A shift for EDI
EDI is an often overlooked business process that rarely gets a fresh look, especially in the context of established systems like Infor VISUAL and Cloudsuite Industrial (CSI). Like most industries, however, EDI has undergone a shift as a result of competition for steadily dwindling resources and early-generation technology reaching end-of-life.
Visual South has seen this shift directly and studied the EDI market, culminating in a formal partnership with SPS Commerce as a result of their ability to meet manufacturer requirements working with Infor VISUAL and CSI today, and a strong alignment between our implementation and support processes, among other factors.
Here’s a breakdown of a few common EDI challenges we see with our customers and how the Visual South and SPS Commerce partnership is solving them.
Scenario 1: Manufacturer has several retail clients requiring EDI, possibly with a few others asking for compliance
While your first foray into EDI likely started innocent enough by going out to a retailer portal to complete orders, the process became much more complex and inefficient once you started adding additional customers and logging into multiple portals, just to comply with the unique requirements of each retailer. You probably have one or two associates who know how to process transactions, and if it’s not done properly, there are shipment delays along with chargebacks and fees.
Advancements in technology now allow for all of your retail customer EDI requirements to be met in a single portal, meaning that you only need to go to one website to complete all of your document requests. Features include:
- Dashboard tiles that tell you exactly what needs to be completed for each transaction
- Workflow tailored to compliance and document requirements of each retailer
- Notifications and alerts that tell you when you when an order has arrived or there is an action to take
- Retailer compliant UCC 128 labels and packing slips that you can pull directly from the portal
In addition to a next generation user experience, you can be up and running with your first retail customer in as little as a few days, and the price tag is very respectable. Gone are the days when EDI was a huge time and financial commitment, along with the complexity and process headaches that come with managing transactions in multiple retailer portals.
Scenario 2: Manufacturer has a high volume of EDI through one or more retail customers
You were able to meet basic EDI requirements by orchestrating EDI data into and out of VISUAL and CSI but, you’re missing basic user tools like dashboards and error handling. As volume grows, you have a backlog of errors that only IT can fix, and they are too overwhelmed to respond quickly. The business is frustrated by the lack of visibility, often unable to answer basic customer questions. Overall, the needs of your customers and business teams aren’t being met, resulting in frustration, delays, and chargebacks.
The best solution for high volume EDI requirements is automation. Unlike portal technology, which requires some manual keying into the ERP, automation allows for transactions to flow in and out of VISUAL and CSI without intervention, often based on the processes that are unique to your business. Features include:
- Dashboards that show all transaction activity with role-based and customer specific access to enable full and appropriate visibility across the organization.
- Exceptional handling and workflow tools that allow business teams to correct and re-process transactions without working through IT.
- Business rules that allow for the automatic transformation, validation, and enrichment of data.
A successful deployment of EDI automation typically results in a substantial reduction of errors, and the ability to correct errors and reprocess transactions quickly. It also gives the ability to access data to respond to customers immediately and also provide timely data to all areas of the business. It means leveraging cloud tools already available, instead of investing in custom-built applications and tools that aren’t strategically important to your business, or may be difficult to support in the future.
In summary, EDI has come a long way since the days of translators and in-house EDI staffing. Our research into the market, in fact, has revealed that EDI can be fully outsourced and expertly managed through a partnership that brings the right EDI and Infor VISUAL/CSI expertise to the table.
Please contact us today if you’re experiencing any of the EDI challenges discussed above. Technology demos are available.