In all aspects of the supply chain, there is an incredible amount of data and information that is shared across many different companies. This information needs to be shared correctly to get the shipment to move as designed. There are many moving parts in the order process from the shipper to the receiver. The order needs to be set up and staged at the origin. It may need to move to a warehouse or it may have to be combined with another order from a different shipper. It then needs to move via ocean, air, or truck. Finally, it needs to be received in the quantity and in the condition that the receiver expects.

For each of these areas to work not only flawlessly, but also to work in sync with each other, the data must be there for each company in the supply chain to do their portion of the work. Historically, this data has all been entered manually, but as the quantity of this data continues to increase, manual entry increases the risk of transposition errors which can lead to a delay in the shipment. With the reduction in inventory levels that have taken place, many companies are doing fulfillment from inbound shipments to avoid a stockout situation for their customers. Delays just cannot happen.

EDI connectivity enables companies to transfer information quickly, and more importantly, it enables companies to transfer information accurately. The supply chain works best when the information is timely and accurate and can bog down considerably if the information is not. EDI allows your people to work on the multitude of “real issues” that impact the supply chain every day. They can focus on managing the customer expectations through driver shortages, weather or traffic delays, capacity constraints, etc., knowing that the information is accurate. Also, with everyone in the supply chain up to date on what is going on, as everyone has the real information, it eliminates a lot of the busywork that took up much of their time in the past.

EDI may not be glamorous, but integrating with the right partner, who can get customers connections set up quickly, and can manage the entire process, can have a significant impact on revenue and profit. It improves revenue by getting new customers on board quickly, and it improves profitability by accurately sharing information that helps eliminate errors in the shipment process. Managing your business is easier with good information. Using a managed EDI provider who can put this good information in the hands of your suppliers, your customers, and your people, makes your job much easier and your business more profitable.