If data is the new oil, then EDI is our most untapped valuable resource.

EDI automation is a critical and often overlooked strategy for increasing supply chain visibility.
EDI automation is a critical and often overlooked strategy for increasing supply chain visibility.

By Michael Rabinowitz, Founder and CEO of CoEnterprise

2020 was a year filled with black swan disruptions. Between the rapid shift to remote work, supplier shortages, and large-scale supply chain chaos, organizations relying on archaic processes and technology finally saw the dire need to upgrade. Fast-forward to 2021, and we’re now undergoing one of the largest digital transformations our world has ever seen.

From corporate offices to the factory floor, teams are turning to digitization and automation to increase resiliency and improve performance. Yet despite the increased investments in digitization, very few organizations are automating their electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions. In fact, industry research shows that 40% of companies today lack the resources and technology needed to manage their EDI. This gap is costing them time, money, and resources.

EDI automation is a critical and often overlooked strategy for increasing supply chain visibility, improving partner collaboration, and discovering problems before they occur.

Data Centralization for Quick Action.

When an organization is processing hundreds to thousands of purchase orders, exception information, and other key data points, things can get messy. Without the proper tools, it can be overwhelmingly difficult to dig through files, manually search through complex documents, resolve purchase-order discrepancies and interpret partner agreements—all on top of trying to run a business.

And since much of this data sifting is handled by EDI teams or IT staff, it can be extremely time consuming and error prone. On average, EDI teams spend 50% of their time responding to tactical, but necessary, information requests.

Another core problem with outdated EDI models is the lack of data centralization. Information lives in siloes which limits internal and supply chain collaboration.  

With EDI automation, data can be presented in a simplified way from anywhere and on any device, alleviating stress on IT resources, and enabling your business to operate faster and smarter. Users across the supply chain are able to search and view their critical EDI and supply chain data as easily comprehensible business documents, track and follow transactions through timeline views, view dashboards for easy information, faster error resolution, and strategic decision-making.

The Power of Real-Time Data.

Without access to the supply chain’s ever-evolving data, companies lack real-time visibility—and without that, there’s no solid foundation for decision-making on the fly. This makes it harder to prevent costly errors and address exceptions. Businesses that rely on data management tools to make decisions are 58% more likely to beat their revenue goals – but what really makes the difference is access to real-time information.

The right EDI automation solution can allow for up-to-the-minute business data and reflect changes immediately within the system—allowing you to be proactive when it comes to monitoring business trends, managing key priorities, and building transparency within your organization. Truly real-time data helps provide a true view of your business, empowering you to gain faster insights and make better-informed decisions. Tracking data in this way allows businesses to adapt and overcome challenges as they happen, instead of spending lengthy hours trying to find the root of an issue—like locating the origin point of a purchase order discrepancy. The ability to make informed, split-second decisions puts organizations ahead of the competition—with many companies to this day making pivotal choices based on data that’s been outdated by hours, days, or even weeks.

The need for up-to-the-minute business data has never been more critical than now. As shipping expectations increase, so does the price of not meeting them. By leveraging data analytics and EDI automation, teams are able to avoid these fines by instantly tracking change orders, reconciling invoices and streamlining document management.

EDI Automation: A Step Toward Resiliency.  

EDI automation enables businesses to adapt, survive, grow and scale. By reducing costs associated with manual EDI processes, eliminating chargeback fees and improving efficiency, organizations can put their time, money, and energy into more strategic business operations.

When making the decision to automate your EDI approach, it is crucial that organizations find a best-fit solution that allows them to overcome the pain points that are specific to their business and employee needs. The technology you implement should be able to receive all information directly and automatically, like an ERP platform. Users should be able to navigate throughout the system effortlessly, without relying on help from IT. Communications with partners should be seamless, allowing for issues to be resolved instantaneously.

The harsh reality is that supply chain complexities will continue, and retailers’ shipping expectations will only become more stringent. To rise above the competition and to grow as a company, organizations must leverage powerful automation tools to pave the way to a brighter future—one where time is spent on strategic, revenue generating projects, not on manual and tedious tasks.

michael rabinowitz coenterprise
Michael Rabinowitz

About Michael Rabinowitz
Michael Rabinowitz is the Founder and CEO of CoEnterprise. He is responsible for leading the development and execution of CoEnterprise’s software and services portfolio. He also helps define CoEnterprise’s technology innovation strategy to transform how people connect, communicate, and collaborate through integrated software platforms and architectures.