Fulfillment: EDI and more

by | Oct 21, 2015

EDI has fueled retail fulfillment for a long time, and has managed well until the omnichannel era came on the scene. Many of the capabilities of an omnichannel leader cannot be completed by EDI alone, so it’s time for retailers to consider additional options.

The agile supply chain

Your supply chain needs to respond to quick changes, sales spikes and even weather emergencies and destructive crises. Agile companies achieve greater reliability by delivering complete orders on time, while holding finished inventory for fewer days than those companies with less nimble supply chain practices. But there’s no single way to become agile, For most, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you are on a path to getting there.

By being agile, you can save time, money and resources, and you’re better positioned for whatever the future holds. You can be more reliable with on-time fulfillment and deliveries, and provide customer-facing staff with order details so they can meet consumer expectations. Traditional supply chain practices powered by EDI don’t usually offer that degree of flexibility and accessibility. They were not built to manage the variety of fulfillment options expected by the consumer, but offered a solution for a simpler time when shipping pallets to the retailer’s DC or store was the norm. Unfortunately, their inflexibility is often characterized by low or no confidence in order completion across all buying channels, including e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and mobile.

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One way to become agile is to join a retail network that gives you flexibility. Cloud-based networks let you get up and running faster, because you become automatically integrated with all of its members. Best of all, since it’s in the cloud, as new features and capabilities roll out, you always have them available without making your own updates. Networks allow their members to control how they communicate and offer a single source for all trading partner communication. Your team and trading partners remain in sync on orders, searching for order details with ease and empowering fast, accurate order fulfillment with all the details available to customer-facing staff — or even better, the consumer.

According to a report from McKinsey, agile supply chains outperform traditional operations with 94% better fill rates and 23 fewer days of holding inventory.

Trading relationships reimagined

The traditional method of growing your network involves locating a trading partner, understanding their trading requirements, connecting with them and starting with manual transactions. This first step can take weeks with traditional EDI. But with a preexisting network like SPS Commerce’s Retail Network and the flexibility of new data formats, you can be connected and operating in a day or two. Networked companies experience operational excellence by being more agile, responsive and efficient than their competitors. They rapidly identify issues and are the first to respond.

I like to think of this network as LinkedIn — you could either build a network like LinkedIn each time you wanted to meet someone new, or you could join the LinkedIn that already exists, and let the network work for you.

As retailers and suppliers expand into the omnichannel, they’re finding their EDI solution may be only a piece of the integration needed. At SPS Commerce, our Retail Network allows trading partners to connect and transact business in the format they desire. Perhaps that format is EDI, perhaps it’s not. Either way, the network can fuel the partnership.

Connect to your partners and streamline your supply chain.

Connect to your partners and streamline your supply chain.

Automate your process through the retail industry’s largest network with EDI.

Contact SPS

Shivani Khanna Stumpf

Director of Product Management at SPS Commerce
Shivani's extensive background in shaping platform business models and her expertise in building networks make her well suited for heading up SPS Commerce’s retail solutions strategies. She is responsible for utilizing cloud technology and graph-based architecture to advance the company’s Retail Business Network for its 65,000 customers. Shivani also directs the ongoing development of mining the $1 trillions of purchase order transactions flowing through the SPS Commerce platform for connected intelligence and insights to drive our customers' business.
Shivani Khanna Stumpf

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