Do you know how customer orders are processed? Or how shipping information is shared? There is a good chance that EDI will play an important role in this. Yet a large part of supply chain professionals do not know this. EDI only receives the necessary attention when it does not work. This shows that the added value of EDI is insufficiently realized. In fact, EDI is often seen as a necessary evil. In my opinion, insufficient knowledge is the main cause of this. Research confirms this: more than half of the companies (59%) have insufficient in-house knowledge. Are you curious how EDI can mean more for your organization? Then read on, boost your knowledge and get the most out of EDI.

Lightning-fast and flawless

EDI is a kind of computer language. For most people, the number and letter sequences are abracadabra. However, the software systems of different companies can communicate with each other effortlessly through EDI. EDI has been around for fifty years now and is indispensable for most companies. For most companies (84%), EDI is even a business-critical component. That is not surprising, because it ensures super-fast and error-free electronic data exchange. This technical aspect means that the responsibility of EDI often (75%) lies with IT. In combination with limited knowledge within companies, the result is that EDI is not yet used optimally in many places. For example, no less than a third of the companies indicate that EDI supports less than 20 percent of the processes. That can be done differently; time to put an end to this situation.

Four advantages of EDI

The lightning-fast electronic data exchange saves you time and money and reduces the risk of errors. In other words, more efficiency. Reason enough to use EDI more. I'll list the most important benefits for you.

Enter new markets

New business makes everyone's heart beat faster. Entering new markets offers great potential for this. However, there is also a lot to consider. With EDI you can arrange communication with new customers or suppliers in no time. After all, everything is automated and that saves you a lot of work.

Agile business operations

Agility and flexibility are a must for companies that want to lead the way and keep up with the latest developments. I probably don't have to tell you that agile business operations help with this. But did you also know that EDI can support you in this? Flexibility and automation go hand in hand. Turning left first, then right is not so easy if you do everything by hand. With EDI you are as agile as a swallow.

Streamlined transactions

Do you want more financial insight? Streamlined transactions contribute to this. EDI also plays a role here. It ensures that everything is processed and reported automatically. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors. This way you always have insight into the state of affairs. Open invoices? You have them in a row at the touch of a button and you know which action is required. Insight into your financial position? Thanks to EDI you always know where the flag is hanging. This way you can intervene in time if necessary.

Focus on business results

In order to achieve business objectives, it is important to manage. Data is probably present in abundance within your organization, but try to structure it and gain insights from it. Fortunately, there is EDI. If EDI is integrated with your organization and in the chain, you have real-time insight into your data. This of course makes it a lot easier to manage business results.

Whether you already work with EDI or want to set it up within your organization, make sure you have the right expertise. It's nice when both business and IT are involved. It is of course a technical story, but the more you are involved as a business, the more value you get out of it. Of course, you can always turn to an EDI service provider. Whichever step you take, know the added value of EDI and what it can mean for your business operations. Then nothing stands in the way of getting the most out of EDI.

Author: Fred van der Heide, vice president product strategy at Descartes

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