It is a conundrum: you implement an EDI system in order to make doing business with your suppliers easier, yet you need their buy-in to ensure that they utilize the system and that you receive ROI on it. How do you overcome this challenge?
Fortunately, it is not impossible to bring your suppliers onboard. Read on to learn some best practices that make the onboarding process less painful for all involved.
Create a Business Case
When your supply chain partners find out that you are implementing an EDI system, the first thing they will think is that you are the only one who stands to benefit (unless they have already implemented one themselves, in which case, they are well aware of its benefits).
Because your suppliers might not understand what they stand to gain, you have to tell them.
Because your suppliers might not understand what they stand to gain from your EDI implementation, you have to be the one to tell them. And you should be proactive about it; do not wait for your partners to demonstrate their resistance. Address their concerns and complaints from the outset, rather than discovering there is an impediment to achieving ROI later in the game.
Appoint a Liaison
There should be a single point person dedicated to liaising with supply chain partners. The point person’s role is to support each partner through this transition.
The point person helps the partners work with your system to achieve maximum benefit.
What does that support look like? The point person develops a communication plan that lays out the goals of the EDI system implementation and shares educational resources that will help partners work with your system to achieve maximum benefit.
Build a Bridge
Some of your suppliers might not be ready to implement an EDI system of their own. That does not mean that they cannot utilize an EDI system at all.
There are various EDI options which do not require integrating an EDI system with a company’s IT back-end. Two such options are web-based forms and Excel-based software that will seamlessly share vital information so that business does not come to a halt.
These workarounds allow you to continue using your EDI system while making it easy for your partners to do business with you.
These workarounds allow you to continue using your EDI system while making it easy for your supply chain partners to do business with you. That is a win-win situation for everyone.
Remember that EDI Implementation Is the Beginning of a Journey
An EDI system implementation is the beginning of a journey for you and your supply chain partners. Even though a system might have been successfully implemented, that does not mean that your suppliers do not have questions or problems. That is why you need to work with them for as long as possible to ensure that everyone is benefiting from your EDI system.
You need to work with them for as long as possible to ensure everyone is benefiting from your EDI system.
You will need to monitor communications and troubleshoot when issues crop up. Moreover, you will need to respond to those queries as soon as possible, because you do not want them to spiral out of control, and you want to provide reassurance to your supply chain partners that you are not going to abandon them when they need you. In addition, keep your EDI system up-to-date; whenever you or your partners add new documents, change current documents, or upgrade communication processes, you will need to make changes to translation maps or communication protocols.
You do not have to be the only one who benefits from your EDI system; your suppliers can, too. By gaining their buy-in, everyone can do business more efficiently and profitably. To learn more, contact us.