Communication is one of the most challenging aspects of conducting your business. As you know, it’s about more than just talking. The real communication mine is the data and document exchange in your company. Of course, many people do not pay attention to this aspect. This is because they simply do not know how to start or what to check to find out if this process is 100% effective.
Four data exchange areas to review
The first one is your partners. Do you cooperate with hundreds or even thousands of companies, exchanging many documents with them? This question will give you a good start to your analysis. If there are lots of partners, it means there is a bigger risk of losing control and transparency of the process, which can make it less efficient. It also means that there can be a bigger chance to make mistakes while sending documents manually, or it can take longer if your partner uses a different system or file standards than you.
The second area is number of document types. List how many different document types you exchange with your partners. Do you make orders, send invoices, give shipping notes and many others? Now multiply it by different countries and companies that may have different processes and standards. Do not forget about the language aspects. For high volumes of documents and unstandardized, unautomated processes, it may take a lot of time and cause misunderstandings and process delays. In order to automate the process and harmonize it, you may need to use a data exchange product.
Let’s go to the third area – errors and delays. Is the error rate high for your company? How often do you pay or get paid after due dates? What is the reason? How many corrections of invoices has your company had to issue or ask for? Analyze this aspect, as it may occur that documents get lost or there are lots of mistakes – making the process inefficient and costly.
Finally, the fourth one – resources. Look at your company and different processes connected to data exchange, such as sending, posting and processing invoices, checking the legal requirements, updating master data of your products and analyzing the trade to organize promotion. How many people do you involve in those processes? Think not only about basic actions such as sending invoices, but also about correlated actions such as the necessity to fill out data, then print, archive, retrieve for audit, prepare information for posting, and so on. In case you will notice that too many people take part in this process, it would be good to consider electronic data exchange products which significantly reduce the number of administrative tasks and the amount of work. Then, way you can relocate your resources to other processes.
Modern data exchange solutions
These are only a few examples of areas for improvement with the use of solutions such as EDI, e-invoicing, MDM or Online Distribution. If you still have questions or need help in your company’s data exchange diagnosis, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.