We worked with a client who, like many organizations, was running multiple EDI processes to communicate with customers and vendors. They were experiencing a number of pain points in their EDI environment, however. The main challenge was that their EDI environment contained duplicated software tools and business processes. This resulted in tasks taking too long to complete. As an example, things like adding a new customer or making changes to an existing customer’s information were taking an extraordinary amount of time to complete
Managing their day-to-day activities was laborious as the processes had multiple points of failure that required the help of multiple people to fix. Because of these hiccups, they were spending too much time and money on supporting their EDI environment. Additionally, the organization wasn’t sure that they had the right mix of skills and resources working within the EDI environment.
This client already knew that the technology layers were in bad shape, but they wanted a second opinion. Our team took a look and analyzed how to approach these issues in a Business Process Review of their EDI instance.
The Business Process Review
For any BPR, our process includes spending some time on-site with our client investigating the people, technology, and processes at play.
Starting with the people, our team spent a few weeks interviewing both executives and those people on the front lines of EDI processes. This included getting an idea of the skill sets of those on the client team and determining where their strengths lie. From there, we compiled a matrix of skills and resources.
From there we evaluated things at the technology level, including the different tool sets the client was using. We found that they had some duplicate tools running, so we investigated the strengths and abilities of those tools to figure out which should stay and which could be replaced or removed.
Finally, we took a deep dive into their EDI processes to get a better idea of what their environment looked like. From setting up new customers and documents, reviewing the documents being traded, and troubleshooting processes that weren’t as efficient as they could be, we spend more time evaluating the processes than anything else.
We took that assessment of the people, technology, and processes and gave each item a red, yellow, or green score, along with explanations for those scores. From there, our team assembled a matrix of 20 recommendations of things to do moving forward. With the client team’s input, each recommendation was ranked low to high on effort to implement and impact to the business. To begin making changes, we recommended starting with those recommendations ranked as high impact, low effort.
With the priorities identified, we put together a timeline of next steps in terms of weeks, months, and quarters, as well as which recommendations could be completed internally and which would require outside help.
By following those straightforward steps, our client now has a plan to improve processes and technology, consolidate their environments, and make their infrastructure more straightforward. They also know which business processes need improving and what training is required for their team.
This is an assessment that our team can do for any client, and any EDI customer should at least think about doing one. By evaluating your current people, technology, and processes, you gain a better understanding of what’s working and what isn’t. With those specifics sorted out, you can better plan for future improvements.