Efficiency is the goal of any consumer goods enterprise. It tends to go hand-in-hand with profitability, and who doesn’t want to run a profitable business? There are fewer chargebacks or notices of non-compliance, and the bottom line remains strong and in the black. One tool that could be particularly valuable in terms of efficiency is EDI. Before jumping into the long list of reasons why managed and fully built-in EDI is a useful tool for your consumer goods enterprise, let’s backtrack just a little bit and talk about precisely what EDI is.
EDI stands for electronic data interchange. It essentially digitizes and organizes those formerly paper-based business exchanges and communications. EDI Basics defines EDI as “the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners.” It replaces older communication systems like mail, fax and email with an electronic approach. Email is digital, yes, and it’s also easy, but it requires a response from a person; EDI information exchanges, instead, are processed through computerized systems.
So why is this helpful?
“There’s a need across the board to be able to exchange documents quickly and accurately, all while adapting to changing retailer requirements as they come about,” said Ken Weygand, solutions architect for Aptean’s Apprise ERP. “This should take place without the need for third-party consultants or bolt-on software solutions.”
Speed, accuracy and efficiency are particularly relevant in a business environment that is extremely focused on the end-to-end supply chain. Consumer goods companies can benefit from a streamlined system that runs their operations without the need for disparate applications or bolt-on solutions by using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that has EDI capabilities built-in.
EDI solutions are worth the additional costs because the tools enable you to interact with your trading partners seamlessly and in real-time. This helps you increase revenues and reduce costs by meeting mass merchant compliance requirements. When built into your ERP system, it’ll also help you grow operational efficiencies, streamline transactions, improve collaboration and foster those ever-so-important trading partner relationships. Let’s explore exactly what this means.
- Operational Efficiencies – Built-in EDI software streamlines EDI transaction processing between you and your trading partners and provides ongoing real-time access to EDI transaction data and history. When partnering with the right EDI vendor, professional services and outsourcing options – such as EDI map creation and management – offer the resources and expertise you need to meet current and evolving trading partner compliance requirements quickly.
- Increased Profitability – Because EDI transactions, which are often required by trading partners, support compliance, it’s inevitable that EDI software will lead to increased sales opportunities and reduced chargebacks. Electronic transactions save time and improve data accuracy —decreasing error rates and reducing personnel time lost to investing and resolving error issues.
- Improved Customer Relationships – Faster, more streamlined interactions among trading partners fosters collaboration and makes information sharing through the supply chain that much easier. With EDI software, you’re able to increase customer satisfaction through reduced order errors, improved product availability and faster delivery response time.
One step beyond an integrated EDI solution is a managed EDI service. A vendor that offers managed EDI services helps distributors onboard new customers and ushers them through the testing and validation processes. Additionally, the vendor monitors the daily activities for distributors, quickly and effectively answering questions that arise, issues that occur and pricing discrepancies that may be reported.
Having an ERP solution with built-in and managed EDI capabilities, companies can focus on cultivating their business as opposed to the ever-changing retailer requirements. If you’d like to talk more about how built-in and managed EDI can support your consumer goods business, reach out to us. We’d love to talk.