Find out how EDI can secure data accuracy and revitalise your business

Knowledge is power, and this is especially true in business. During tough economic times, SMEs must ask themselves if they can live without the high-confidence data delivered by electronic data interchange (EDI).

Is your supply chain data accurate enough to support make-or-break decisions? Can your data help you spot mouth-watering business opportunities? Would you trust your supply chain feedback to show you potential bottlenecks and weaknesses before disaster strikes?

For businesses still using conventional paper, email and Excel-based supply chain process the answer is almost certainly ‘no’. In fact, data inaccuracy is probably costing you dear due to incorrect orders, persistent stockouts and order cancellations.

If all this sounds depressingly familiar, don’t despair, help is at hand in the form of electronic data interchange, which can deliver a risk-free improvement in data accuracy overnight.

What’s wrong with your supply chain data?

Why is conventional supply chain data so unreliable? The simple answer is human error. Every time humans ‘touch’ a document there is the danger of a mistake being made. That’s true no matter how diligent or careful employees may be.

For example, many mistakes are triggered by lost or misplaced documents, human calculation errors, data entry typos, bad telephone notes or even illegible handwriting.

When you consider the number of times a data point or number is manually transferred from one document to another, the margin for error is multiplied and your confidence in the information is eroded.

In fact, studies suggest that up to 5% of all manually entered invoice data is typed incorrectly. That’s a huge handicap for any company aiming to be more efficient and customer-focused. Can you really afford for 5% of your orders to be inaccurate or for 5% of your deliveries to arrive late? This level of inaccuracy not only has an impact on profitability, it can also fatally undermine customer relationships. This isn’t a good look in anyone’s book and especially not during an economic downturn.

How can any business expect to grow sales, manage costs and stay compliant armed with flawed data in such an environment?

The benefits of cloud-based EDI software

Research shows that cloud-based EDI systems can lead to a significant increase in data quality, with some sources reporting a 30 to 40% reduction in transactions that contain errors.

It also suggests that the superior accuracy of supply chain EDI leads to a significantly higher number of orders being right first time. This has a big knock-on effect resulting in 30% faster delivery time to customers. All-important business cycles, such as invoice-to-cash, can improve by as much as 61% when you eliminate time-consuming data errors.

Rather than relying on labour-intensive and error-prone keying of information, Transalis eDI cloud-based solution allows your computer systems to talk directly to your trading partners’ systems. This means human intervention, and costly mistakes, are removed from the process in one fell swoop.

Built-in EDI checks and balances

It’s no surprise that data reliability is one of the big benefits of EDI paper-to-digital when you consider how accuracy has been baked into EDI on three different levels.

  1. Automation: The first level is automation which, as we’ve discussed, strips out human involvement and preserves the integrity of document data.
  2. Standardisation: The second level involves standardisation. This means carefully defined criteria are set for both document content and formats. Strict guidelines like these reduce the chance of incorrect data being shared. Unique document segments are assigned to individual fields, removing any need for data interpretation. EDI chard codes are also uniform. This ensures a high level of consistency, even in businesses that issue large numbers of invoices.
  3. Confirmation: Last, but no means least, EDI solutions feature automatic confirmation. While automation and standardisation dramatically improve document accuracy, nothing beats a message confirming whether or not a document has been successfully processed on time.

EDI paper-to-digital solutions automatically generate a confirmation receipt for both successful and failed submissions, allowing for speedy resubmission if necessary.

Compare this with conventional document processing where confirmation may be sent out by email or worse – snail-mail. This approach leaves you trawling through your inbox or waiting for a letter delayed or lost in the post, ramping up your stress levels.

EDI is achievable for any sized business

For too long SMEs have discounted cloud-based EDI solutions as the preserve of top-tier companies, but with advances in technology that’s no longer the case. And during tough economic times such as these, when a data error rate of 5% could be the difference between business success or failure, electronic data interchange is fast becoming a necessity.

Find out more about EDI from Transalis. You can reach us on 0845 123 3476 or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), or email View our eDI Products

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