With supply chain management globalizing and accelerating in response to consumer demand, companies have begun to search for different ways to cover the wide distances between partners and do so in less time than ever. The answer could lie in electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, sending information quickly and securely between links in the supply chain without the risk of non-specialized systems or the inefficiency that comes from using a variety of systems in tandem.
An efficient and well-integrated EDI system can help companies in several sub-sections of the supply chain. Any process that requires data to be sent from one division to another or securely reach a partner can be important, whether the information is financial or logistical.
One of the main components of a supply chain is its fleet of vehicles. Keeping shipments moving and on time requires close management. Companies can breed success in this area through instant visibility, the kind enabled by automated data transfers. Software Advice recently reported on the state of EDI in fleet management. The source said employing EDI is a way to fight the chaotic amount of information present in the everyday vehicle management process.
"Faxes, phone calls, PDFs, websites … information is coming from all directions," Terry Wood, a software manufacturer in the field, told the source. "You'll have a whole room of dispatchers that aren’t doing anything other than hitting 'refresh' on a website."
Wood told Software Advice that EDI has been evolving in recent years, with the number and format of documents available to the systems increasing. He mentioned that everything from insurance records to managing shipping price quotes can be handled through automated electronic processes, making sure that companies use less employee time on fleet matters than ever before.
According to H&V News, the building material industry recently reaffirmed the importance of EDI. UK-based building materials providers recently received a boost from their merchant organizations, which will help the companies gain vital global location numbers, a necessary step in beginning electronic trading. The move came with ringing endorsements of EDI's benefits from the parties involved.
“There is no doubt that EDI can help to speed transactions, improve accuracy and reduce overheads, and this lower cost model should encourage more businesses to get on board," said Howard Grant, manager of builders' organization UNIMER.
The power to speed up a supply chain can be invaluable, no matter the industry. Wherever there are supply chains in operation, there are processes that can benefit from EDI.