Editor's Blog

The Supply Chain is Everywhere

3d printed dressIt wasn’t long ago that Apple was lauded for it’s finesse in managing its supply chain. Getting its bazillions of iPhones from China to the US and everywhere else required some groundbreaking advances and a lot of tight controls. Those lessons have gone mainstream as the world took notice and of the company’s strategies and success. And partly because of that expansion, the supply chain now extends to areas as unexpected as social media.

A New Home for Google+

social-network-linksThere are plenty of social networks beyond Facebook. Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and Pinterest have made themselves useful but haven’t been able to gain the traction of Facebook. But Facebook is gaining a reputation as ‘grandpa’s’ network as it becomes almost a public utility. The younger population that was responsible for popularizing the site is moving to newer systems like Snapchat, Kik Messenger, oOVoo, WhatsApp, Vine, Tinder, and others that specialize in fast paced interactions.

Everything Is In the Cloud - Except for B2B transactions

scan-to-cloud-filingThe cloud and its advantages are everywhere, right? Every mobile device and every consumer web service is based on cloud technologies. Every day startups take to the cloud, building new applications, hosting data and services in publicly available storage sites and moving data between local storage in the office and inexpensive hosting. But even with all this activity and concentration on the benefits of cloud based environments a frighteningly small percentage of B2B transactions move electronically.

Retail by the App

retail appsRetail drives a big portion of the EDI traffic along the supply chain. Whether it’s online retail or brick and mortar retail, the issues are the same. But let’s face it… sometimes it’s just easier to find the product you’re looking for by using a search engine online rather than wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a big box store. Increasingly, retailers are supplementing the in-store experience with apps on shoppers’ mobile devices.

Integration in the B2B World

supply chain integrationLet’s have some fun with math. What EDI translator does your company use? For that matter, what ERP, 3PL, or other service is on your short list? Next, how many trading partners do you have? And finally, what EDI, ERP, and other electronic systems do they use? It doesn’t really matter whether you have the answers to these questions. What you would get even if you use the smallest estimates available is a very large number of permutations. How is it possible then to maintain compatibility and also keep up with the accelerated pace of today’s supply chain?

Beware the Shopper

online-shoppingOmni-channel has become a dated term. In this age of digital information available anytime and anywhere there are precious few shopping decisions being made without fact based information. A MasterCard report from 2015 shows that 8 out of 10 purchases made by retail shoppers are informed by some kind of digital information. With 80 percent of purchase decisions influenced by shopper research, their decisions about just where to buy is likely to come down to convenience and timing rather than loyalty. Omni-channel shopping is now just plain shopping.

What’s In YOUR Bill?

outrageous billThere’s no question that the cost of EDI service has come down over the years. The availability of inexpensive Internet connections, DIY connections, direct transfer, and the shifting landscape of EDI service providers have combined to reduce the overall costs of transferring order transactions between trading partners. But has transfer pricing bottomed out yet?

Clouds Defined

cloud in the sunlightSome time ago we sent out a survey asking about your perceptions of SaaS, Cloud computing, and Hosted solutions. Of course we were interested in EDI solutions, but the question is a generic one that applies to any application. The responses we received ranged from fairly detailed explanations of each, to "I don't know what these are." So for those who are unfamiliar with the differences, here is a primmer on the major differences and some discussion of the advantages of each. This falls far short of a full detailed explanation, but the basic concepts are accurate.

Take it EDI Easy

Supply Chain VisibilityGetting started with EDI may not seem to be the easiest venture a business could undertake. But regardless of the level of difficulty, it’s a necessity for a growing number of trading partners who want to transact business together. Take these steps to ease the ongoing efforts necessary to use EDI and to turn it into a performance enhancement for your operations.

Integrate Your Systems Now While Transaction Volume is Lower

retailIntegration1Any company involved in supplying products through the retail channel already has two things — communication with their trading partners and a way to manage their finances and inventory. These are typically known by their acronyms, EDI and ERP. But what many of the companies using these systems do not ahve is an integrated connection between them.

Editor's Blog

The ec-bp Editor's Blog is Scott Koegler's forum for communicating with readers of ec-bp.com. If you're involved in managing the supply chain in any way check Scott Koegler's posts for updates on significant events and an ever-evolving commentary on best practices in the supply chain.

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