Companies with complicated supply chains may be wondering what software solutions could help untangle their worldwide network of connections. Industry expert Steve Rees, writing for Supply Chain Digital, has a very simple idea for companies - change the way they exchange their information. A simple electronic document interchange (EDI) solution can help. Managed EDI, Rees stated, has the interlocked benefits of visibility and intelligence, with the technology linking well with numerous other business systems.
The many benefits of EDI include, according to Rees, superior visibility of all links on the supply chain. Performing B2B integration through a secure managed EDI solution inspires confidence in trading partners, he stated, due to the large amount of information that can be conveyed. Companies can harbor doubts when information is inaccessible - in a tough economic climate, deals where all the relevant information is easily accessible could be more palatable.
EDI solutions, when properly used, also provide impartiality in the dealings between suppliers, manufacturers and distributors. The information exchanged through EDI can be automatically entered into the systems as manufacturing orders come off the production or as shipments depart the warehouse. This means that nothing is concealed, and each part of the supply chain can operate based on accurate and up-to-the-moment data with surety that the process is progressing as stated.
Supply chain complexity problems
Rees insisted that EDI is important due to the many problems that can arise between partners in global supply chain agreements in cases of low visibility. Keeping inventory low, optimized to meet demand without exceeding it is the goal of companies but, he stated, it is much harder when firms are purchasing goods for long shipments where it is economical to purchase in bulk. In these cases, accurate and transparent reporting on the state of inventory and shipments in different parts of the world becomes critical. The process of getting goods to where they are needed on time begins with knowing their current status and location.
Not just retail
Every industry with a network of partners and shipments to make can take advantage of new supply chain technology. Becker's Hospital Review recently reported that EDI is a difference-making technology in the hospital supply chain as process. Hospitals need supplies quickly and need to order with complete accuracy, meaning that electronic systems are a good fit. The systems can reduce paper waste, reduce money spent on administrative services and make the ordering process more efficient, no matter the industry.