British poet once said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” However, when a mistake is made involving a multi-million dollar transaction, even a slight error could transform the most forgiving boss into an angry ogre.
EDI is, by just about any definition, a “mature” information technology. It has a long history, with origins in the planning in the Berlin Airlift, and was used in civilian businesses since as early as 1971, when London’s Heathrow airport started to use it for cargo management.
Purchase orders and a cacophony of other documents and forms that comprise your supply chain are the lifeblood of transporting your goods from suppliers to your customers. Fortunately, those documents are relatively simple and straightforward. They usually follow a standardized format and include information that has already been defined and collected. In fact, most retailers create the purchase order sent to a supplier as an EDI document via an automated function completed by the company’s ERP system.
While “outlier” is normally thought of as a statistical term, it perfectly represents an element of the supply chain that could be (1) physically separate from other elements of the supply chain; (2) culturally different from the rest of the supply chain. “Culturally” might include: language or work methods. Running an outlier tends to cause difficulties to the Supply Chain Management. Let's look at outsourcing as a solution.
There’s no doubt that the old cliché “time is money” can be overused in business, in the sense that there are certain areas where the maxim just doesn’t apply. But when considering EDI (electronic data interchange) as part of digital operations, the phrase could not be more fitting.
Implementing EDI, and subsequently ensuring that a company’s EDI remains compliant, almost always falls upon a company’s IT department, because all of the surface elements of EDI are directly tied to the company’s computer network. Making sure EDI actually streamlines order processing and delivery, however, requires a lot more than installing software and ensuring the network is running smoothly.
According to a December 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, Uber Technologies was valued at a staggering $41 billion. That’s an amazing statistic, especially considering the freelance taxi service owns no inventory to speak of. And, according to Ken Jones, the Director of Education and Applied Solutions at the Western Michigan University Center for Integrated Supply Management, if Uber plays its cards right, it could interrupt supply chain logistics in ways not previously contemplated.
Processing the order is just the first step in the getting products to their markets. Some will say that getting the order to the loading dock is the easy part while moving it to its final destination has become increasingly complex. If you’re running in-house EDI systems you already know that it isn’t the truck that is the issue but tracking the order through the chain of events between docks.
What do we mean by “deviating from EDI Standards”? Experience has shown that in-place EDI Standards, coupled with adequate “Trading Partner Conventions” are a very strong and robust set of tools. The Standards are “bigger than a bread box” and hold the possibility of solving any trading partner issues that arise.