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?

Chain of supplyIn a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, supply chain effectiveness is becoming a key success factor for the global economy. Given this reality, the findings of a recent Deloitte survey are rather alarming. The study shows that only 38 percent of supply chain executives are either extremely or very confident that their supply chain organization has the competencies needed today.

saascloudConfusion reigns over whether hosted or software as a service (SaaS) is the better choice for that next software overhaul. It doesn't help that so many hosted vendors are touting their wares as SaaS or Cloud. Of course, there's a reason for the blurring of label lines – SaaS is on an upswing in most markets. Put another way: everyone has their heads in the Cloud these days.

cloud in the sunlightSome time ago we sent out a survey asking about your perceptions of SaaS, Cloud computing, and Hosted solutions. Of course we were interested in EDI solutions, but the question is a generic one that applies to any application. The responses we received ranged from fairly detailed explanations of each, to "I don't know what these are." So for those who are unfamiliar with the differences, here is a primmer on the major differences and some discussion of the advantages of each. This falls far short of a full detailed explanation, but the basic concepts are accurate.

561-futurecrystalballYep, it’s that time of year…. time to reflect on how our predictions for 2015 turned out and to look in our crystal ball to guess what may be the compelling stories of 2016. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!

2015 was big for supply chains, electronic commerce, and all the technologies ec-bp.com readers follow. Around this time last year, I wrote that we’d see lots of interest in cloud technology, omnichannel consumers, driverless vehicles, robotics, drones, 3D printing and, most importantly, Big Data and IoT. In retrospect, that was like shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel. We indeed witnessed high levels of activity for all those topics, but allow me to make a few quick observations......

StabilizeEveryone is suggesting what the trends in Supply Chain Management (SCM) are for 2016. Most of the writers agree on a “core” of important trends (sort of like the  “motherhood and apple pie” thing. Then there are even some new ones that pop up too. I am going to bring out as many as I find. Where they are not as common, I will provide a link to more information. Read on and tell me if you agree or disagree.

big data posPoint of sale (POS) data has long been the domain of the retailer that collects it. It hasn’t always available – in detail, anyway – to manufacturers and suppliers that could use the data for such things as demand planning, improving supply chains to avoid stock outs and to better understand and act on buying habits so they can more accurately allocate advertising dollars. Of course, all those benefits would in turn benefit the retailers, which could improve planning and forecasting, reduce (or eliminate) stock outs, and even have leverage to enact and enforce service level agreements with suppliers.

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?

irrationalIt’s the start of a new year and once again, I set goals for the year. These are different than “resolutions” as I fully intend on meeting them. Some of these goals are the same from year to year: get in better shape, spend more time with my family, work smarter (not necessarily harder), decrease expenses, increase revenue,  be the change I want to see in the world,  end world hunger, get a super power... and this year I added a new goal to the list. I will walk 1,000 miles in 2011. Instead of approaching this goal rationally, like I’m prone to do for any project, I wanted to apply the ideas in the book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori and Rom Brafum. If I behave irrationally naturally, as the authors point out, I may as well behave irrationally in a way that helps achieve my objectives.

outsourceIn 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.