Guest Columnist: Working Smarter
Where to Begin
Where should a company determined to take a hard look at its supply chain activities and seek efficiencies start? The first step is to identify processes where manual, nonstandard and repetitive tasks have persisted. This leads many book businesses to look at their routine communications with trading partners and the processes that generate the basic building blocks of those communications: orders, order acknowledgments, invoices and so on.
For many years, BISG has been promoting the benefits of e-commerce and making it easier for businesses to adopt a standardized approach to these basic transactions. It’s clear for many companies that the perceived complexities, the tangle of acronyms and jargon, and confusion about seemingly competing standards have inhibited them from tackling obvious inefficiencies in their communications with trading partners. What is EDI? What version of X12 should I use for my messages? Should I skip X12 entirely and use XML?
At BISG, it’s our job to remove as much of the mystery as possible from electronic commerce and provide businesses with the essential information necessary to move from manual and nonstandard processes to automated and standardized ones. That’s why for many years we have provided the industry with access to the key EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) messages in various formats and why we continue to update these standards so companies of all kinds can find standard message types suitable for their particular needs and technical capabilities.
Building on this foundation, BISG shortly will begin the process of defining more clearly the business requirements behind e-commerce and ultimately introducing a certification program to give more active support and advice to those preparing the basic EDI messages. Of course, adopting e-commerce ultimately saves money, but it is about more than just that. It increases the reliability, accuracy and security of the messages that are critical for a business’s commercial success and trading relationships.