Improve Data Accuracy and Supply Chain Efficiency with an ERP and Built-In EDI

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Importer and Distributor, ERP, Consumer Goods, EDI, Retail Compliance

 

Electronic data interchange, or EDI, is the exchange of data between two business partners (or within an organization) in a standard digital format. EDI helps to ensure accuracy, efficiency and reliability. All communication is managed with EDI, ensuring vendors and retailers don't have to dig through emails or notes or spreadsheets for communications, timelines and order details.

It's estimated that 80 to 90 percent of business-to-business traffic is conducted using EDI, a number growing 3% to 5% annually.

You're likely working with new retailers with ecommerce on the rise. At the very least, you're working with familiar retailers in new ways. Some businesses have experienced a business bump during the pandemic, while others have had to close their doors (either temporarily or permanently). Businesses remaining open are likely busier than they've ever been before.

Ecommerce shopping has forced importers and distributors to engage with retailers and consumers in this shifting retail fulfillment landscape. The necessity of EDI has never been more apparent between direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping, the explosion of ecommerce and sourcing/production changes.

Consumer goods importers and distributors need to efficiently bring in as many orders as possible while also eliminating the error risk. It would be best if you had a consumer goods specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. A robust ERP with built-in EDI capabilities not only improves your efficiency but enables you to reduce costs, improve data accuracy and supply chain efficiencies and ensure retailer compliance.

-        Reduced costs – Labor is undoubtedly the most expensive variable cost in your organization, and for good reason. It's nearly impossible to run a productive business without a productive workforce. Suppose you could position your employees for success by enabling them to focus on meaningful, productive tasks rather than manual data entry and validation? In that case, you'll be able to save both time and money.

-        Improved data accuracy – Human error is no longer a risk factor when you streamline and automate processes within a centralized system. By leveraging an ERP with built-in EDI capabilities, your data is accurate. With EDI tools integrated into your ERP, there's no time delay like there is with manual entry; the data is up-to-date at all times.

-        Improved supply chain efficiency – The right ERP automatically imports EDI orders as soon as they're sent. With that import, the system can validate the order, ensure the data is correct, and translate the data from the file into the fields within the ERP solution. Orders are entered correctly, and the system uses that data to ensure inventory is available to fulfill all those orders. This kind of automation and validation is critical for efficient supply chain management.

-        Ensured Retailer ComplianceEDI changes the game when it comes to staying compliant with retailers. Because EDI documents confirm valuable information with your retailers — inventory (EDI 846), purchase order acknowledgments (EDI 855), and requests for routing (EDI 753), to name a few—an integrated EDI system ensures that these documents are delivered accurately and on time. It makes those communications and interactions seamless and more efficient because all the data you need is already stored and saved within your ERP solution.

An ERP with built-in EDI enables greater efficiency within your business operations, ultimately leading to increased value for the enterprise. The software helps your organization build value by strengthening relationships with partners. You're able to quickly and accurately relay information and update the status of partners' inventories and shipments.

Aptean Distribution ERP has built-in EDI and has all the tools you need to maintain healthy and successful relationships with your retailers. Overandback, an importer and distributor of tabletop housewares, has been an Aptean customer for nearly a decade.

"EDI is vital to our business today," said Overandback CFO Glen Levitan. "Having it integrated into our ERP package is a big plus for us. To be able to seamlessly bring the orders in and processes and send documents back to our customers is critical. From China to California and everywhere in between, we're all on the same database for sharing the same live, up-to-date data."

The shifts in consumer shopping processes require a change in the back-end fulfillment processes; it all starts with the right tools and technology necessary to manage and ship high volumes effectively for producers, importers, and distributors.

Please reach out if you'd like to take a deeper dive into how an ERP with built-in EDI enables importers and distributors to overcome their toughest challenges while also supporting supply chain efficiency and data accuracy. We'd love to talk.