8 signs that you should consider a (new) EDI service provider
Do you have a growing feeling that your company does not have an optimal solution for exchanging trade documents? Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s not working, and the situation can become confusing. In such situations, it can be useful to know some signs that you should act to improve the flow in your trading processes with customers and suppliers.
1: You still have manual processes for trade documents
Are you still held back by manual or semi-manual processes when it comes to receiving and paying invoices? Or maybe your ordering, order processing or goods receipt are based on manual or paper-based processes?
Manual accounts payable (AR) processes are known to be time-consuming for employees and expensive for the company. When invoices are receive by email or paper, the information in the invoices must be manually quality assured and registered in your internal systems. Your employees must verify information such as: Does this invoice come from a known supplier? Is the information in the invoice correct? Are these goods we have ordered? Who should approve the invoice?
Similarly, manual purchasing processes that are handled outside the purchasing system can lead to increased complexity and costs. Among other things, it can cause purchasing prices to be higher than agreed upon, either because the order confirmations are not validated against the purchase orders or because the goods are ordered at wrong prices. Incorrect shipments and inventory errors may occur due to lack of information about the goods to be received, and there may be delays due to order confirmations that must be verified before delivery but have somehow got lost in an employees mailbox.
In addition, manual processes for document handling increases the risk of errors and deficiencies in both your documents and systems. This creates unnecessary additional work for both you and your trading partners. In worst case, this may also affect the company’s compliance to regulations such as the Accounting Act.
Also read: How does EDI work?
2: You constantly experience errors and missing information
Do you experience lots of errors and missing information in the trade documents your receive, even though you have adopted EDI? Usually, this comes in the form of a) missing references and order numbers, b) information in the invoices are placed in the wrong place and thus not received in the accounting system, or c) invoices that are not received at all. In such cases you should consider changing to a new service provider that is able to understand you challenges and offers functionality for controlling and correcting the received documents. At Logiq, we call this service Logiq Document Control.
3: Your trading partners demand EDI
More and more customers request, or even demand, that their suppliers use EDI for communication in order to automate and streamline trade processes and to improve the quality of the collaboration. Such demands will be more common, and there is no reason to wait with implementation of EDI to support such demands. Evaluate possible EDI service providers and team up with one that can help you satisfy your customers.
4: You are not satisfied with the existing service
Let’s say you already have an EDI service provider. You probably pay well for this service, but are still not satisfied with the service you receive. It’s not always straight forward to pinpoint what is missing. Maybe you feel that the solutions they deliver are not good enough, or maybe the services don’t cover your needs? Perhaps the EDI service provider don’t understand your company’s specific needs? Or, maybe the service provider was a perfect match back in the days when you focused on sending electronic invoices, but now that you try to establish EDI for other processes such as purchasing you feel that they don’t have the necessary competency? In such situations you should trust your gut feeling and evaluate whether other providers are a better match for your business.
5: Your internal EDI solutions are getting increasingly complex
Until now, you have had your own internal EDI support in the company. This has included both hardware, software, integration competency and support. However, you experience that these processes are not efficient enough and do not scale well enough with your needs. As you integrate with more trading partners, even international, new competencies are required – in addition to an increased cost of operating and managing the internal solutions. These problems will not diminish as time goes by, and they are clear signs that you should consider outsourcing your EDI to a service provider.
Also read: Why do I need an EDI service provider?
6: You are planning to switch ERP systems
For various reasons, you need a new and better ERP system and think it would be smart and cost-saving to establish EDI or switch to a new EDI provider with better and more tailored solutions for your business at the same time. This is a good time to evaluate the various providers in the market, and establish contact to get advice and guidance on which solutions they recommend. Perhaps you should also establish support for processes that are not currently covered by the existing provider? Through a thorough evaluation process and dialogue, you will be able to end up with both a new ERP system and an improved EDI service.
7: You are planning to rapidly scale your business
Your company is thriving, and you plan on rapid expansion, perhaps even internationally. However, you are uncertain whether your purchasing- or order management processes will scale – as manual and labor-intensive processes often impede rapid scaling. This is where EDI can help you: digitize and automate trade processes with your customers and suppliers. This is a good time to team up with an EDI service provider that can offer services suitable for your business – both in it’s current situation and through a period of rapid growth. This way, you have one less thing to worry about as you gain new market shares.
8: Your company wants environmental certifications
You want to participate in the green shift, and you also want environmental certifications for your company. This will make your company more attractive and competitive in a market where environmental focus is increasingly important. A fairly simple, but reasonable, action to take is to use EDI for communication with your customers and suppliers in order to reduce the use of paper. Your trading partners will probably be more satisfied with electronic communication, and you will reap the benefits of more automation and lower costs.
Think wisely about what you want for your company in the years to come. Do you want to be in the best possible position for further competition, collaboration with trading partners, or attracting investors? Then you should start evaluating how you can streamline and automate your trading processes with an EDI service provider that can offer you the service you deserve.