How EDI stabilizes supply chains and security of supply

More than just a convenient data connection: EDI as an economic factor

B&R Industrial Automation is the global center for machine and factory automation in the ABB Group. Accordingly, the company develops the best solutions, from the product idea to implementation and after-sales. Following this claim, they have also automated their own business processes highly efficiently with DIG!

"We deal with a lot of orders every year," says Karl Aumayr, Head of IS Business Solutions, describing the situation. "This involves customers and suppliers of all sizes. In total, this involves around a quarter of a million documents, because we process all business documents right down to the invoice. Manually, this would mean an enormous amount of work, which we save with EDI." However, data exchange is not a one-way street for B&R: "EDI is also a timely offer to large customers and suppliers who actively demand it." And not without reason, because, "It's in the interaction that the true scope of this technology - and its potential for business - becomes apparent."

Short lead time - better performance

The time from receipt of the order to delivery of the goods is crucial: "Manually processing the order response can take two to three days. If this is done within minutes instead, it has an extremely positive impact on our production planning and ultimately also enables faster order confirmation or notification of the delivery date to our customers. This makes planning easier for everyone." B&R uses SAP at ERP level, where the EDI connection makes the entire procurement process more efficient: "The orders are sent directly to the supplier, the incoming order confirmations are compared fully automatically and transferred to the system. The same happens later with the electronic delivery bills." EDI therefore occupies a central position alongside eProcurement software in business automation.

No separate EDI department necessary

All incoming files are translated into the desired target formats via the DIG platform so that they can be easily processed by the ERP systems of the international subsidiaries. "We take care of the requirements for this data exchange at the headquarters in Austria," says Aumayr, outlining the process and highlighting the interaction with DIG: "We have installed a standard process for the EDI connections in order to handle the mapping efficiently. Knowing which fields are available and how we communicate with the professionals at DIG means that this runs very smoothly." Right from the start, connections are implemented within a few weeks - even internationally. Almost 20 different formats are used. "Once you've handled all the usual ones, it's no longer a big challenge; really new formats are rarely added."

The benefits of EDI depend on the business model

"The extent to which EDI can support our processes also depends on the intended use of the ordered material," Aumayr introduces, pointing out the differences between anonymous warehouse production and individual make-to-order production. "In the latter case, the direct 1:1 reference of all documents brings significant advantages." Overall, a faster exchange of information has potential for the entire economy, but it always depends on the respective business model of the company: "The benefits of EDI are certainly greater in series production than in project business. EDI also definitely has advantages in areas that operate according to the first-come-first-served principle." The classification of a delivery as urgent and important also influences the importance of fast data exchange. At B&R, with its automated generation of orders based on production planning, the benefits extend all the way to confirming delivery dates to customers.

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