Survey: EDI efforts are growing in the supply chain
- Roughly 76% of 80 SAP Business One users surveyed by the University of Tennessee said they expect to see their electronic linkages with suppliers grow up to 25%, or more, according to a report sponsored by DiCentral.
- Inbound Logistics reports 80% of respondents said their buyers run an electronic data interchange (EDI) compliance program, which include penalties, and 3% have been fined over $100,000 for compliance over the past year.
- Improving technology and the need for greater supply chain connectivity is making such linkages more important, but also helping companies: 60% say data integration has improved their customer service levels, and 75% are confident they can process most inbound EDI/XML connections without a human touch.
Supply chain stakeholders often talk about the need for greater visibility, connectivity and transparency, but none of this would be possible without an effective EDI infrastructure.
The slow evolution of such infrastructure may be why visibility has been an industry buzzword for what seems like a decade. Even if supply networks decide to collaborate more closely, the first step is sharing a consistent stream of data. The challenge of doing this is captured well in a post by solutions consultancy Global Data Sciences: Data often comes in different, internal formats often requiring external providers to translate and exchange the information.
Full supply chain visibility, therefore, requires this process to occur for every shipment, production facility and supplier involved in the network. If a single company may have a dozen, or more, ERP systems within a plant ... imagine the scale of translation needed in a supply chain. For that reason, legacy software providers are increasing their platforms' integration abilities, through application programming interfaces (APIs) or other means.
The DiCentral, SAP and University of Tennessee report, meanwhile, shows the rising importance of such connectedness. Hard benefits include increased compliance ability, which may improve business through increased market access for suppliers, as well as soft benefits like customer service. Progress to connectedness may be slow, but it is certainly steady.