Peak times can be chaotic for retailers. Christmas alone can account for almost 15% of all eCommerce transactions in a year. In 2019, sales during the Christmas period in Australia were forecasted to reach $52.7 billion. Managing an inefficient supply chain can be overwhelming at this time. Some of the main issues that businesses face are:
- too many orders to fulfil for existing staff
- increased costs during peak times
- delays in order delivery for customers
- not enough stock of goods.
The good news is there’s a way to help reduce these issues and make things easier for your business.
How EDI can help during peak season
Simply put, EDI (electronic data interchange) is the exchange of business information directly between business software. Think of a purchase order being created in one company’s accounting package, and it ‘magically’ appears in the supplier’s software; no email, no PDF, no manual data entry. Well, it’s not magic, it’s EDI!
|Buyer enters the purchase order in their software||Purchase order appears in Supplier’s software||Supplier enters the invoice in their software||Invoice appears in Buyer’s software|
So how does it help businesses cope in peak times?
Reducing manual processing
Manual processes are a major issue businesses face during peak times. As orders increase, so does the work for staff. Using EDI, many processes are automated making it easier for staff to complete tasks faster and move on to others. Research shows around 75% of businesses believe they can process most inbound EDI/XML connections without a human touch.
Studies also show that EDI can speed up business cycles by 61% and the order-to-cash cycle time by more than 20%. This means suppliers receive orders from customers sooner and they can process and deliver the goods faster. Overall, this helps reduce the risk of delayed deliveries and helps retailers keep stock at optimal levels.
EDI can also be used by logistics companies to provide updates on deliveries. This helps reduce delays and gives more visibility for their partners during delivery.
Improving data and reducing errors
With less manual processing through EDI automation, the risk of errors is reduced. Less errors means data is more accurate and is more useful when it comes to forecasting. Data accuracy is critical for predicting demand and ensuring you have the right stock levels.
Reducing errors is also important for avoiding ordering the wrong goods or amount of goods. These errors can impact your stock on hand for customers. In peak times, this damage your brand and potentially lose new customers. Using EDI removes most of the manual inputting making it harder for amounts to be incorrectly typed in.
During times of high order volumes and demand, processes increase. This means businesses need more resources, including staff, to cope. EDI reduces costs through the automation of business processes. That can be the difference between needing to hire extra staff to help process orders or not.
Another cost that increases as orders do are paper and filing costs. With EDI all documents are sent and stored electronically eliminating costs of printing and filing.
If you’re interested in learning more about EDI and how it help your business this peak season, fill in the form below and we’ll get in touch.