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Supply Chain

How to use EDI to improve your business operations

In today’s data-driven economy, the massive amount of organizational information can easily overwhelm a company if proper back-end systems are not in place. From maintaining the reliability, accuracy, and rapid transmission of data to coordinating employees, multiple channels, and all players in the supply chain, it’s becoming increasingly hard for companies to compete without the right IT infrastructure.

 

What is EDI?

 

In its basic form, EDI (electronic data interchange) is a digital system that allows you to exchange documents and data—from purchase orders and order responses to invoices and payment notifications—between companies across a wide variety of platforms using an array of programs via a standardized electronic format. With EDI, documents and data are transferred automatically and almost instantly between business partners. Here are five ways that EDI can improve your business operations.

 

Save time

 

Traditional means of communication—such as fax, mail, and email—are sluggish and require an intense amount of human labour, making them error-prone. They also slow down every business transaction in the chain. By contrast, EDI is exceptionally fast, allowing companies to, for instance, search a database for products whenever they like, place their order, and receive confirmation at lightning speed. No more delays due to time zone differences, waiting to talk to a contact person by phone, time-consuming back-and-forth email discussions, and error corrections that can hold up the entire process. Instead of days or even weeks, EDI transactions take mere minutes.

 

Respond faster

 

In today’s post-pandemic world, customers are increasingly shopping online but expecting to receive their products virtually overnight. Companies can’t afford any lag time, as they risk losing the sale. Customers have high expectations and are quick to go elsewhere if they don’t receive the service they’ve come to expect, driven by marketplace giants like Amazon who have set the bar high for delivery speeds. By automating communications, EDI can significantly speed up the order-to-ship cycle, providing a leg up on the competition.

The ability to react faster can also make companies more resilient in the face of supply chain disruptions and uncertainties—something that has become more common due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. EDI can help ensure all suppliers are on the same page, speed up communication, and strengthen partnerships.

 

Cut costs

While some companies may shy away from EDI due to the initial set-up costs, this software solution could save them thousands of dollars a year in the long run. Electronic data exchanges drastically reduce the amount of money spent on managing paper—from the paper itself to the costs of printing, copying, and storing documents, to postage fees and labour wages. Not to mention the costs associated with human errors.

 

Reduce errors

 

One of the greatest advantages of EDI is that data errors—due to poor handwriting, phone miscommunications, documents lost in the mail, typos, etc.—are significantly reduced. Employees no longer need to copy information from a paper source to a digital one; everything is done electronically. EDI further reduces data errors by ensuring that the information is accurate and of a high quality before it’s sent, preventing costly corrections and lost business opportunities down the line.

 

Improve and grow business relationships

 

Don’t get left behind. EDI is quickly becoming the international standard, and companies that embrace its capabilities will see more opportunities to multiply and strengthen their business relationships, while those that don’t may be outpaced by the competition.

 

Learn how your company can leverage the power of EDI

 

Contact InterTrade today to learn more about how EDI solutions can help your business streamline operations, trim costs, significantly reduce errors, and become a trading partner of choice in today’s hyper-digital economy.

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