EDI has been one of the hottest business topics of the last decade, creating massive changes in the way a range of large businesses — from big-box retailers to suppliers — manage their orders, purchases and customer relationships.
However, most EDI coverage has been focused on the growth of EDI amongst large companies — typically well-known brands and corporations that notice the biggest benefits from EDI in pure financial terms.
Recently, EDI has started to become more commonplace for small and mid-sized businesses. A growing number of small companies are interested in using EDI solutions, either as a response to competitors or as a way to improve productivity, efficiency and revenue.
In response, software such as XEDI, which provides an EDI platform for businesses of all sizes, is starting to attract attention from small and mid-sized companies interested in accessing the benefits of EDI without the traditional expenses.
Why are so many businesses enthusiastic about EDI? From productivity and strategic focus to improvements in accuracy, speed and customer satisfaction, EDI offers a range of key growth advantages for smaller and mid-sized businesses.
One of the biggest of these advantages is an increase in customer satisfaction. Because EDI systems eliminate errors and produce more efficient work processes, they’re associated with happier customers, clients and suppliers.
On average, the use of EDI results in a reduction in the total number of transactions featuring errors of 30 to 40 per cent — a measurably significant improvement that can eliminate common customer frustrations and fuel more profitable relationships.
There’s also the speed of EDI. Businesses that use EDI not only provide faster service to their customers, clients and suppliers — improving relationships and laying the groundwork for long term growth — they also have faster, more efficient business processes.
Many businesses, including SMEs, have achieved improvements of as much of 61% in average business process speed, allowing for faster growth without the time constraints that hinder many small and mid-sized businesses.
This improvement in speed and productivity is a boon for many businesses. Freed from having to spend as much time on repetitive, document-intensive processes, many high-level staff have more time to dedicate towards long-term strategy and growth.
There’s also the necessity aspect of EDI for many small businesses. Many of the smaller and mid-sized businesses currently implementing EDI have done so in response to requirements from larger suppliers and trading partners.
This in itself can fuel growth, as implementing a scalable EDI solution can allow smaller and mid-sized businesses more access to new suppliers, vendors and trading partners.
Finally, EDI can improve growth potential by preventing businesses from becoming victims of their own success. We’ve all heard stories of businesses growing beyond their own logistical capabilities — a risk that effective implementation of EDI can reduce, and even eliminate.
Business growth is fuelled by a variety of factors. While most people will point to marketing, sales and other departments as major drivers of growth for small and mid-sized businesses, effective, intelligent use of EDI is equally as fundamental in helping businesses grow.