Electronic data interchange (EDI) is used in several industries to automate ordering . There are a couple of types of EDI to choose from: EDI webforms (where you do everything from a portal) and integrated EDI (which uses your existing software).
It’s not uncommon for businesses to start by using a web portal because all you need is an internet connection (no additional software) and it’s usually pretty affordable. However, as you more orders start to flow in, the more labour it involves.
So, what are the signs that it’s time to make a change?
1. More customers are moving to EDI
You’ll start to notice more requests to use EDI when more customers make the move. This can be a sign that it’s time to move to an integrated solution. Manual processing of orders is likely to increase so switching to integrated EDI solution will reduce your team’s manual handling, giving them more time to work on other tasks.
2. You’re getting an increased number of orders
If you’re growing your customer base, introducing new products or just seeing more sales (good on you!), the number of orders you receive is going to increase. As your orders increase though, so will your manual processes. The increased workload can get overwhelming for your team. So how can you tell when your order numbers are getting too high for your current EDI solution?
A common sign is having to hire casual staff to help process the orders you’re receiving. This obviously increases costs and resources, without making processes more efficient. Integrated EDI can help to automate manual inputting and reduce the need for more staff as your orders increase. As a rough guide, if you are processing 30 orders a week, you’re likely to benefit more from an integrated EDI solution.
3. Your customers are asking you to send them more information
You can start with very few messages when trading with customers using EDI. It could be as simple as just receiving a purchase order and sending back an invoice. If you’re using a web portal, this might not seem like much work at all. But what if your customers start asking for additional message types?
Retailers introduce more message types for a number of reasons – to get more visibility of what can be fulfilled, so get a more accurate picture of when and how stock will arrive, and to have more accurate, real-time information at their fingertips. As they add more EDI documents, like purchase order responses or advanced shipping notices, your workload will increase.
This can be a good time to switch to integrated EDI. It removes double-handing and allows the information to be sent automatically.
4. You’re struggling with too much manual processing
Are you struggling to cope with the amount of manual processing required when you receive an order? It might be time to switch to an integrated EDI solution. Integrated EDI significantly reduces the amount of work that your team needs to do. You won’t need to double-handle things – you enter it once and it’s automatically sent to your customer.
How to switch
Before switching to an integrated EDI solution, there are a few things you can do in preparation.
Check your software
You’ll need to find out what your software is capable of. This includes things like:
- The documents your software supports. For example, if your customer requires an advanced shipping notice and SSCC labels, does your software support that?
- The file formats it can import and export, like XML or CSV.
- The connection protocols it’s able to use, like sFTP or API.
We try to make our process as simple as possible for businesses to switch to integrated EDI:
Let us know what you want to achieve and we’ll suggest the best solution
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