Explaining what Commport does isn’t the easiest or sexiest thing to try to express especially in an elevator pitch-style conversation. Statements like “we provide EDI and data sync services” are most often met with a look of confusion and when we go home at night to our spouses, all they seem to understand is that we work with computers. (but doesn’t it just about everyone these days?)
I was once coming home from a GS1 Standards Event and upon reaching customs I was faced with the standard re-entry questions… “You say you have been traveling for work, what do you do for work?” My go-to response has always been “ecommerce” and this is usually enough detail to get me through, but not this time. The agent then looked at me and said “E-commerce is a very large field, can you elaborate”. Caught slightly off guard, I told him that I was attending a conference to “define the international standards for the electronic exchange of product catalog information through a globally distributed network….” I didn’t even get to finish my sentence before his eyes glazed over and he just waved me through with a muttered “Welcome Home”.
So, what is it that we do at Commport? We provide value-added EDI and GDSN data sync services. That’s great… but what does that mean? At our last staff holiday party, surrounded by our spouses, our COO gave a speech that for the first time, clarified how what we do affects every one of us on a day to day basis.
“We help to put food on the shelf at your local supermarket. We help to ensure that suppliers get paid. We help ensure that the product information that is made available to you as a consumer, is accurate and up to date – we help to make supply chains more efficient so that when you go to the store you can find the products and information about them that you need to make a purchase.”
For the first time, what we do here at Commport clicked for our spouses. We often get lost in the nitty-gritty details of what we do day to day and sometimes fail to take a step back and appreciate the broader impact of what it is we do.
Sure, supply chains existed before EDI and data sync technologies and goods were made available at stores for consumers to purchase. However, retailers such as Walmart have famously leveraged technologies based around EDI and supplier communications to optimize their supply chain management techniques. In the case of Walmart specifically, this approach to its business is directly credited with helping to make it into the world’s largest retailer.
For a supply chain to be effective in today’s retail landscape, it takes collaboration with suppliers and the implementation of information technologies to get it right. Using this approach, retailers can optimize their inventory, turns, warehouse management techniques, and vendor payment schedule while suppliers can provide timelier logistics services, accurate information regarding product availability, and electronic invoices.
Putting EDI and data sync technologies into practice is beneficial for both the supplier and the retailer organizations, but the real win is dealt to the consumer who can find the products they are looking for, the information they need and with those, can make the purchase that is right for them.