Many small business owners in the UK are feeling the pressure to learn how to set up EDI (electronic data interchange). The trend to digitize previously paper-based business transactions has been steadily growing for years and has accelerated in the wake of COVID-19. Today, retailers, such as Marks and Spencer in the UK, prefer or even require that all suppliers be EDI savvy.
Marks and Spencer Group (commonly abbreviated to M&S) is a major British multinational retailer with headquarters in London, England, that specialises in selling clothing, home products and food products, mostly of its own label. Marks and Spencer has over 900 stores across the UK, including over 600 that only sell food products. To be stocked in Marks and Spencer, all suppliers—even small businesses—need to setup a preferred Marks and Spencer supplier relationship.
EDI document requirements for Marks and Spencer suppliers
From EDI purchase orders to EDI payments and everything in between, large UK retailers such as Marks and Spencer increasingly expect their suppliers to exchange all types of business transactions via EDI. The most common EDI documents exchanged are:
- EDI purchase orders
- EDI invoices
- EDI advance ship notices (EDI ASN)
But there are many other documents that are routinely exchanged via EDI, such as bills of lading, and documents containing information about customs, inventory, and shipping status, as well as EDI payments. EDI can vary based on industry, too, but pretty much any type of business-to-business transaction can be translated into EDI for a more automated and efficient process.
Improve business efficiency while meeting Marks and Spencer EDI supplier requirements
By switching from manual, paper-based transactions to digital EDI transactions, you not only meet Marks and Spencer EDI supplier requirements, but you also gain the benefits of EDI for your own business. EDI is the first step toward automating many of your internal business-to-business processes, which removes the potential of human error, improves data quality, shortens the business cycle and reduces the overall cost of doing business.
These and many more benefits should be reason enough to get excited about converting your business-to-business program to EDI. However, many small to mid-size businesses see the change to new digital processes as a necessary burden of doing business with Marks and Spencer and digital transformation can seem daunting. Many small business owners might not know where to start.
How to choose the best Marks and Spencer EDI solution for your small business
There are many things to consider when searching for the best Marks and Spencer EDI solution. You will want to choose a trusted, reliable partner that has been in the business for many years and that continues to invest in their EDI solution with forward-thinking features for saving time and money. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that migration to the new EDI solution can be performed quickly and without much disruption to your ongoing business and that the technology is easy to use, even for novice users.
OpenText™ Freeway Cloud provides an easy and affordable Marks and Spencer EDI solution for small to mid-size businesses, for users who might not have EDI expertise. Built on an EDI platform that has been enabling small business B2B connectivity in the UK for more than 20 years, Freeway Cloud enables users to onboard trading partners and new mandates quickly while also optimizing business with automated processes, such as one-step packing, enhanced pick and pack, cross-docking and drop-shipping capabilities.