SARS EDI Policy (Executive Summary)

The rise in worldwide competition has concentrated businesses’ minds to develop better ways of managing the flow of raw materials, stocks and finished goods through the supply chain. Electronic Data interchange or EDI addresses the information flow processes within these complex systems. EDI is a vital tool available to every business allowing them to conduct their transactions electronically for increased efficiency and productivity. The ability to gain accurate timely data about the movement of goods and to communicate it unambiguously has transformed management information systems.

However, it is important to understand that EDI cannot be viewed as a strictly technical MIS project. EDI is not a technology but a tool that can effectively be used to redesign information driven business processes. EDI should not be an end in itself, the effort of implementation should be directed at enabling suppliers to meet their customers’ requirements consistently and reliably via a mutually cost-effective supply chain. This, with the understanding that each company is both a supplier and a customer as it faces both up and down a particular supply chain.

For every organisation, the successful implementation of EDI will be a multi-disciplinary project requiring a high level commitment not only from upper management but from a broad spectrum of functional managers responsible for different areas of activity. Corporate policies and procedures will need to be examined, current functional procedures may require revision and new business relationships will be established and managed. At the center of the system lies the better use and sharing of information internally and between trading partners so that dependency can be more informed and reliable.

Companies are not part of a single supply chain but rather form networks of chains with common points of interconnection, often transcending sectoral boundaries. The individuality of particular supply chains has to be acknowledged with the understanding that a common approach is of benefit to all when analysing the means of improving operations. The use of UN/EDIFACT standards are a vital part of the overall improved business process. Working together, effectively building trading partnerships is essential. The benefits and risks are mutual. Reductions in costs and gains in efficiency, however these are measured, have to benefit both supplier and customer if long term development and improvement are to take place.

To learn more about EDI and become a certified  EDI Professional please visit our course schedule page.

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