The next logical step along the path to digitalization for many companies is to leverage the experience they have gained in setting up the necessary ERP interfaces and processes to then in turn request that their suppliers communicate via EDI. The investments already made in constructing an EDI infrastructure are now also available for supplier integration. It therefore makes sense to use this basis in order to profit from the benefits of digitalizing supplier-side processes. For the realization of potential savings, incoming processes are a particular focus.
A successful strategy for supplier integration consists of the combination of different possible components. However, the core of every variant is the supply of a company’s own ERP system with valid EDI data since each processing of an incorrect document creates extra effort for manual reworking.
The digital transformation of logistics processes is frequently driven by logistics service providers themselves. Precisely classic processes such as transport orders and status messages serve to address the increased requirements of supply chain management (just-in-time). Here, it’s most important to save time in order to enable close interlocking of the supply chains.
The second level in this segment is to connect external warehouses. Very few companies maintain their own warehouse capacities today, but instead have them organized by specialized service providers. In order to make optimum use of these capacities—and in particular to control them—EDI messages tailored specifically to this segment form the backbone for organization of incoming and outgoing processes involved in warehouse management.
The elements of the EDI evolution described above can occur in different variations and intensity. In the end, however, this is always a one-dimensional view where an ERP system is confronted with a varying number of EDI partners and processes via suitable interfaces. This vertical projection level dissolves, however, if new parts of the company have to be incorporated into the examination of a comprehensive EDI strategy.