Five Business Cases for EDI Visibility

May 26, 2016

Once you’ve automated your B2B exchange, do your functional teams have the necessary information to quickly react and solve customer problems?

Automating your B2B exchange can provide incredible business value, but automation comes at a cost since it can hide critical B2B documents from those who need them most.

See, your teams in customer service, fulfillment and accounting could really use this information to better manage your most important business relationships.

But reading EDI documents doesn’t come easy. So, imagine if they could:

  • Avoid new issues when business practices change
  • Eliminate costly errors before they happen
  • Manage trends in operating performance
  • Implement processes to enhance operations

If they have visibility into the B2B process, they have the power to ensure the right information is available to the right person at the right time.

Here are five business cases that demonstrate the real need of visibility into your B2B exchange.

1. Properly Handling Order Changes
It’s pretty common to receive duplicate Purchase Orders (POs), but does your organization have the ability to identify and handle a PO when it’s received more than once? Do you also receive PO Change Requests and does your ERP support the Purchase Order Change Requests (860)? Are the proper individuals alerted that a new change has been received?

Properly handling order changes ensures you don’t fulfill the same order more than once, and that what you do end up shipping to your customer is indeed what they initially ordered.

2. Accessibility to the Source Data
There are situations when your functional teams will require access to the exact data received, including pricing, shipment expectations and textual information.

Your EDI documents have a wealth of information that may not make it into your ERP package, so ensuring that customer service and fulfillment teams have access to that critical data will enhance customer relationships.

Here are some scenarios:

Pricing: This could be a result of pricing violations or when the prices provided by your customer need to be reviewed.

Shipment Expectations: Many ERP packages have only a limited number of potential date fields, however your customers can use a variety of ship by, arrive by, cancel by, ship no later than, etc. type of dates. Do you know their expectations?

Textual Information: Do customers include text notes in a PO that have no home when the PO is integrated with your fulfillment system?

3. Accessibility to Non-Integrated Documents
As mentioned before, some documents do not have a home in your ERP, such as Text Messages (864) or Remittance Advice (820). So, how do you receive these messages and who should review them? Are documents getting to the right people in your organization? How are they being delivered? Do they know how to read them?

These documents may contain critical information for either your IT/EDI team regarding changes in the EDI specification or communications protocols that if not followed could result in a disruption of your B2B exchange.

Alternatively, financial information related to customer payments in the 820 documents not delivered to your accounting team could result in countless wasted hours chasing down issues that your customers are telling you all along.

4. Gathering Related Documents
Often, EDI research requests ask for a package that includes all related documents so the reviewer has visibility into all business transactions.

But, what if IT/EDI coordinators didn’t have to be bothered with these time-consuming requests because critical teams already had full visibility into the transaction and are empowered to take immediate action on time-sensitive business issues? Just imagine the other projects they could be focused on.

5. Display the Data in a Format They Can Understand
EDI syntax was designed for computers, not people. Since your accountants are real people, displaying the EDI data in a way that can be understood avoids the need to train new team members on how to read and understand complicated EDI syntax.

Visibility into the health of your most important business relationships allows you to proactively address issues before they snowball into more costly issues, improve the overall customer experience, and significantly enhance your brand and bottom line.

If you’re struggling with B2B visibility or if you just want to explore what could be a game changer for you and your business, Contact Us Today!