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Apr 28

How Cloud-Based EDI Helps Businesses Manage Orders Remotely

Long before the word “coronavirus” entered our day-to-day vocabulary, an increasing number of companies were embracing remote work, discovering that with the right IT solutions, many of their employees could work productively from almost anywhere. Once the pandemic began, this popular perk became a mandate, and all types of organizations were forced to adapt to a completely new way of doing business.

Supply chain businesses have had to pivot toward working remotely despite the dual challenges of having logistically complex businesses that juggle high volumes of data, and being among the hardest affected by global disruption. However, COVID-19 has also given supply chain businesses a unique opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade: The deep dive into remote work has revealed how cost-effective, lean, and efficient it can be.

In our experience, many supply chain businesses are finding that shifting their data and operations to the cloud and fully embracing electronic data interchange (EDI) is making them better prepared for future opportunities and employee efficiency. Equipped with cloud-based EDI, they can do business in every direction—even with the world’s largest companies—right from their own homes. If they adopt a solution that enables EDI integration and business to business commerce with a wide range of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as well, businesses can optimize their existing investment in cloud computing to create a remote-work environment that is a paragon of efficiency.

Here are a few reasons why this is the perfect time to implement a cloud-based EDI, business-to-business commerce solution in your supply chain.

Access to Your Operations Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

Being able to access your data and systems from anywhere you have an internet connection yields a considerable competitive advantage. Increasingly, migrating your data and all the software you need to the cloud isn’t just for enterprises, either. With ubiquitous cloud providers like Microsoft, AWS, and Google spending billions each year on security, more and more SMBs are shifting their operations to the cloud too.

For those companies that have already accommodated employees’ need to work remotely by implementing a cloud-based ERP, integrated EDI only enhances the operational gains they have achieved. One such company is, Vandemoortele, a Belgian bakery foods company with operations in the US that recently adopted a TrueCommerce cloud-based EDI solution integrated with QuickBooks. The company found considerable value in the convenience and ease offered by a web-based solution. “I can manage TrueCommerce EDI for QuickBooks from anywhere,” said Brendan McGinn, VP of Operations & Finance, USA, for Vandemoortele.“ I can be at home, I can be in my office, I can be on vacation. The efficiency of it is great.”

You Avoid the Pitfalls of On-Premises Server Upkeep

Cloud-based EDI supported by a full managed service model for your cloud-hosted ERP makes financial decision-makers happy. It shifts your IT costs from a CAPEX spend (an investment in physical hardware and all the maintenance that requires) to a much lower OPEX (a subscriber’s fee for software that is automatically updated and supported). This reduces overhead, freeing up resources that would be traditionally reserved for IT infrastructure, and greatly reduces IT complexity by eliminating the need for on-premise maintenance, backup, and periodic upgrading by staff or third-party consultants. The result is a fiscal win on all fronts, meaning you can focus more resources on your core business.

Another clear advantage to cloud-based EDI is ease of use. One hallmark of a good cloud-based software solution is that the people who use it day to day don’t need to worry about how it works. When questions do arise, users can call a dedicated support team from the provider, rather than putting in a ticket with their own IT department. This is the kind of efficiency, user friendliness, and stress-free operational advantage web-based EDI provides for remote workers. Another advantage of operating in the cloud is the considerable increase in uptime it provides over traditional on-premises servers. This was an important factor for Conchita Foods, which needed to meet the EDI requirements from major food retailers like Walmart, Target, and Publix and chose to implement a solution that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365. “EDI is a business-critical application for us. It needs to be working every day—we can’t have downtime,” said Carlos Ferro, the company’s vice president. With a cloud-based EDI platform, Mr. Ferro never has to worry.

It Enables Seamless Teamwork Across Distances

With all your data “living” in the cloud and the near-paperless nature of cloud-based EDI, few personal meetings are required and there is little need for physical paper handoffs. Everyone, wherever they are, has the information they need to get real-time visibility across your business. You might find that collaboration is enhanced rather than hindered by working remotely with these tools, since employees can communicate in real time, 24/7.

EDI also facilitates automated, timely communication with suppliers and retailers, while streamlining order fulfillment and other processes in a way that ups your game as a team. With fewer operational headaches to deal with, the team is better able to focus on strategic business decisions and improving customer service.

Again, the convenience of working remotely with this level of data availability has considerable upsides when it comes to increasing employee productivity and improving employee satisfaction. “One of the biggest benefits I get with TrueCommerce EDI is that I can access it from wherever I am. I don’t have to sit at my desk and wait for all the invoicing to be done. Instead, I can go home, have dinner with my family, and take care of EDI in five minutes after my kids go to bed. It’s a big convenience factor,” said Carlos Ferro.

Cloud-based Data Is Better Protected from Disaster

This year, we’ve all had a crash course in continuing the supply chain throughout an emergency, and we would all benefit from less risk exposure. Using cloud-based EDI in combination with your cloud-based data gives you an extra boost in business continuity insurance. If something were to happen to your devices or physical servers, your cloud service provider could help you recover your automatically backed up data if you need it and your business could continue without skipping a beat.

Taking the proactive measure of securing your information in the cloud means your remote workers can keep on keeping on, wherever they are, during these difficult times and with whatever the future brings.

Prepare for What’s Next with Cloud-based, Integrated EDI

Businesses dependent on secure, reliable supply chains that have rushed to move their workforce off-premise, utilizing the cloud, have an opportunity to optimize their investments in new IT solutions and arm themselves for the future. Whatever else we have learned from the experiences of this pandemic year, we certainly know that remote work is going to play a larger role in the future. With that in mind, it is best to begin capitalizing on the advantages of working anywhere and having secure access to data everywhere you may work.


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