What happens when EDI and mobile phones cross paths

It is no worth denying that tablets and smartphones are taking over, becoming second nature to everyone and important business tools for companies. Since EDI is the very stepping stone of B2B e-commerce, it was just a matter of time until these two major players crossed paths and merged their capabilities. Companies have started picking up on the perks that this combination might bring and, one by one are beginning to integrate their mobile devices with EDI document exchange processes.

Source: http://www.business2community.com/strategy/relationship-building-key-new-customer-acquisition-0810434#pQcHpmTIBTUAc6jq.97

Even though it may not sound appealing to go through the inconvenient process of typing sensitive information on a mobile phone’s keypad, there are certainly some advantages that you shouldn’t miss out on. We will expand on them below:

      1. Being notified when it matters

From the start, having access to real-time sensitive information is a phenomenal  dividend for any business. Now imagine that on top of this, your employees can be kept in the loop at any moment via their smartphones or tablets. This would give them the power to react immediately to any possible red flags and correct any issue that may have arisen. In turn, this quicker decision-making ability will translate in higher revenues, as well as greater customer satisfaction for your company. Here are a few examples to help you visualize the perks:

  • As soon as an invoice is received, a notification can be sent out via email or text message to inform that the document has been received and is waiting for approval. This of course can happen within the course of a few minutes, as soon as the invoice is received. An extra benefit to this would be the possibility to benefit from any early-payment discount available.
  • A text message or an email can notify the customer that their afferent Advance Ship Notice has not yet been sent. This way, the supplier can expedite the process, if need be, in order to maintain good relationships with its customers.
      2. The ability to inquire regarding the transaction status

It is essential that whenever key-people are out of office they can find out if a transaction occurred. A few case scenarios:

  • Whenever a supplier calls to ask about a missing payment, the buyer can see if a remittance advice was sent and when, on their smartphone or tablet.
  • Whenever a sales person is traveling, but needs to know the delivery status for an order, he or she can simply use their smartphone or tablet to find out, instead of giving a phone call to the office.
       3. Convenient access to key metrics

Orders, invoices and ASNs are the key-components when a buyer or suppliers wants to assess the other one’s delivery performance or payment history, in view of signing a new contract. They can simply access this information by accessing it on a smartphone or tablet.

       4. EDI-specific mobile apps

EDI already facilitates the electronic exchange of sensitive business documents. It is only natural that IT developers are coming up with new mobile applications in order to further boost efficiency. These are the most famous in the retail sector:

  • To the same extent, tablets can be used very efficiently in the warehouse. They can enable the staff to successfully identify any damaged shipments received, as well as the amount that needs to be deducted for the afferent invoices. Then, the employee in charge submits the deduction, to be further processed by the accounts payable systems, where it will be decided if the deduction can be approved or not. This process greatly reduces the number of manual tasks involved and also simplifies any possible disputes.

B2B electronic commerce is already benefitting greatly from emerging mobile technologies. Of course, they will all add to the complexity of it all, but simply think of all the future possibilities that are yet to be explored!


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