In the current global landscape, the success of your company depends on how quickly your operations flow, how reliable you are, and how much you minimize the risk or errors. At the same time, the amount of information is instantly growing, and when your company develops, you have more and more employees to coordinate. Documents such as orders, bills, invoices, and contracts… the volume of organizational data can become a great challenge. The first step to overcome this situation is to digitize.
EDI services your company will find useful
By ensuring the swift and secure transmission of data between all business partners globally, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) provides your organization with a competitive market advantage. Before you introduce optimized software to your company, you need to determine the scope of services you are going to need. You can choose among multiple features, depending on who your business partners are, what products/services you provide, and how many documents you process in a year.
- Master data management (MDM) and exchange
This allows you to organize the process of data exchange and maintenance by eliminating chaotic email or paper communication that creates the risk of double data entry. Using electronic forms and workflow processes that are integrated with master data systems also allows the information to be validated at the start of the process – so you can unify master data management processes on different systems.
- Supply chain management
Supply chain management helps you manage the flow of goods. This solution ensures the secure and quick flow of data regarding the physical movement of goods, by using EDI messages and logistics labels. It communicates with various TSL service providers, allowing full integration with their logistics systems.
Thanks to this solution, you can handle the entire invoice-related flow (both electronic and paper) in a cost-effective way. Features such as a multi-lingual service desk or interoperability with global providers ensures electronic communication with all vendors and customers with the use of one solution. It guarantees that the invoice content is validated, and that the format is converted in the required way. The transmission process is fully secured, and you can check all statuses in real time.
- Legal compliance
e-Invoicing keeps your invoicing processes not only secure, but also compliant with new legal regulations. How? Firstly, it ensures the integrity of content. Secondly, it guarantees the authenticity of origin and legibility. Thirdly, it guarantees that your sensitive data is secure and archived for the legally required period of time (data retention policy). With the right provider, this solution should give you legal compliance in dozens of countries around the world.
- AP/AR automation
One way to decrease the workload related to manual operations is to automate accounts payable and accounts receivable Invoices should be accessible, trackable and reportable at any time and in any place. Automation works as a process engine which accelerates the acceptance of documents and collects data entered in the meantime. With the use of this feature, your accounting department can focus only on what matters.
Another service that could help you manage Electronic Data Interchange better is an instant access to a real-time monitoring platform. This way, you can check the performance of your EDI software. It may also be useful if the portal is equipped with a tracking feature in the shape of a web application providing a full preview of the current status of processed documents, and enabling you to respond rapidly to any type of document-related incidents.
One more service that you may find helpful is reporting. It’s good if your EDI platform can generate ready-to-use reports based on the data exchanged in the EDI Network, such as a comparison of the number of ordered products vs. the number of those appearing on an invoice. It’s also beneficial if you receive subscription reports via email in any given format.
Key benefits of EDI
Why are EDI solutions so beneficial when compared to paper systems? Let’s dive into the details.
1. Save time by making things faster
With the use of an EDI solution, you can significantly reduce the need for manual data processing, because all processes are performed automatically by your software. This makes document exchange much faster than with traditional methods such as sending emails. What is more, you can dive into the database to search for specific goods at any moment, as well as place an order and receive the confirmation in just seconds. Any delays due to different time zones are eliminated together, as are long waits to get hold of the person responsible for contact with your organization. Your transactions are realized in minutes instead of days, weeks, or months. Last but not least, you no longer have to rely on the postal or courier companies.
2. Costs reduction
All reports show that manually processing a paper-based order costs much more than electronic and automated processing. In the long run, it’s thousands of dollars you can save each year thanks to an EDI solution. When you exchange e-documents, you simply improve the visibility and speed of your transactions, while decreasing spending paper, printing, copying, filing, storage, postage, and other kinds of manual labor.
3. Decreased risk of errors and better data quality
EDI software improves your data quality by minimizing human errors caused by such elements as illegible handwriting, misunderstandings, lost emails, typos and many more. You no longer have to copy information from paper documents to the system, as the data is handled only electronically.
4. Improved business relationships
EDI is becoming an international standard, partly because it also helps strengthen market relationships with business partners, improve customer service and increase competitiveness.
For small companies, electronic data interchange is a chance for growth and better time management, freeing more valuable time for strategic tasks. Replacing manual and repetitive processes based on paper with fast and reliable software enables smaller organizations to take care of often neglected tasks and focus on further development.
Medium and large companies also benefit from EDI solutions. Using EDI software in cooperation between enterprises works as a kind of international language for data exchange. This means that EDI can work as a gateway to doing business with the biggest players on the market. What’s more, many companies even require potential business partners to use EDI.
5. Highest level of security and real-time control
It’s no surprise that traditional methods of data exchange, such as post, emails and fax, are not fully reliable. All of these methods create a danger of unauthorized access by third parties. With EDI software, you have a guarantee that all your documents will be delivered safely. Access to the EDI system has to be authorized, so you can always check who has looked at your database. Key documents can be also tracked in real time, at each step of verification, so you can make decisions and respond as quickly as possible.
6. More effective management
Exchanging documents smoothly and with minimized risk of errors lets you execute orders at much higher speed. Your company won’t have to worry about an empty warehouse, or shelves full of unsold products. EDI systems give you more control over inventory levels, more effective use of warehouse space, and lower risk of items being out of stock. Automated processing of business documents can also lead to less re-working of orders and shipments. Your employees gain more time to focus on customer service and marketing, which are often neglected when much paperwork has to be done.
7. Faster delivery
Thanks to quicker execution of transactions, EDI is a great tool for shortening the order-sales-invoicing-delivery-payment cycle. Shorter order processing and delivery time means that you can reduce your inventory levels and lower logistics costs.
Paper-based processes are outdated because of their negative environmental impact. Switching to digitized solutions such as EDI significantly reduces the use of paper and other office supplies. Thanks to these actions, your organization can manufacture more products and less waste.
The global trend of digitizing a vast amount of processes is becoming stronger with each year, so it is no wonder that EDI software solutions are becoming a standard in business. They simplify the work of your staff and save a lot of precious time and money. No matter the size of your organization, in order to develop, it needs a reliable system to process data. The sooner you implement such a solution, the greater your market advantage will be. Once you introduce electronic data interchange, it will transform with your company, because it’s easily adjustable to your current and future needs.
When choosing an EDI solution provider, you should look for one that will help you with all of the elements related to EDI – implementation, employee training, updates and technical support after sales. The best solution will be adjusted to your business goals, financial budget and expectations. It’s good to choose a company with wide experience to specialize in secure and versatile IT solutions, compliant with international standards and regulations.
Prepared by: Data Exchange & Document Management Team at Comarch.