According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Report, 60% of business leaders say a lack of transparency represents a risk to their business. Data transparency refers to the ability to view and track data to ensure the integrity of all transactions and processes across all networks.
Although data transparency includes visibility, the sharing and communicating of data in its details are integral in defining transparency and its value to people inside and outside an organization. In this blog, we define what data transparency is and how it impacts business and supply chain relationships when it comes to the EDI industry. We also discuss how EDI enhances visibility within your organization and your community.
What is data transparency?
Data transparency is the ability to retrieve and implement various types of data in meaningful ways. It ensures that one can access and use data from anywhere at any time. Moreover, all information is guaranteed to be accurate and to come from an authoritative source.
Data transparency in business and supply chain relationships
In supply chain relationships, transparency is essential to establish trust. “Nearly three-quarters of respondents feel that trust matters more than it did last year, according to a survey by Salesforce.” As more organizations standardize processes, transparency in supply chain relationships is key to the community’s success. It also fuels trust and comradery, which are at the core of doing good business.
Through business partnerships, the supply chain relies on collaboration to drive success. As Jason Tham mentioned in a recent The New Level Podcast episode, organizations must form a robust ecosystem to give stakeholders more visibility and collaborate effectively in meeting demand and responding to unpredictable events. In the graph below, you can see that as organizations become more transparent, its level of success increases.
Why is transparency important in the supply chain?
Supply chain transparency has significant operational, administrative, and legal importance. A business model based on efficient data practices empowers companies and employees in myriad ways.
For instance, internal data transparency improves supply chain visibility by providing a clear view of all inventory and activity. A clear communication channel makes building trust with trading partners easier, as all parties involved can do business together swiftly. Consumer trust is also positively impacted when they have reliable information about the availability of products.
Aggressive data collection without transparency in mind can do more than harm operational efficiency. The mishandling of customer data, especially personal information, can lead to government intervention and legal repercussions. Transparency allows companies to adhere to the strict policies set by any state or federal agency.
How is data transparency important in EDI?
90% of B2B transmission in the supply chain is transmitted thanks to EDI. Therefore, transparency on EDI data is instrumental in bringing information to businesses quickly and efficiently so organizations can meet their requirements, pivot if necessary, and maintain strong relationships with their trading partners.
Being transparent about inventory and shipment tracking data – like sending an EDI 846 Inventory Report or EDI 856 Advanced Shipment Notice – is an essential part of EDI requirements with various trading partners. This data allows organizations to make buying decisions, based on forecasts and make room in their warehouses for incoming stock.
When data transmission or integration problems arise, end-to-end data transparency allows stakeholders to resolve issues promptly, avoiding chargebacks and damaging company reputations. By being transparent with EDI data with your trading partners and pivoting if errors arise, organizations can maintain positive relationships with their supply chain ecosystem and set themselves apart from the competition.
If you choose the right B2B data integrator, you can be sure they can provide access to data you need to transmit, the details on errors and support on how to fix them and guidance and tools to enable your organization to tackle new projects with confidence. For tips on choosing the right EDI provider, visit our blog: Changing EDI Providers – How To Ensure A Smooth Transition.
How do supply chain relationships use EDI?
EDI offers many benefits to supply chain operations. Not only does it streamline the communication between trading partners, it also enhances real-time transactions while saving users time and money.
Good EDI practices can help businesses eliminate repetitive tasks from their workflows. For instance, tasks related to paper documents are replaced by substantially more efficient electronic processes. EDI allows trading partners to request stock, ship it to locations, and process payments much faster.
By integrating EDI, organizations can view and execute transactions in real time. Thanks to improved supply chain visibility, critical business decisions can be taken faster. A steady, accurate flow of information improves responsiveness to shifting customer and market demands.
How can ERP & API Integrations help?
Organizations invest in ERPs like SAP, Acumatica, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and others to increase visibility, efficiency, and scalability. Centralizing your data and investing in these integrations reduces mistakes that can affect your data accuracy.
Investing in ERP integrations has additional benefits for your organization, including more manageable and cost-effective employee training, which helps your organization resolve issues quicker and ensures you keep a good reputation on the market. If you haven’t had a chance to watch The New Level Podcast Episode with Christopher Williams, an SAP Business One implementor, follow this link.
Why is a human approach just as crucial in data transparency?
B2B data integrators who offer excellent customer experience know the importance of assigning your company a specific project manager, EDI analyst, and developer who understands your business and can provide you with the quickest responses. This way, whenever you need help, you know who to contact and how to reach them and can be counted on to provide the same service level every time.
This is a clear example of how transparency in relationships is just as important as data transparency. Learn more about what makes Vantree unique with its Team Based Support structure by checking out one of our blogs called: Same Team, Same People – Each Time You Need Help.
Future trends in EDI for supply chain relationships and organizational success
Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions
Using an online service to circumvent building in-house EDI processing capabilities is becoming a more attractive proposition for companies. EDI SaaS services give organizations more power and control over their business.
This is especially beneficial to small and mid-sized companies venturing into B2B communications. The best SaaS options offer businesses the tools to build trust with large companies and increase data protection capabilities. Additionally, users benefit from a personalized user experience and support around the clock, which helps them grow and develop.
EDI vs. supply chain APIs
For some time, APIs have been considered a potential replacement for EDI. However, standalone API solutions cannot be as efficiently deployed in a B2B setting.
API and web services may work with familiar protocols, but they don’t enjoy the industry-wide standardization of EDI. Current trends show that instead of choosing between one solution, both can complement each other.
APIs can be introduced to an EDI framework and serve as additional B2B information exchange systems. This approach can help companies work alongside legacy EDI transactions, SaaS applications, and cloud-based platforms.
Specialist IT shortages
One of the most significant drawbacks of deploying in-house EDI systems is the lack of skilled professionals. High-quality, end-to-end EDI integration has become extremely rare and costly. Business analyst roles are replacing traditional EDI analyst roles. While they may be able to manage the analysis of overall trends and develop strategies, they are less involved with EDI data mapping and configuring requirements.
The most effective solution to overcome this challenge is adopting products specifically designed to handle EDI. Third-party SaaS EDI solutions can handle the heavy lifting, giving companies more time and resources to work toward the development of operations.
E-commerce is redefining the digital supply chain
The rise of e-commerce has changed the global supply chain landscape. Many features of online B2C practices are also becoming the norm in B2B interactions. For instance, modern businesses have grown to expect a wide product variety, competitive pricing, fast shipping, real-time tracking, and mobile support.
As companies in the B2B sector shift to the e-commerce environment, their need for systems that enhance integration with trading partners begins to grow. The implementation of EDI guarantees the smooth running of supply chains and administrative processes, giving partners a top-tier online shopping experience.
Data transparency within your business and supply chain ecosystem is key to your company’s success. In a world that runs on critical data being exchanged every second, investing in the right B2B data integrator who can transmit EDI & API data on your behalf with high accuracy and transparency is going to allow you to set yourself apart from the competition and future proof your business.
If you’re interested in learning about Vantree’s Web or EDI Automation solutions, which gives users 24/7 visibility and logs on all your B2B traffic, please reach out to our team by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.