EDI continues to be a significant part of a supplier’s life. It’s mandated by many of your retailers or e-tailers, whether it be for drop shipping product directly to consumers or doing warehouse fulfillment. However, over the last 20 years a major shift has opened up new opportunities in the industry due to the proliferation of the Internet. Business processes have changed because of the Internet and the speed of data transmission has increased by a 100 fold. The only thing that has not changed is EDI.
While it was awesome technology in its day, it’s expensive, requires manual intervention and monitoring – but most of all, it does not communicate information instantly. Unfortunately, real-time communication is becoming more and more important to retailers and e-tailers for things like Order Acknowledgement and knowing your current Inventory Balances as they try to be more responsive and profitable when dealing with their consumers.
So, if that’s the case, then why do you still need EDI through an EDI company? The simple answer is that it is has been in place for decades and retailers / e-tailers can still easily point you to it as a way of doing business with them. Unfortunately, the speed and compliance they will require falls entirely upon your shoulders.
What’s interesting is that a growing number of these retailers / e-tailers have been developing alternative ways of sending and receiving the same information that does NOT require the use of EDI through an EDI company: Application Program Interfaces (API). APIs are a messaging format that allows data to be transmitted from one system to another in nanoseconds WITHOUT those expensive EDI Document fees.
The reason for this is that retailers and e-tailers today are becoming far too dynamic to rely on an outdated tool to be the backbone of their business operation. Its simple evolution, the Typewriter was replaced by the Telegram, the Telegram was replaced by Fax, and the Fax was replaced by EDI. EDI is now being replaced by API, but you, as a supplier, have to be prepared to use it.
The good news is that there are tools available that take advantage of this new technology, eliminate pretty much all of your costs associated with communicating with your retailers and e-tailers and also even reduce the overhead and cost of order processing, adding profit to each order and removing the bottlenecks that keep you from growing your business with more customers and more orders.
Check out OPAL. The only truly autonomous (think Robotic) order processing fulfillment software solution that takes advantage of API technology, processes a drop ship order in less than 8 seconds, compliantly maintains all communication with your customers, does this all without any EDI cost and even simplifies the processing of large LTL, Truckload or Container orders. All of which makes each order much more profitable to deliver.