You Don’t Need to Wait to Implement EDI
March 29, 2023
Whether you’re a supply chain manager, merchandising operations manager, IT director, CFO, or other business decision maker, the fact is, you have a lot of projects to consider. What’s more, most of those projects are expensive and take significant effort and time.
When your business is trying to decide when and how to implement or migrate to a new CRM, WMS, ERP or other enterprise software system, you might be inclined to push smaller add-on projects to the side. It makes sense. You want to focus wholly on the projects that will require the most internal legwork, that are the largest up-front investments, and that involve the most moving pieces.
But here’s what you may not realise: you can do both. You can prioritise large-scale implementations and migrations without foregoing the benefits of add-on software like electronic data interchange (EDI). You can implement these solutions before, during, or after your more complex projects. And if you choose a solution with the right features and services, you can do it without over-extending your team.
The Downsides of Delaying Add-On Implementation
Let’s say you’re holding off on implementing EDI because you are already investing heavily in other projects and want to mitigate costs. If you are manually processing your orders, or have a sub-optimal EDI solution, you may be losing money even as you try to save it. When your supply chain document exchange is inefficient, you can incur hefty expenses like:
- Higher staffing costs to manage software and transaction flows
- Retailer chargebacks from inaccurate or untimely transactions, as well as late or incomplete deliveries
- Lower vendor scores that prevent partners from expanding their purchases from your business
- Lost sales to competitors who can respond more quickly to changing market demand
Getting Started Offers Benefits for Your Business
“Not only is the service more effective than our previous in-house solution;
it comes at a significantly more controllable cost.”
Avoiding costs is a good incentive for change. But there are additional benefits to your supply chain and your bottom line which can be achieved by implementing add-ons right now. Even if your larger projects are still down the road or are in-the-works with a far-off launch date, implementing solutions like EDI can have a significant impact.
Perhaps the hottest topic on the market right now is supply chain resilience. To create a more resilient supply chain, one thing you need to have is real-time visibility to identify potential issues and respond promptly. The right EDI solution can help your business achieve these goals.
One company seeking to improve their visibility and agility was G&J Greenall, a leading gin and vodka distiller in the UK. While the brand had an EDI solution in place, the on-premises system lacked data backups, transaction tracking and audit trails. This made retrieving documents for review or changes burdensome—which in turn, made it difficult to react to supply chain issues in real time.
By switching to a cloud-based, fully managed service EDI solution, G&J Greenall can now view all messages throughout its supply chain. Errors are automatically flagged and resolved before transactions reach the company’s trading partners. This makes the brand a more reliable, stronger supplier, and ensures greater agility to address changing market conditions.
G&J Greenall’s IS Manager, Pete Revill, put it this way: “Not only is the service more effective than our previous in-house solution; it comes at a significantly more controllable cost. We now have complete visibility across all our EDI transmissions.”
How to Have Your Software Cake and Add-ons, too!
Rather than being an added expense or burden, you can make EDI and other software add-ons into a competitive advantage, even while other projects are still in the works. The way to do that is by being meticulous in vendor selection and launching the solution promptly to maximise ROI.
What does the right EDI solution look like? Here are a few things to prioritise:
- Proven Methodology: If you are managing multiple projects, choosing a vendor with a documented implementation process can help reduce stress and keep everyone on track. The implementation process should also include training. This will ensure your team feels confident using the EDI solution ahead of time, so there’s less learning to juggle when starting with your new enterprise system.
- Plug-and-Play Design: If you finish implementing EDI before you launch your new WMS or ERP system, you’ll want to ensure that the EDI solution you choose can be integrated and migrated from one system to another without the need to fully reconfigure your existing trading partner connections and EDI maps.
- Cloud-Based Architecture: Choosing a cloud-based EDI solution can accelerate your ROI by minimising maintenance and maximising omnichannel scalability. Solutions built in the cloud also receive updates and new features regularly. Without these you may end up needing to replace your system sooner rather than later.
- Fully Managed Service: Right now, you may be handling processes like EDI in house, whether manually or by maintaining a proprietary or on-premises solution. When you implement EDI with a fully managed service partner, you can take that day-to-day burden off your team. This allows you to reallocate their time and attention to your larger projects, without diminishing your supply chain efficiency.
It goes without saying that TrueCommerce offers all these critical factors for success. With 25+ years in the business, we’ve developed cutting-edge EDI integrations with leading business systems like Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, and SAP. We also offer truly global connectivity through our commerce network of more than 180,000 trading partners connections.
If you’ve been delaying a new EDI implementation because of other projects, it’s time to stop waiting and start getting the ROI your business deserves. To get started, fill out our contact form today.
Share this post:
Stay ahead of the competition
Get expert supply chain insights delivered directly to your inbox weekly.