Jaakko Elovaara 08.01.2018 8 min read

How to tackle EDI supply chain management challenges?

“We have decided to put the existing integration efforts on hold and rely on this new approach.“ We hear this message very frequently from our customers that are industry leading companies.

What is happening?

EDI and business-to-business integration solutions are typically considered very sticky and represent long-term service relationships that have been deployed in EDI-heavy industries.

Global trade transformation is happening. Incumbent services from the old days are not able to meet demands and serve their users anymore. EDI is not just EDIFACT or ANSI X12 today, but it can be any format, message type, endpoint or protocol, and it must be as real-time as possible with shared process visibility.

In the global corporate world, there is a strong trend getting ready for the digital change and transformation.

In practice, CEOs, management teams, board compositions, key people, and key contributors need to drive the change. This also means that they need to understand that it is necessary to update the infrastructure, the technology, the tools, and even the strategies.

The execution must happen step by step by mitigating risks, fine-tuning direction, and enabling measurable progress.

Agility and manageable speed

The operator (e.g., retailer, manufacturer, freight forwarder, logistics carrier or bank) requires a service that enables their operations to satisfy their end customers. Too often, the old way, connecting some data flows over time with open checks and unreliable timelines, is not good enough anymore.

“We must deliver integrations fast”, says the global head of operations at one of our global customer’s HQ. It sounds simple.

Growing backlogs

Traditionally strong industry stakeholders in global trade and logistics have seen newcomers entering the market and leveraging modern technologies which enable better customer experience. In B2B, the Amazon experience is not quite real life yet, and it will take some time to get there. Eventually, it will happen.

EDI and integration backlogs are growing. There is the high cost associated with deploying the solutions, but even more costly are those customers and business opportunities that lose patience and choose a competitor to partner with over the slow-moving player.

Data quality issues

Data integrity is the maintenance of, and the assurance of the accuracy and consistency of, data over its entire life-cycle, and is a critical aspect to the design, implementation, and usage of any system which stores, processes, or retrieves data.” (Wikipedia)

Data quality management is a huge problem in the logistics industry”. This statement is repeated day by day by industry-leading companies. The source data quality should be improved as early as possible in the process. 

Business rules, data enrichment from different end-points, validation rules, alerting and interaction with stakeholders are proven and existing solutions to resolve data quality issues.
Please read our blog "Data Quality: No garbage in, no garbage out" to learn more about data quality issues.

Scalability, industry focus and best-of-breed technology

Good to keep in mind how important it is to rely on a replicable and scalable technology.

The technology must be designed for a specific purpose, so the old saying “Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM” can finally be put in the history books.

Industry leaders responsible for digital transformation are looking for expertise, passion, and the perfect fit in their execution plans. These leaders are willing to change and transform. They understand that the transformation will not happen if the foundation is not changing as well. Technology and software specifically have a key role in this.

Search for industry leverage, it is the best way to ensure the speed to market, which is the best enabler for efficiency and positive results.

Resolution: Fill the gaps

No need to dump all incumbent systems at once. It is not possible nor wise.

Choose a new technology with a track record, proven industry expertise, and leverage that provides a good fit for your needs.

Start by filling the gaps: reduce the backlog, prioritize new integrations, relieve data enrichment pains, ease audit trail pain points, and enable access to existing data to key stakeholders.

You can justify the depreciation of your old investments in the upcoming years, start planning migrations early enough and execute the strategy strongly.

Remember to use KPIs and measure performance. It is always easier to demand the SLA from your vendor compared to your in-house team. We have customers that have been able to decrease time and cost by 80% with a new deployment for data connectivity.

In addition, our customer realizes the value of visibility into the processes and that we can provide the tools to share the visibility and interaction with their business partners.


Jaakko Elovaara

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Youredi

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