers full integration between different business applications (ERP/WMS/OMS/Supplier & Order Portals, etc.) which removes the need to re-key data and thus drastically reduces errors.