Evolution of EDI: How Well Are you Prepared for Digital Disruption in Your Supply Chain?

    DiCentral's new study with the University of Tennessee – set to release on May 16 – was conducted to address this topic and more.

    It’s the fourth industrial revolution – an age where digital technologies are transforming the way organizations operate. For supply chain and EDI managers, creating a digital supply chain network has become a business imperative. But what does that mean? Where do you begin?

    It starts with using automation technology to increase connectivity among trading partners to improve efficiency and expand visibility. From machine-to-machine communication (such as EDI) and data analytics, to cloud-based solutions and mobile capabilities, disruptive technologies are everywhere - leaving many organizations scrambling to incorporate them  into their processes and systems, just to keep up with evolving customer demands.

    New Study Focuses on Automation Technology Adoption 

    At DiCentral, we wanted to take a deeper look at how supply chain managers are adopting – and adapting – digital tools to prepare for and protect against disruption.

    So we partnered with SAP Software Solutions and the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee to conduct a survey that included nearly 80 supply chain professionals across a wide range of industries. Our goal: to understand their current views on connecting electronically with trading partners and utilizing business-to-business integration (B2Bi) solutions.

    The full executive summary and complete findings will be released next month, but I want to give you - our readers - an advanced look at some of the high level findings.

    1. The threat of digital disruption is real. Organizations are rapidly embracing automation tools, such as EDI and supply chain analytics, as a strategy to protect and defend their positions.

    Supply chain professionals understand that to stay competitive they must incorporate digital solutions. New technology allows them visibility, real-time access to statistics, and better communication with their business partners. We’re seeing more and more companies embracing EDI, as they prepare for the future.

    2. Beyond the cost savings and efficiency, automation tools are measurably improving customer service levels

    Today’s market is fast – consumers want immediate gratification when it comes to the products they buy. With that as the backdrop, suppliers and their retail customers must ensure they’re in lockstep so products are always in stock. And companies are reporting that B2Bi enables them to achieve greater customer satisfaction, as errors are reduced, and they are better able to meet the customer requirements and business rules.

    3. Noncompliance to EDI and business rules is a big deal, which many organizations are taking very seriously 

    Suppliers operate in a world of slim profit margins and tight deadlines. Late shipments or failing to follow the packaging requirements of a retailer – such as a misplaced barcode – can result in costly penalties. For small and medium size businesses these fines can have a major impact on their profits. We found that penalties are more common than you might think.

    4. Organizations cannot afford to miss the wakeup call — when it comes to automation tools, most supply chains have a lot more work to do

    Nearly a third of companies told us that their trading partners are more prepared for automation EDI integration than they are. This is a problem because technology is moving quickly. Companies need to act now, or get left behind. Not only will they lose business to competitors who are better equipped but they could also lose existing customers if they can’t keep up with their demand, adjust to their specific guidelines, or make errors due to manual entry.

    We’re facing unprecedented change today, and every company must be ready.  Our survey demonstrates that many companies are moving in the right direction, but they need to continue to move faster. We’re excited to launch the results of the full study next month, where we’ll take a deeper look at areas, including:

    • Top benefits companies of implementing automation tools,
    • The challenges of implementing EDI/automation programs,
    • Further findings about compliance penalties.

    We’ll have advance copies of the executive summary available for a select group of DiCentral customers and blog subscribers.  If you’d like to be on our list for early distribution, please email team@dicentral.com.  The full study will be released on May 16 at SAP Sapphire and a summary and report will be available soon on www.dicentral.com.

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