Does this sound familiar? You’re a small or medium-sized business that distributes goods to places like Home Depot and Walmart. These retail giants tend to make some sizable demands when it comes to shipments, as do your other customers. Imagine if you made a mistake, such as incorrect data on the dispatch slip or a blip in the billing system. Now, your business has to spend time and money to mitigate the damages to the supply chain. This is why SMBs need to use electronic data interchanges, or EDIs, alongside their WMS.
What is an EDI?
EDI is short for Electronic Data Interchange, which is used between computers as a means to exchange business-related messages, transactions, or other bits of data. Using an EDI allows your business to “speak” with other businesses or suppliers automatically, thereby eliminating the need for redundant interaction, and minimizing mistakes.
There are 3 common forms of EDIs:
- Invoices: A form that is sent to request a payment.
- Advanced Shipping Notices (ASN): Used to inform a company how and when an order will be shipped. ASNs also use barcodes that identify all the items within the shipment or individual boxes.
- Purchase Orders: Used to initiate orders.
How Do WMS and EDI Benefit From One Another?
There are three things you should constantly seek to improve: validation, visibility, and velocity. With a WMS like Agility, you can accurately sort products, keep an up-to-date report on your inventory and shipments, and help you anticipate what your business is going to need in the future. You should already be using a WMS to streamline your warehouse and inventory management. Partnered with an EDI, you can also simplify communications with other businesses.
Some warehouse management systems can integrate with EDIs and give you even greater control of your inventory, document exchanges, and other data shared between customer and business transactions.
Using a WMS and EDI together also eliminates the idea that things get lost in translation. Real-time transaction processing is matched with simultaneous data logging, ensuring that you know what is in stock and can send advanced shipping notices on the fly. Your employees will be able to pick and pack from the correct bins more quickly with a WMS, while the EDI establishes greater data security.
The Benefits of EDI for Small Businesses
Small and mid-sized businesses often have less infrastructure than larger retail chains. In other words, you have more hurdles to jump over. Utilizing EDI solutions gives you a leg up and simplifies many processes. Here are some of the ways EDIs help your SMB and the supply chain:
Accuracy and Accountability
One thing that you are no stranger to is responsibilities. Small businesses require the staff to take on multiple roles throughout the day, which can increase the chance of errors. Often, these errors may seem small within the business, but they can be far-reaching within the supply chain.
Using solutions like a WMS or EDI means that you can eliminate many manual repetitive tasks that are associated with billing, purchasing, packing, and shipping. Instead, EDIs automate many of these processes, making it easier to fulfill orders and get those shipments to your customers and distributors faster than ever.
Do you dream of growth? An EDI can help, as it works as a centralized system for communication between multiple systems. In other words, you can add new systems as your company expands and never lose access to the information you already have. Since EDIs also produce more consistent performance, you have a greater chance of retaining new customers so you can grow quickly.
Disconnect leads to errors. Mistakes lead to countless hours spent searching for inventory or redoing forms. Employees get frustrated because they have to wait hours for an error to be fixed before they can fulfill an order.
Using EDI solutions alongside a WMS or ERP allows information to flow effortlessly from one department to the next. Since most of the data entry has been done automatically, there is also no time wasted with manual work. This gives your employees fewer minutiae to sift through, so they can stay focused on their duties.
As a small business, you often need to rely on larger enterprises to get your products on the shelves and distributed to the public. A WMS ensures that your data is correct; an EDI means you can link your data to communicate and collaborate. Everyone will be informed and never out of the loop.
Your employees, partners, and customers will all enjoy the increased transparency, especially when they can see all the information related to their orders. Pairing a WMS with an EDI also means low-inventory notifications and other reports to ensure everyone is aware when there is a delay or holdup.
Ready to Speed Up Your SMB?
Why does your SMB need EDIs? If you are looking to speed up transactions, minimize data errors, and build trust for B2B and B2C transactions, you are going to need more than traditional management methods. You need an EDI and a WMS like Agility from Wisys. Boosting the productivity and efficiency of your business begins by calling us at 770-955-3530.