It’s been a while since Walmart first insisted that its suppliers moved to its digital order process. Back then the prospect of using EDI rather than fax or phone to place orders seemed like a technological hurdle. And in fact it was a significant hurdle that plenty of suppliers bucked against. But today Walmart’s tactics have become accepted and electronic order processing is no longer the pariah it once was. Now the retailer is making another mandate to its suppliers. But this time it’s not about what but where.

Mobile-appMoving EDI data around the globe is old hat to most of the folks reading this ec-bp newsletter. Managing the connections and translations can get complex and picky when it comes to the details of the files and the changes that need to be incorporated into translators to make processes flow properly. For most EDI practitioners, their roles are fairly well defined and fit well with established concepts. But as mobile devices take over I think the line between what is EDI and what is associated with end user interaction is changing.

outrageous billThere’s no question that the cost of EDI service has come down over the years. The availability of inexpensive Internet connections, DIY connections, direct transfer, and the shifting landscape of EDI service providers have combined to reduce the overall costs of transferring order transactions between trading partners. But has transfer pricing bottomed out yet?

Big-data-by-luckey sunEDI is a significant source of big data. Of course that's no shock to anyone dealing with data storage or a VAN bill, but when you consider the volume of transactions and the number or companies involved, it would seem that there is a wealth of data in those transactions. The data now covers (depending on the trading partners) every aspect of the order process, from initial P.O. to final payment, with plenty of status updates along the way. So, what can be learned from all the data? It turns out that when looked at as an aggregate and put through the right analytical processes, there's plenty to be learned - and predicted.

paper-stackIt’s fairly well documented that EDI and automated B2B processes can save money over manual, paper-based transactions. But just how much money are buyers and suppliers paying per EDI transaction, and are there ways to cut costs?