Small Business EDI IntegrationSource: DiCentral
EDI adoption often happens in stages. The vast majority of small businesses are forced into adopting EDI by a large retailer. This "mandate" brings the small business into an often confusing and technically difficult world where the promised financial benefits of "paper-less" transactions can be difficult to quantify and even more difficult to realize. This is phase one of EDI adoption and is often characterized by manual processes. As the business grows, it invariably enters Phase 2 of EDI adoption. In this "growth phase" the small business begins to process more and more EDI transactions and begins to realize that a critical deficiency exists in the receiving of EDI data from customers, printing that EDI data in the form of reports and rekeying that EDI data into the in-house accounting or ERP system by employees dedicated to this task.
At Phase 3 of EDI adoption the question of data integration, specifically EDI integration, becomes a key goal of the small business. Data integration is a brave new world of ultimate efficiency: increased inventory turns and reduced labor costs that every business aspires to achieve. The cost savings can be dramatic even for a modest operation that would ordinarily never consider a data integration solution. Realizing this utopia of paperless transaction processing, however, is fraught with dangers and has traditionally been costly and reserved for the financially wealthy businesses of the world. What's a small business to do?