Many small to mid-sized retailers shy away from implementing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) within their business, it’s often believed to be something only their larger competitors can benefit from. However, EDI is becoming increasingly popular with small to mid-sized retailers and it’s easy to see why.
We were joined by Louisa Gooding, Director of Strategic Relationships at B2BGateway who alongside our Product Marketing Manager, Kenny Johnson, shared their industry insights on using EDI to support your business.
Put simply, EDI is the secure and automated exchange of electronic documents, such as purchase orders, invoices and delivery notes.
Common errors which EDI and retail management systems can eliminate:
- Double selling
This is something which is increasingly likely to occur when you sell on multiple sales channels without a central place to manage your inventory. Bringing in a system which allows you to manage multiple sales channels from one screen, allows you and your staff to have transparency of all inventory in your warehouse.
- Incorrect shipping documents
A lot of businesses now have very specific requirements on what information they require when arranging a shipment. Incorrect information can lead to delays in shipment, ultimately impacting on your customer delivery times.
- Mispicks and incorrect items
Tracking and managing purchase orders and invoices through email and spreadsheets is not only time consuming, but it can also make it very easy for your warehouse staff to confuse orders and process the wrong items out to the wrong customers.
- Missed delivery deadlines
Using spreadsheets and managing multiple deliveries in multiple places can add significant time when processing customer orders. Managing and tracking orders and deliveries all in one place will allow you pick, pack and ship your orders quickly and efficiently.
Benefits of using EDI and retail management software:
Allows you to have a very clear picture of what you ordered and when you ordered it. Making it easy to track, monitor and chase down any delays from your suppliers.
- Shipping easability
Combining EDI and a retail management system will allow you to send shipping tracking orders to customers straight from your system, reducing the need to hand-key and send separate emails.
- File formats
File formats also can differ depending on industry. This can mean you will most likely be able to send various file formats to the same customer. Having EDI implemented will allow you to be able to send any file format with ease, without having to leave your retail management system. Making the complicated process run seamlessly.
How it works:
Brightpearl’s integrated order management and accounting means that you will be able to manage your orders and invoicing over EDI in a single platform. Here is sample workflow available with Brightpearl connected to B2BGateway:
As the supplier:
- Customer places a purchase order in their system. B2BGateway detects the order and automatically posts the sales order in Brightpearl.
- Your team picks, packs and prints the order’s shipping label using Brightpearl. The shipping confirmation and tracking information is automatically sent to your customer’s system through B2BGateway.
- Once the order ships and you invoice the order in Brightpearl, the invoice is automatically posted to your customer’s system.
As you can see there are no emails, spreadsheets or faxes involved in the process of your larger wholesale customers placing orders from you which means much faster fulfillment times, fewer errors and ultimately, a lower cost of doing business and superior customer service.
With so many benefits it’s easy to see why more and more mid-sized retailers are implementing EDI. In retail, time and reputation are often the most precious things to you and your business. Using EDI can save time by eliminating the need for spreadsheets and workflows and emails, and maintain your reputation by reducing the risk of delivery delays, admin errors and over-selling.
If you’d like to find out more about integrating EDI with Brightpearl, you can contact a specialist here.