The office supply industry aims to provide its clients — made up of various-sized companies, public entities and non-business organizations — with all the equipment they need to complete their work. Suppliers may be locally or internationally based, prices are updated in real time and stock levels are modified daily.
With such rigorous expectations, there is a real need for transactions to be EDI-based. This software helps companies quickly complete many of their essential tasks such as placing and receiving orders, informing or receiving updates on dispatched goods, and exchanging legally compliant invoices.
Here's how migrating to a cloud-based EDI solution can help advance three types of exchange: orders, dispatch advice notes and invoices.
Reactivity and Efficiency
In a world of constant change, business owners have to stay ahead of the curve. EDI offers the capability to be reactive, adaptable and efficient.
When a client places an order with its office supplier, the supplier must react quickly and gather all the required elements of the order. Some of these elements must in turn be ordered and EDI-based orders are instantaneous and can be immediately acknowledged by the supplier.
Using a cloud-based EDI solution provides the capability to be flexible and reactive in the event that any technical change is required in the way both entities do business. These requests for changes happen often with short time scales for implementation. Here, your provider can update your cloud-based EDI solution in accordance with the requested deadline.
Like other industries, goods in the office supply sector are often composed of assembled items, ordered from various suppliers. EDI provides the capability to closely track the dispatch of goods from the suppliers and carefully plan the delivery to the final client.
The office supply industry often provides additional services such as furniture assembling. In this case, all furniture parts are shipped to the same location and a third-party assembles them.
In this situation, a cloud-based solution can be adapted to provide specific workflows which are business oriented. This could not be done with an on-premises solution without significant changes.
Having these industry-specific workflows natively implemented in a cloud-based EDI solution allows business to be executed smoothly, without any technical limitation.
Invoices and Fiscal Compliance
Companies in this sector do business with numerous suppliers based in various countries around the world. And multiple countries mean multiple fiscal regulations.
More and more business validations are requested by fiscal authorities. EDI can help here by automatically checking all exchanged documents. E-Invoicing, based on EDI, provides the office supply industry with an easy way of exchanging invoices with suppliers and clients.
Year after year, the ways in which invoices are exchanged with business partners or tax authorities are evolving.
Governments are asking companies to follow new rules and adopt new technical methods to exchange invoices.
Italy is one of the more recent countries to implement changes. There, tax authorities implemented a portal (SdI) to which all companies are required to send their client invoices. The portal then sends the invoices to the client.
A cloud-based EDI solution natively offers coverage for these specific regulations and businesses do not have to waste time implementing the requested change.
Regulations will continue to evolve and implementing a cloud-based EDI solution ensures a competitive edge that any office supply business would benefit from.
Having a cloud-based EDI solution does not only provide business-related advantages.
Hosting an in-house, on premises EDI solution requires a company have a strong IT infrastructure. Nothing good will come from an office supply business that cannot send orders to its suppliers or invoices to its clients. Therefore, having a cloud-based EDI solution and a strong service level agreement (SLA) will bring peace of mind.
Using a cloud-based EDI platform brings many advantages. Migrating to such a solution should be considered by anyone in the office supply industry that is currently using an on-premises solution. The urgency is even greater now that more changes requested by business partners and tax authorities are sure to come.
Arnaud François is responsible for the French market, specializing in EDI, e-invoicing and master data management systems, at Comarch.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.