If you have ever lost a day to doing inventory, you know how painful that manual process is, and how much productivity is lost to that essential task. But you can’t sell what you don’t have so you grin and bear it and fight your way through it. Now magnify that process (and pain) across all your Suppliers, just to ensure the inventory levels you have listed in your spreadsheets match their count.
The question then becomes how do you maintain accurate inventory listings and levels on your web site? One client confessed that the process of reconciling inventory levels and prices takes so much time they prohibit their suppliers from making more than one price change per month. Imagine being locked into a set price for 30 days when market demand soars and you could sell it for more!
So what if you were to automate the entire process and configure a system to manage those levels and prices for you? Catalog management is rationally done through spreadsheet exchange and email, but some more mature systems can use EDI. Whether it’s your own inventory or a virtual warehouse, you can’t afford to offer products that once ordered, can’t be fulfilled. Nor can you underestimate your inventory or have a non-competitive price and miss the market with all the other vendors fighting for a space in your industry.
Purchase orders, advance shipment Notices, and invoices are critical to the supply chain. These can be handled and integrated as either emails or EDI documents into an ERP system such as Dynamics GP, or Order Management Systems (OMS) such as Order Motion, or a shopping cart such as Magento or Nexternal. But did you know that there are EDI standards for Product Feeds (832) and Inventory Feeds with Pricing (846) as well? If your supplier has the information in their system, it can be extracted to these formats and handled easily by most solutions. Some systems even allow suppliers to provide content as a feed, so when you list the product on your website it contains the supplier’s information, saving you the time of entering images or rich data you need. And if a full EDI solution is more than you need, some solutions also allow the Suppliers to send flat files (in an agreed upon CSV format) to make it even easier.