In our article on “EDI Goes Deep”, we first encounter the concept of “regional” networks. These developed over the years, but now that everybody is going global, how has the auto industry adapted? Like instead of everybody having to join all these regional groups, how have they “gone global” How do we bring these regional centers together?
EDI has been used by the automotive industry for over 40 years. The watch-like precision of a car production line relies on the lightning-fast and flawless exchange of EDI and other business documents between the car manufacturers (OEMs) and their huge supply chain.
Automotive suppliers are EDI veterans and have been into EDI for a long time. But it used to be relatively uncomplicated because of the industry's business model: just ship a lot of a few assigned parts, on time, without defects. The OEM ran huge assembly plants and put the whole vehicle together. But things have changed. Many first-tier suppliers are now responsible for “systems” (really sub-assemblies) and rely on lower-tier suppliers. As their role changes, so does the complexity. Let's look at a typical supplier who used to manufacture just rear-view mirrors.
The supply chain is really composed of several 'chains.' There's the supply chain we generally think of - the one that connects trading partners in order to move products from manufacturers to consumers. And there are the internal chains that move the various components of data between applications, departments, functions, and staff members.
Though the majority of our readers are veterans when it comes to EDI, there are always new implementations, new employees trying to get their footing, and even company management not familiar with EDI who are trying to understand what all the fuss is about when all they really want to do is get their orders processed. For those readers (and anyone else who thinks they just want to have a fresh perspective) we have a resource for you.