omnichannel retailAccording to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass two billion in 2016. Moreover, the company says not only will tablet users number more than one billion in 2015, it projects that figure will reach 1.48 billion by the year 2018.

IOTYou already know that IoT (Internet of Things) is a term that identifies items that have enough intelligence and communication abilities to send messages across the internet. Kevin Ashton supposedly coined the phrase "Internet of Things" while working for Procter & Gamble in 1999.

efficiencyBritish 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.

phone callsEDI 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.

complexityMany supply chain participants feel their operations are too complex for them to manage. EDI service providers offer “managed services” to address complexity.

updateImplementing 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.

fixing-exe-errorsPurchase 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.

logisticsProcessing 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.

outliersWhile “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.

saves time moneyThere’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.