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Extending 'digital access' to everyone in your supply chain

As the world becomes ever more digital, your supply chain will too. Learn more about the digital transformation of the supply chain and how to make it work for your business.

Date 26/07/2022

Author Omnizon

When you start out in business, the number of connections you develop with customers and suppliers is small, and as a result, you can usually manage these connections ‘manually’. As business volumes grow, however, maintaining tight control over a growing network of connections and the resulting communications becomes more difficult. And staying connected is critical — both for today’s business but also for your future growth.

That’s where digital transformation comes in. Let’s take a look at how giving digital access to all your customers and suppliers can support the scaling up of your business.

 

Traditional supply chain vs. digital supply chain

Digital supply chains are often lauded for their ability to provide better visibility and transparency. However, some proprietary solutions make these benefits available only if everyone in the supply chain has access to the same digital tools. Integrated solutions like managed EDI services enable everyone to enjoy the benefits of digitization, even your non-EDI suppliers and clients.

Before we dive into the benefits of digital transformation, let’s see precisely where the difference between traditional and digital supply chains lies. Even though the traditional supply chains still successfully support many businesses, they are increasingly being replaced by digital alternatives.

 

From hand-operated to automated

The traditional supply chain is a linear process that starts with an employee generating an offer, or receiving an order, sourcing raw materials and transportation and ends with the finished product reaching the customer. All the necessary and varied steps in this chain are carried out manually, with little or no automation. As a result, this type of supply chain is often slower, less efficient and can be more prone to human error than the digital one.

A digital supply chain, on the other hand, makes full use of technology in every step of the process. From receipt of an order, sourcing, through to distributing, each stage is carried out using automated systems. This contributes to a faster and more efficient supply chain.

 

From long-lead times to real-time

Because of manual processing, lead times in the traditional supply chain will be longer, and the long-term expansion of your business may suffer from the accumulating effects of this slow pace. By embracing digitalization, you can take more control of your supply chain, handling more orders more often and processing larger volumes faster. This improvement in supply chain efficiency immediately reduces lead times. For your clients, this can mean getting a real-time response at every stage, and for your business — an increase in sales revenue and lower costs.

 

From separated to integrated

In a traditional supply chain, information is typically siloed within each company, making it difficult to get a complete picture of what’s happening. This can lead to inefficiencies and errors at worst, and delays to critical information flow at best.

In a digital supply chain, on the other hand, information is shared electronically between all chain members. This allows for much greater visibility, transparency and coordination, leading to a more efficient and effective supply chain.

 

From local to international

In a traditional supply chain, businesses rely on local resources and manual processes. This can make it challenging to scale up or expand into new markets especially if you need to move at speed to capture market opportunities. In a digital supply chain, businesses are connected through technology and not limited by geographic proximity, making accessing global resources and data easier. By digitizing your supply chain, you can improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and gain insights into your customers and markets.

 

What is digital supply chain transformation, and how does it work?

Digital supply chain transformation is the process of using digital technologies to improve the performance of your supply chain.

It will involve automating your processes, connecting many disparate systems, gathering and analyzing data, and using predictive analytics to help you make better decisions. By digitizing your supply chain, you can achieve significant improvements in efficiency, productivity, and visibility, and accelerate overall business operations.

Digital supply chain transformation can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the steps you can take to get started:

 

1. Assess your current state.

Before improving your supply chain, you need to know where you are starting from. This means reviewing and logging your processes to both record critical activity paths and also to help in identifying areas where digital technologies could make a positive difference.

 

2. Explore your options.

Once you know where you want to go, you need a plan to help you get there. You can digitize your business document flows with all of your suppliers and clients by employing Omnizon’s iPaaS EDI platform to enable all your clients to interact with you digitally. All of them can be connected easily and simply.

 

3. Choose a platform solution that meets your needs.

Select and implement the solution that will help you achieve your vision for the digital supply chain. Natural considerations will be:
– Your short-term and long-term capacity needs
– Your plans for the speed of expansion of your business
– Your level of inhouse technical capability and capacity, and how you wish to see this develop
– The complexity of your business processes; are they relatively standard or unique in your field?

While digital technology is changing the face of business, its role in supply chains has seen slower adoption because it requires commitment from multiple organizations. However, the inevitability in the long-term of the full adoption of digital supply chains means that companies that are already embracing digital technologies today will be best positioned to succeed in the future supply chain environment. And for those who do, there are a number of reasons why they will benefit from digital access to all the suppliers in their supply chain.

  • It allows for better communication and collaboration between all parties involved.
  • It gives suppliers the ability to track their shipments and monitor their performance in real-time.
  • It provides companies with a complete picture of their supply chain, thereby facilitating preventative analysis to allow the identification of potential issues before they arise.

 

Supply chain digitization: how to digitize your supply chain?

It’s clear that the digital supply chain is more aligned with contemporary business and market demands. But how do you extend these benefits to everyone in your supply chain? Here are four tips:

  • Fully exploit technology to automate your processes.
  • Use data to improve decision-making throughout your supply chain.
  • Use analytics to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Communicate with your suppliers and customers regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

If you aim to fully automate the processing of all your business dealings with clients and suppliers, you should opt for solutions that will enable you to do so. Extended EDI functionalities like Omnizon’s Customer and Supplier portal will allow both your non-EDI suppliers and customers to reap the benefits of digital transformation, so keep reading to learn more about what they are and how they can improve your business.

 

Web EDI Customer Portal

The Web EDI Customer Portal as a part of Extended EDI Functionality Suite, enables bigger businesses to quickly connect with those clients without EDI capability and provide them with access to the supplier’s automated business processes. Distributors can directly and speedily access all of their business clients and fully digitize those wholesale channels.

The main benefits of the Web EDI Customer Portal are:

  • Total customer integration: for your customer, everything is just a couple of clicks away and available even if they do not use an EDI system themselves.
  • Price personalization: prices can be fully tailored to each customer, with targeted discounts based on the specific analysis of their previous purchase behavior.
  • Global market reach: the customer portal works as a multilingual B2B web shop that enables your goods to reach your customers globally…immediately.
  • Short time to market for new products: all new product releases can easily be integrated into your virtual shop quickly, so you can stay ahead of the competition.
  • Speed: the customer portal enables your orders to be placed quickly and error-free. As soon as an order is placed, the system automatically checks the product’s availability and takes the next steps.
  • Automation: the amount of phone and email correspondence is reduced, while the trade transaction is accelerated and more efficient.
  • Bi-directional flow: the customer portal supports the flow of information from both sides and makes the exchange of documents easier, more secure and more accessible.
  • Control and tracing: order status, invoices, and other documents are transparent and available at all times.
  • Better management: simplifying the process provides an upgraded experience and more efficiency and business value to all involved.

 

Web EDI Supplier Portal

With the help of the Web EDI Supplier Portal, as a part of Extended EDI Functionality Suite, non-EDI suppliers may access the automated business procedures of bigger companies and improve communication with them. This module benefits both small suppliers, who sometimes lack their own IT infrastructure, and companies, who typically seek a completely digital supply chain.

Here are the main advantages of this extended EDI service:

  • Total supplier integration: expand your network by connecting to smaller suppliers more easily while establishing personalized terms and conditions for each supplier.
  • Speed: the supplier portal considerably shortens the process of ordering. If you have a large number of small suppliers, this is a significant time-saving benefit.
  • Automation: orders are created automatically with all supporting documentation (such as delivery notes, invoices, and confirmations), and price lists can be automatically updated.
  • Bi-directional flow: communication with suppliers takes place in a standard B2B EDI manner — with documents sent and received from both sides and automatically saved on the ERP system.
  • Control and tracing: Just as the customer portal, the supplier portal enables in-depth review of order status at any time.
  • Better management: with the supplier portal, you can easily upgrade every aspect of your supply chain management. From creation to completion, order handling is digitized, and the opportunity for error is minimized.

 

Get your business running with our easy-to-use platform

It’s clear that extending digital access to everyone in your supply chain is a smart move — it will benefit both your business and your client’s. By investing in Omnizon’s iPaaS EDI platform or Omnizon’s Managed Services, you can ensure that everyone in your supply chain is able to take advantage of the latest digital tools and resources. This will help make your business more efficient and productive while enabling smooth operations on a global level. So what are you waiting for?

Contact us and start extending digital access to everyone in your supply chain today!