logistics1In reviewing the business elements of a company that interfaces with EDI, I am certain the most difficult to understand is the “Supply Chain”. The most common mistake is thinking that “Supply Chain Management” (SCM) is just another name for “Logistics”.

risk managementBusinesses must put more effort into pre-planning for business interruption according to a survey by Zurich Insurance and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI). They are concerned about supply chain disruption and term it a "blind spot". We are concerned too. Zurich recommends mapping out your supply chain and quantifying each supplier by financial stability, geopolitical issues, et al. If you have a lot of global suppliers, this could be a tall order. I think Zurich is sitting in an "ivory tower" and not a "SCM Control Tower".

distributed-computingLogistics companies are generally highly distributed. It’s the nature of the business to be in multiple locations, even if some of those locations are mobile or even not directly part of the company. UTi Worldwide is an example of a company that has found a way to expand to 230 locations and still manage its business.

1-2-3-4-5-fingers-on-hand1In every EDI application, knowledge of the business needs and functions is of paramount importance. If you don't understand a "purchase order" or a "load tender" or a "health care claim or encounter" you'll never be able to map the ANSI or EDIFACT EDI data format for these transactions. In my experience, logistics is the toughest because of the many, many unrelated (by ownership) parties who need to be in the loop.

prime pantryJust a few days ago Amazon rolled out its Amazon Prime Pantry service. We should have seen that coming even though nearly every other attempt at grocery delivery has failed. On the face of it, Prime Pantry sounds terrific for people who are too busy to go to the store (or just too lazy to get in the car). I don't have much doubt that Amazon will pull this off and be successful at it. But I marvel at the company's ability to do this on a national level.