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ERP, e-commerce, and EDI systems manage different business processes. Integrating these platforms improves efficiency, reduces costs, and improves service.

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top to bottom process coordination across

Top-to-Bottom Process Coordination across EDI, ERP, and E-Commerce

Platforms

Technology providers offer several software solutions designed to solve specific business

problems. While comprehensive ERP systems that integrate all of an organization’s internal

processes are very worthwhile investments and make a huge difference to productivity and

bottom line, their specialized nature makes them ill-suited for managing external processes.

Purpose-built solutions for interacting with customers, vendors, and suppliers are much better

options for external supply chain coordination.

Integrating upstream and downstream platforms

“Upstream” supply chain communication with suppliers and other vendors typically fall under

the purview of electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions, while promoting and selling goods

and services to customers downstream is usually handled by e-commerce platforms. Each type of

solution provides the best range of features for its designated function, and follows its own set of

standards, so it makes perfect sense for organizations to have all three types of systems in place.

However, using each of these business information systems in isolation will yield somewhat

limited benefits. Your staff will still have to spend a considerable amount of time manually

reconciling supplier orders with internal inventory, matching vendor purchase orders with

accounting ledgers, sales reports with online customer transactions, and so on. With so many

cross-platform interactions to manage each day, labor costs can skyrocket. Most successful

organizations have turned to platform integration solutions to ease their operational workload

and boost profitability.

ERP: Your digital command center

in a typical platform integration project your

In a typical platform integration project, your internal ERP system is of central importance.

Instead of attempting to connect your e-commerce and EDI systems directly, it makes much

more sense to use your ERP platform as a central data store. This gives you a single,

comprehensive view of your entire supply chain, and allows you to take advantage of your ERP

suite’s advanced forecasting and analytics capabilities.

Cross-platform integration solutions keep your ERP, e-commerce, and EDI systems

synchronized in near real-time, which will help your organization’s decision makers take

immediate action when opportunities or issues arise. They won’t have to wait for end-of-day or

weekly reports to discover supply-side issues, distribution center stock levels, or changes in

customer purchasing behavior. Instead, a real-time digital dashboard will keep them informed

about all relevant upstream, internal, and downstream performance metrics throughout the day.

E-Commerce integration enables omni-channel fulfillment

By directly linking e-commerce and ERP platforms, organizations not only benefit from real-

time sales information, but are also able to automate order fulfillment and offer new fulfillment

options. Companies that still manage their brick-and-mortar, online, mobile, and call center

channels separately can’t compete with enterprises that have implemented omni-channel

fulfillment. Omni-channel enterprises can ship online purchases to retail stores, accept online

returns in-store, allow customers to reserve an item at a particular retail outlet, and much more.

Customers value these transaction options very highly, and implementing these fulfillment

possibilities make your brand much more attractive in their eyes.

Pre-built integration solutions Visionet’s CommerceLink smart connector expedite and

simplify ERP-to-e-commerce integration. Instead of embarking on a custom development project

that won’t yield results for 6 months or more, these integration products provide a cost-effective

way of implementing omni-channel capabilities much sooner.

Integrated EDI functionality streamlines partner interaction

On the other end of your supply chain, integrating your EDI and ERP platforms can result in

several synergistic advantages. Instead of looking up inventory or purchase order information in

your ERP system and then manually keying in and sending this information, a unified system can

initiate data transfers in just a few mouse clicks. Integration also makes it much easier to process

bulk orders or schedule batch jobs.

More advanced EDI solutions like Visionet’s PartnerLink go beyond traditional EDI by

providing support for multiple EDI-based and non-EDI data formats, and can even trigger data

transfers when specific criteria are met. For example, you might want to automatically place an

order with a supplier when stock levels in your distribution center fall below a predefined

threshold.

E-Commerce to EDI: Connecting both ends of the supply chain

Even though both of these types of integration solution can be deployed independently, having

both e-commerce and EDI integration in place can be immensely useful. It becomes possible to

pass customer demand forecasts on to suppliers

pass customer demand forecasts on to suppliers almost instantly, or even send them product

orders for direct fulfillment. There are hundreds of potential ways to optimize your supply chain

by keeping customers and vendors informed of each other’s activities over time.

In short, internal process integration is what ERP systems excel at, but that isn’t enough for a

smoothly functioning supply chain. Keeping partner, operational, and customer information

synchronized using platform integration solutions can eliminate delays, keep your supply chain

lean and agile, and even provide support for new and innovative operating paradigms. For more

information on cost-effective ways of implementing cross-platform integration, please contact

Visionet Systems.