EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) refers to the process of exchanging form information electronically. In many cases, it has saves thousands of hours (and countless dollars) for businesses with scores of documents to complete and file.
EDI has been used in the past primarily by automotive and retail businesses, however in the past few years, the format has been more widely adopted. Manufacturing, healthcare, pharmaceutical, utility and construction companies are good examples of EDI clients.
The Benefits of EDI
Basically, any type of business that deals with large amounts of identical paperwork/form data can directly benefit from adopting an EDI solution. The benefits over using a paper system are clear:
- immense savings in time
- significant cost savings
- reduced drain on resources overall
- reduced error rates in data transfer (we almost want to say 'eliminate' here!)
- improved security of data being transferred
- reliability - you can have confidence that data is reaching its destination
Plus, with electronic transfer of data, the likelihood of typographical errors decreases, as does the increase in time having to verify orders that have been filled out by someone with poor handwriting. It all adds up.
Security of information is critical. The adoption of EDI infrastructure is also largely due to the convenience and the security of EDI. EDI used over a VAN (Value Added Network) is an even more secure way to ensure the data is reaching its destination and is being managed properly.
A retailer attempting to implement a “just-in-time” inventory philosophy (that is, cutting down on overstocked inventory and replacing inventory in demand) would do well to implement an EDI solution.
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