The modern retail industry is highly omnichannel. Everything is automated and the top priority is efficiency. As a result, fashion brands and other retailers are looking for the smartest way to manage their supply chain, which is often done through online EDI.
What Is Online EDI?
EDI stands for “electronic data interchange”. It is an electronic method of allowing different businesses, partners, and departments to exchange data with each other. Research has shown that its implementation can reduce the cycle of order to shipment by as much as 50%. Because more and more elements of daily life and business life are now automated, EDI is almost a necessity so that suppliers and partners can continue to do business with each other in an efficient and effective manner.
EDI has now been implemented by the majority of large retail suppliers. However, that does not mean they fully understand how it works nor that they know whether they have actually chosen the best system for their needs. Even though everybody is doing it, that doesn’t mean that making the switch is easy, not in the least because there are substantial differences between the various EDI partners. As it should not be seen as a cookie cutter solution, it is important to find a supplier that is able to meet the exact needs of the organization. So what are some of the key considerations to make?
How to Choose an Online EDI Supplier
Businesses should ask themselves a number of questions, including:
- Whether their solution should be managed or in-house. This determines whether the responsibilities of the entire system are those of the business or of an outside provider. Calculating the cost implications of both is a good starting point.
- How effective the reach of the EDI network is. Around 84% of retailers who use EDI do so for efficient transactions with other retail partners. Hence, the EDI must be able to integrate with the systems that others already use and it must also support any new partners further down the road.
- Whether it can integrate properly with the business. Doing so should also highlight where opportunities exist to further streamline business operations, thereby enjoying even more benefits. EDI is not just about better cooperation with partners, it is about improving the entire supply chain, which includes the internal one. Consider its integration capacity, its scalability, and the included customer support and customer service.
These are the three top priorities that businesses should consider when they are ready to make the switch to EDI. They will ensure that the system they eventually sign up to is one that will give them the greatest benefits. Because the ultimate aim of EDI is to ensure every partner, both internal and external, along the supply chain can work together in a more efficient and effective manner, researching the options by including all those partners is absolutely vital to find the correct system to implement.