Supply chain management refers to the proper handling of a company’s total production flow of brand products. The process starts with the procurement of materials that continue to deliver the finished goods to the customers. This corporate enterprise generally maintains a network of reliable suppliers and trading partners who deal directly with the customers. The suppliers provide the necessary raw materials for the company to manufacture its brand products. After the completion of the manufacturing process, the goods are sent to the trading partner to sell to the end-user. Typical supply chain management systems consist of the following activities-
- Planning, procure and manage relevant resources necessary to meet the customers’ demand for the company’s products,
- Selecting the right suppliers who will provide the necessary materials for manufacturing the company’s brand products,
- Organizing the manufacturing activities to accept the materials, make the products, test their quality, and ship the goods
- Delivering the products to end-users which involves the coordination of orders, scheduling the transport, dispatching the goods and preparing invoices, and
- Returning sub-standard, defective, or excess products to the company which the customers do not want.
EDI supply chain management systems – An insight
Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the real-time exchange of commercial documents and information between companies via computers. The corporate enterprises implementing this technology first have to agree on adopting a standardized format and secure messaging protocols. These normally include:
- Applicability Statement 1(AS1),
- Applicability Statement 2(AS2),
- Applicability Statement 3(AS3),
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP),
- Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol, and
- Odette File Transfer Protocol (OFTP).
Supply chain management solutions using EDI technology enable the companies to control, synchronize and streamline critical supply chain operations. These include executing purchase orders, generating customer invoices, issuing advance shipping notices, analyzing shipping authorization, and accepting shipping acknowledgments.
The advantages of operating the latest EDI supply chain management platforms for manufacturing companies are as follows:
- Automates critical internal management processes for generating, dispatching, and recording business transactions,
- Minimizes procurement errors during the generation and dispatch of these commercial transactions,
- Saves costs resulting from fines due to service-level agreement (SLA) violations by streamlining the documentation process,
- Boosts the processing time it takes to execute business transactions to reduce order-to-shipment time cycles,
- Eradicates the need for unnecessary manual tasks, and
- Enhances data security by ensuring the information exchange between trading partners is through a secure connection.
Installing and operating suitable EDI supply chain management solutions enables companies to boost their supply chains’ internal efficiency. The platform improves business communications between their trading partners and automates daily critical processes. The corporate enterprises are then in a position to provide high-quality products to their customers at reasonable prices. This enhances the companies’ competitive edge in the market over its peers. However, the software platform they choose should be user-friendly and compatible enough to integrate into their present IT infrastructure. It should be even flexible and adopt the latest technology popular in the market today. Above all, the software solution’s price should within the companies’ budget so that they face no financial pressure.