We have seen a shift in focus more than ever before on the challenges faced by the supply chain beginning with the pandemic and continuing today. B2B companies are not immune to the many struggles facing the supply chain today and as data emerges are realized many of these issues are here to stay.
As we analyze the supply chain trends and what this year and beyond has in store, we must realize at the root of these trends is a business’ need to adapt to the shipping and supply delays that have become more common in recent years. Production delays combined with increased logistics costs mean retailers, distributors and manufacturers are coming up with new solutions every day.
1. Supply Chain Flexibility
Supply chain flexibility requires data expertise and strong collaboration between global networks. Diversification of suppliers, production capabilities and transportation processes have all become necessary in the age of supply chain delays. Thoughtful analysis and design of a flexible supply chain will help businesses mitigate delays faster. This will mean companies will have multiple suppliers instead of depending on a single supplier. Retailers' and trading partners' ability to connect to their suppliers through a cloud-based EDI solution can help juggle their increasing number of suppliers more efficiently while stregthening communication and partnerships. Additionally, as many trading partners require EDI to help create a predictable and consistent experience, EDI is a great investment to support supply chain flexibility.
2. Diversified Logistics
Supply shortages, labor deficits, increased price of fuel and limited ocean freight space has resulted in increased logistics costs. Logistics trends show that importing and exporting goods is now slower, more expensive, and more difficult. Diversifying a company’s logistics and delivery methods is a solid strategy moving forward. Rising above logistics disruptions means increasing reliability thereby increasing customer retention.
3. Increased Inventory Visibility
With both supply chain flexibility and diversified logistics, the need for inventory visibility is the next important component. Having insight into where inventory is always is a top priority for trading partners looking to manage customer expectations and satisfaction in the age of supply chain difficulties. Trading partners need an accurate timeframe of when they will receive products before ordered. Cloud-based EDI and eCommerce software – like that provided by DataTrans Solutions – can provide visibility into product movements across a business’ supply chain which enhances efficiency for all parties involved from the supplier, retailer, manufacturer, 3PL and more.
4. Improved Automation
With an unreliable supply chain, efficiency has become essential. Companies are looking to increase their automation across their business to mitigate disruptions. Automation streamlines manual work, freeing up more time and money to invest elsewhere. One area automation is essential is in ordering and payment. Businesses are more and more turning away from traditional forms of ordering and payment and instead focusing on the faster and easier EDI process. Rather than submitting orders using mail, phone, email or fax, retailers can simply place their orders via EDI which will arrive almost instantaneously to their suppliers. Suppliers receive the order known as an EDI 850 and respond and fulfill the order with for example an EDI 856, a commonly used EDI transaction known as an advance shipment notice. It only takes a few minutes to order the items they need in the quantities they want.
5. Increased Customer Focus
The Amazon effect and eCommerce businesses are still strong today and its impact on consumer expectations has creeped into businesses as well. Business partners expect a seamless buying process, transparent order statuses and reliable delivery. Fulfilling these expectations increases customer satisfaction and retention, a major focus moving forward into coming years. Faster order processing, quicker inventory turnover and fewer errors all work to create a happy customer and all can be achieved using EDI as a service.
6. EDI and API Integration
Partnering with an EDI and eCommerce provider that also provides an API option, provides another element of growth. When used within an EDI framework, APIs can be beneficial to supply chains. API solutions can be effective additional channels for B2B information exchange between trading partners with compatible systems. Supporting EDI and API processes together makes sense. DataTrans Solutions, the leading EDI and eCommerce provider, offers a variety of EDI solutions, integrations, API connections and more enabling companies to connect, integrate, automate, and expand across the market.
As you can see EDI is a great option for supply chain management when dealing with new supply chain trends. EDI platforms are at the core of supply chain operations, delivering timely and secure data transfer that support collaboration among trading partners with data standardization. EDI streamlines and improves operational efficiency of business processes and communications by exchanging data electronically. DataTrans Solutions is the most trusted EDI provider servicing industries from retail, grocery, manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceutical, healthcare and more. Following the EDI supply chain trends shows us EDI is here to stay and is a helpful tool for addressing the challenges of our time.