EDI has grown to be a considerable player in supply chain management across all industries, especially the food and grocery industry. Stores and warehouses must organize and keep track of orders and shipments between each other and numerous retailers and trading partners. The entire process of supply chain management can become incredibly complex when it comes to food, and that’s why EDI can be so beneficial to food manufacturers and retailers.
How Does Grocery EDI Work?
Before EDI existed, grocery stores had to call or fax distributors when ordering items to stock their shelves. The distributor would then have to manually input order information into their system, pull the orders from their warehouses closest to the store, ship the products, and wait for the store to review the items and make sure they received everything in the proper amounts and quality. Finally, an invoice could be written and sent, but only if the store can fill the order with no errors. Before EDI, human error constantly disrupted this supply chain process.
Now, EDI automates all of these steps. Special grocery EDI transaction codes allow distributors to instantly receive orders, track shipments, simplify invoices, and even trail errors back to their sources. EDI is a game changer for the food and grocery industry. Here are the three biggest benefits of grocery EDI:
The alternative to EDI is putting data into your systems manually. That means that anytime an order comes through, there’s a chance that someone input a number incorrectly. For example, a different number or a comma in the wrong place can result in too many or too few items being shipped to a store. Too much of a food product can be an unwanted expense, leaving unpurchased food to go bad. Too little of a product can cause customer dissatisfaction when demand requires more of their favorite foods on the shelf.
Grocery EDI prevents these mistakes from happening by eliminating human error. Item numbers and prices are automatically in EDI systems, allowing more accurate grocery orders.
Supply Chain Visibility
EDI in the food industry utilizes Advanced Shipping Notices (ASNs), which include an order’s ship date and what products are in the shipment. This ensures greater supply chain visibility, meaning you can track all of your products inside and outside your inventory. You can provide tracking information to customers so that they know when shipments will come in, which is also beneficial for your business as it allows you to plan other shipments and predict demand.
Knowing where your shipments are at all times means knowing where your products came from and where they’re going. This ability is highly valuable regarding regulatory compliance, which is especially important in the food and grocery industry. There are a lot of regulatory requirements in place to make sure that food is safe for consumers to eat. That’s why EDI is so important for tracing certain products back to their origin when there’s a recall. EDI makes it easy to identify the source of a dangerous product so retailers can pull it from shelves. EDI is a lifesaver!
Let eVantage Direct help guide your food or grocery business to success with EDI solutions. Specializing in grocery and frozen food clients, eVantage Direct can help you set up your EDI software and use the benefits of EDI in the food industry.