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.
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.
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.
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.
The age of digital medical records has elevated the urgency with which hospitals and other medical providers need to integrate all of their procurement processes, maintain control of the data and inventory, all while decreasing costs. In order to meet those demanding challenges, hospitals are being forced to adapt new best practices and technologies. However, the mere presence of shiny, new technology does not necessarily guarantee every cog will function as it should and the increasing need for information will be sated. In addition for access to desired information, hospitals and medical facilities also need the data to be in the right format, available on-demand and accessible to the right people.
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.
Compliance problems that trigger invoice deductions are often the result of communications problems between suppliers and customers. Suppliers want to reduce margin pressures. They often make small changes to integration processes. And business changes can make initial incentives counterproductive. These (and other issues) are usually unique in their particulars.
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.
Cloud computing and Big Data technologies have created new options for retailers to get their suppliers involved sharing inventory and sales information (POS or Point-Of-Sale) with their vendors. Everyone can get on the same page regarding the business initiative and bring benefits to both the retailer and to its vendors.