Supply Chain

B2B integration powers supply chain performance

Transportation issues, customs bottlenecks, lost shipments, oh my! With growing levels of supply chain complexity, global reach, and partner/supplier diversity, coupled with unexpected supply chain disruptions, it has become clear that the old ways, that is, the manual ways of doing business, will not suffice. A recent global IDC survey and report revealed that most organizations have increased their investments in B2B integration since the beginning of the pandemic. In this blog, we discuss the specific improvements IDC survey respondents made to gain supply chain performance benefits and build more resilient businesses.

B2B integration ties directly to improved revenue and profit performance

B2B integration is the process of connecting different business systems to automate and streamline data exchange. By digitizing supply chains and integrating B2B systems, organizations are increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and improving supply chain performance. In fact, IDC clearly demonstrates that digital supply chain maturity correlates highly with improved revenue and profit performance.

Manufacturing network concept

Cost and speed are clear benefits of B2B integration

An earlier IDC study of how B2B integration improves supply chain performance reported 156% shorter invoice processing time, 35% faster inventory turn, and a 3% improvement in perfect orders compared with manual processing. And a Stanford University study on B2B integration estimated that most companies save at least 40% in processing costs with B2B integration. These findings are in line with the recent IDC survey and report, whose survey respondents placed cost-related improvements as a number one benefit of B2B integration. Historically, companies employed additional staff for data entry and other manual processes to fill the gap resulting from outdated technology and siloed systems. Today, however, labor is becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find. Survey respondents also cited speed-related benefits such as faster time to market, inventory turnover rate, and reduced cash-to-cash cycle time.

Top EDI transactions that improve supply chain performance

The key to B2B integration is to focus efforts on a digital-first supply chain, including digitizing common pieces of information to allow for automation and a streamlined process. IDC survey respondents worldwide identified several forms of information that have improved their organization’s supply chain:

  • Product catalog, i.e., EDI 832: Digital product catalog information enables a streamlined process for updating product details and inventory levels. This, in turn, fosters better relationships with growing partner and supplier communities.
  • Advanced Ship Notice (ASN), i.e., EDI 856: A digital ASN means quick communication and confirmation of a shipment to a customer or a customs agency. At a time when speed and agility are more important than ever, the ability to quickly know the precise status of shipments is critical.
  • Price information, i.e., EDI 879: Similar to a product catalog, digitally sharing pricing information ensures this piece of information is accurate and timely.   
  • Customs documents, i.e., EDI 309, EDI 311:  Customs documents are cited as a main source of bottlenecks, but digital customs documents significantly improve supply chain performance.
  • Purchase orders, i.e., EDI 850: Purchase order information sent digitally can easily and accurately be adjusted as needed by the recipient and flipped into ASNs and invoices. 
  • Invoices, i.e., EDI 810: Electronic invoices are processed faster and with fewer errors, putting your accounts on the fast track to payment.

Get the IDC report to learn about:

  • Digital transformations of a broad range of companies
  • Regional and industry-specific considerations
  • Recommendations for managing the complexity of B2B and supply chain integration for your company

Download the full IDC Report

Naomi Skinner

As Senior Manager, Product Marketing for OpenText Business Network, Naomi leads product marketing efforts for B2B integration in the supply chain space as well as in healthcare. Experienced marketer across various industries, Naomi enjoys translating complex concepts into simple terms.

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