Breaking the myth of a win-win supply chain that benefits consumers, retailers, suppliers and…you

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Ripe pomegranate fruit on the tree branch

Most companies in today’s market already have to comply with systems implemented by their upstream partners. This is more than mere order processing. It’s revolutionary streamlined order processing with a critical focus on the quality of data, the accuracy and frequency of data, avoiding data mismatches, omissions and plain old human error.

There’s no doubt the implementation of complex systems with easy-to-use front ends saves millions, perhaps billions worldwide, every year. But there’s a vast untapped market, a tree full of fruit, in the downstream process, with surprisingly almost no one picking the fruit right now.

As consumers demand more, and rightly so, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers must keep up. We must work harder, become more connected, and deliver better results. Lost orders create lost reputation. Lost reputation fuels lost orders. It’s well documented how a consumer who feels let down will tell many more people than about all the occasions you got it right. If they tell one person at home, fifty people at work, or thousands via social media, the potential damage to your reputation can happen in an instant and be remembered forever.

To help avoid this, a quick win for you and your colleagues would be the implementation of downstream EDI. This means getting your suppliers on board with an efficient order management inventory, stock, invoicing, reorder levels, and taking the pressure off.

The strategy must start at the top of the tree. At corporate level. Your IT department probably already has the facts and figures how EDI could be or should be evolving within your company. Have they communicated this to you? If not, why not?

The rate of EDI uptake should be 100% simply for the far-reaching benefits, for the simplicity, for the cost savings and much more. But in reality, the figure is much closer to 5%. Just 5%!

That’s only 5% of companies taking advantage of the vertically integrated activity, the upstream, midstream and downstream processes implementing the vital accurate information sharing between the necessary segments within the supply chain. It’s so easy to see how this technology will help in almost any industry, for almost any company.

If it was possible to set a challenge, to motivate change and co-ordinate the flow of information and goods like never before, then this would be for every company to implement end-to-end EDI just like the motor industry did 30 years ago. What will it take to achieve this goal? What would it take to go back to the roots and raw materials right through to the manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, for your company? Wouldn’t it make life so much easier to have all the fruit in the basket already picked and ready to eat?

One thing’s for sure – consumers won’t stop buying goods, but how you manage your total supply chain will make the market share difference in the long term. We must beat the complacency. We must challenge the status quo. Customers demand better service and your staff deserve the best tools to deliver exceptional customer service at every stage of the buying cycle.

A one-size-fits-all no longer works. To be ahead of your competition, meeting the needs of bricks and mortar customers as well as today’s online shoppers, you must evolve. EDI has evolved bringing more choices and better options. It’s not just about managing invoicing, EDI takes control of your company’s performance, reduces out-of-stock instances, improves stock turn efficiency and provides key insights within your supply chain. You gain the tools to revisit your processes, refine underperforming areas and review changes. A true success formula. You’ll have the up to date KPIs to understand the real cost per order.

This will give you the knowledge from the ground level upwards to provide a better service for your consumers, retailers and suppliers. That’s the win-win formula you can achieve with EDI.

If this article has made you question your supply chain management processes or you’re intrigued how EDI will help your company, please contact me on tony.engleman@advancefirst.com.

AdvanceFirst Technology specialises in discussing and implementing EDI software for companies of any size. For interested parties, we can arrange an outline survey and cost benefit indication or visit to discuss matters more fully at no cost to you. Our solutions are based on providing you with your own portal that your suppliers will use. If you are already using EDI with your customers, we can still facilitate EDI solutions independent of your current EDI system to make you 100% EDI enabled with your suppliers through our comprehensive easy-to-use web solution.

AdvanceFirst Technologies

AdvanceFirst Technologies

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About AdvanceFirst

Since 2003 AdvanceFirst Technologies Ltd has rapidly become one of the most successful specialist EDI companies in the UK. With over 300 clients in more than 20 countries and five distributors around the world we now also have an established global presence.

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