How to Use EDI to Streamline Your Shipping Process

Today’s consumers expect order processing, fulfillment, and shipping to be so fast that they barely notice it. These processes must be streamlined as much as possible to meet these customer expectations. Electronic Data Interchange is the best way to do the job. Electronic Data Interchange is a software process that sends needed business documents and data between different departments within a business and between business partners when needed, in real-time, automatically. Today’s shipping supervisors and warehouse managers can really streamline the whole shipping process by adopting EDI, resulting in a more efficient and profitable operation.

EDI Decreases the Costs of Order Fulfillment and Increases Profit

EDI decreases the need for manual processes. Its automated order processing reduces fulfillment costs by reducing the manual labor involved in order fulfillment. Fewer employees doing the same amount of work means a lower total cost for that work. Furthermore, EDI allows your fulfillment team to process orders much more quickly because it’s not limited by the speed at which human beings can do the job. This means that more orders can be fulfilled in less time, making the whole process faster and increasing the profit of your company.

EDI’s streamlining of the workflow also improves supply chain predictability. Remember, the cost of prevention is lower than the cost of correction. Because so much of the shipping process is automated with EDI, it is free from human error. This means less correcting customers’ improperly fulfilled orders and lower costs stemming from correcting these errors.

EDI Lets Your Business Scale More Easily

When your business depends entirely on human labor, it can be difficult to scale up your operations during times of peak or seasonal demand, or when your business is ready to expand. You need to find and train enough new employees to meet the need, and that inevitably takes time. Software, on the other hand, does not require any hiring or training time. You can expand the use of software in no time at all. Furthermore, quickly changing demands can slow your employees down and lower your operational efficiency. During times of high demand, your stock can deplete much more quickly than your team is used to. EDI does not have this problem. By keeping everyone updated about stock levels in real time, EDI reduces the chances of over-selling your stock, or of failing to order new supplies before they run out. Software is much easier to quickly scale up than people are. Your shipping process will run much more smoothly during scaling with the use of EDI.

EDI Keeps You Connected with Your Third-Party Retailers

Selling your products via third-party retailers can be a great way to reach more potential customers. But it can be problematic, too. EDI integration allows your business to easily share inventory information, sales projections, crucial documents, policy updates, and business strategies with your third-party retailers. This will keep shipping for your retailers’ orders flowing more smoothly.

EDI Keeps You Connected with Your Suppliers

EDI can help you avoid supply chain problems caused by slow communication or miscommunication. For one thing, it can help ensure that orders are sent out as soon as there is a need. It can make sure that inventory data is updated in real-time across all sales channels. Keeping this information readily available lets your inventory team identify which items need to be replenished in real-time. This helps you avoid shipping delays, product substitutions, and angry customers.

Furthermore, when your company places orders with your suppliers, the EDI software automatically translates the order data into a form that your supplier’s platforms will understand, ensuring rapid, error-free communication between you and your suppliers, fewer ordering errors, and fewer downtime while parts or materials are shipped. By keeping you well-connected to your suppliers, EDI helps you keep your supply wait times short, which reduces stock shortages and downtime, keeping your brand’s image strong, maintains your existing customers’ loyalty, and helps to attract new customers.

EDI Improves Team Efficiency

No matter what kind of business you’re in, EDI can help improve your team’s efficiency. It allows individual team members to easily communicate with other team members and keep everyone updated in real-time. It can even replace the need for other intra-team communication systems. And, when the sending of documents and other routine communication is automated and standardized, your team members can focus their efforts on the complex tasks that require human attention. A more efficient shipping process is the result when you have computers doing the rote work and the humans focusing on the difficult tasks..

EDI Can Improve Data Security

Any business involved in order fulfillment is going to need to handle a lot of sensitive customer data, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and payment information. Data leaks, whether from hackers or unintentional errors, can damage customer trust in your company, perhaps even fatally. EDI software has more security than most other communication channels because it is only used when needed, by the people who need to use it, across secure connections.

EDI Makes the Shipping Process More Transparent

By standardizing every part of the shipping process and putting the information in a central, easily accessed database, EDI makes the whole process more transparent. This makes it easier to find out what happened when something goes wrong and fix it more quickly. It also makes it a lot easier to analyze the whole shipping process with an eye to making it faster and more efficient.

The Takeaway

EDI can automate a lot of your shipping process, simplify your inventory management, and improve communications within your company and between your company and its suppliers and third party retailers. It can make the whole process faster, more efficient, and more transparent. Most importantly, it can save your company money, improve customer relations, and boost your profits. If you manage a warehouse or oversee shipping, it’s well worth looking into how EDI can help you do so more efficiently and profitably.

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