An alert on the PC screen notifies the user that a new order has come in. Automatically, the entire supply chain starts up. In the warehouse, the items are prepared and packaged, ready for shipping out on the next trip. Staff give notice through a simple tablet to carriers, who load up the order and bring it to its destination. Everything takes place swiftly and electronically, with hardly any human involvement.
In recent years, the supply chain sector has witnessed an important technological evolution. Companies have gone from moving thousands of tons of paper each year to a system in which virtually the entire process is performed digitally. The goal? To cut down the number of mistakes and be more efficient, in order to minimize costs and provide data service to customers.
But the paperless revolution goes beyond the electronic interchange of documents such as delivery notes, invoices or order sheets. The new solutions in EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), a technology now widely used in this sector, provide traceability in each phase of the supply chain. This means that you can automatically detect the status of orders. This way, the customer can receive updated information at all times on estimated delivery times. Then, once the order has been received, confirmation is again sent by electronic means.
Traceability is one of the main values provided by the technology in this field. In fact, some customs and tax administrations now require logistics companies to notify goods movements in real time, to improve control over business operations. This is the case of Portugal or Hungary, for example. Moreover, freight communications are also beginning to spread to the aviation sector with the IATA initiatives, designed to automate the exchange of information between freight forwarders, airlines and customs through XML messages.
Implementing technological solutions
Several large logistics companies like DHL, TNT or FCC use EDI solutions in their day-to-day business operations. The evolution of this system now allows a quick start-up and an economic cost that soon pays off. And automation, cutting out errors and less use of paper have led to a drastic reduction in costs.
In addition, thanks to EDI platforms integrated with the ERP, it is no longer necessary to modify internal processes. Staff continue to work with the same system, but with a difference: transactions take place unassisted, quickly and efficiently, which means they can manage large volumes within a short space of time.