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1 William McKinney commented Permalink

So why in this technology advanced age are companies still supporting all these manual options? My guess it is the long tail of the supply chain are mom and pop shops that fax is as tech as they get. What are your thoughts?

2 Josh Hardy commented Permalink

Great question… It is my opinion that there are 3 main reasons:
1. Companies believe they've already captured the greatest value with their existing EDI strategy… the old 80/20 rule if you will… and its not worth the time, money or effort to automate the little guys doing phone, fax, email, and snail mail.
2. IT departments are already overwhelmed with onboarding new partners so they aren’t looking to do more. This means accounts payable/receivable departments and others continue to foot the bill processing manual documents.
3. Companies don’t execute regular recruitment programs to find out “who is capable but not trading”…
I spoke to a large retailer on the West Coast and they admitted that the only time they ask about EDI capabilities is when they start doing business with a supplier and many relationships have been in play for many years. The reality is that retailer has competitors that are forcing ecommerce on the same suppliers, so they are capable but not fully leveraging the solutions they have implemented for competitor X.
I'll address some strategies around segmenting and expanding capabilities to enable 100% of your business community in a future blog. The best news here is that the ability to handle these manual partners has evolved with solutions like Fax Conversion services where you can automate exchanges with customers and suppliers without impacting how they are doing business with you.

3 Felton Lewis commented Permalink


Great Blog.
In Grocery, the business justification to connect the entire trading partner community, and trading partners of all sizes is to support Product Safety and Product Recalls.
E.G. The number of product recalls that occur each month. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp
Many grocery retailers are displaying product recalls on their website, and encouraging customers to return the product to the store or destroy the product. I visited a Walmart store and noticed that there is product recall bulletin board in their cutomer service area. If the retailer is not electronically connected to all of their trading partners, than the size and scope of the product hold, or product withdrawal will have to expand.
E.G. A growing trend toward consumers eating more healthy and Grocery Retailers purchasing local organic items from suppliers, or from certified organic farms in the area. There is still a need for product tracing, and my sense is a farmers core competency may not be selecting an EDI provider. However, the solutions that IBM can offer our Grocery Retail clients and their trading partners can be easily adopted to fit any situation or any use case. If the smallest trading partner is not elecronically connected, then the time spent identifying and communicating the product hold content to the USDA, or the grocery retailer will be delayed, as well as the notification alert to the consumer is delayed.
Bridge Solutions Group

4 Frederick Kuhrt commented Permalink

I think there is a mistake regarding the total of B2b transactions via phone:

correct is: 50% (instead of 23%) of respondents use phone which equates to 23% (instead of 26%) of their total B2B Transactions

5 Josh Hardy commented Permalink

@ Frederick Kuhrt, you are right. I have edited and fixed that. Thanks for catching it!

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