“Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock n roll”…
Loggins and Messina (Kenny and Jim, respectively) wrote (and sang?) a bunch of years ago. It was the year of the Bicentennial, no less. 30 years ago… Wow. I remember yesterday.
But I digress – like that’s anything new…?
But they sang that so many years ago about somebody that was kind of un-cool, un-hip, not-with-it and behind the times. Or, rather, their parents were.
But this can also be used today – right now – when talking about EDI. We all know that EDI has been around for a number of years now – since the 80s. A few years later than we heard about non-dancing mamas and daddies not into rock n roll… Many of the standards we use today – ANSI/X12, UN-EDIFACT and TRADACOMS (to name a few) – all started out in the early to mid eighties. And, in reality, none of them have changed drastically in the intervening years.
Sure, they’ve updated and changed some, but, again, not drastically so. The basic concepts still exist. There have been some new documents, some new segments and elements; and there have been some documents, segments and elements that have left, for sure, but they’re still pretty much the same. For example, ANSI/X12 is updated almost every year, with changes, deletions and alterations made. Chances are pretty good that TRADACOMS and UN-EDIFACT have changed some, too, since their introduction, but all of these changes have been “evolutionary” rather than “revolutionary” for all of the standards.
But EDI still isn’t the only way to trade documents back and forth. We’ve still got retailers and suppliers that will continue to send paper documents – POs, Ship Notices, Invoices, and more – back and forth via the fax, using e-mail, snail-mail and other ways of getting the data from source to destination; from A to B, a side trip to H and then back again.
A lot of times, though, we’re dealing with smaller companies – those mom-n-pop establishments that don’t see or feel the need for EDI in their world. It works just fine for them to call up ABC Company and tell them “send us 100 widgets, please, PO number 12345” and get those 100 widgets in a few days, weeks or whenever they’ve asked for them to be delivered. And then ABC Company will send them a paper invoice after that and mom-n-pop will send them a check.
Mom-n-pop certainly are not dancing and rock-n-rolling. Instead, they’re waltzing; or doing the Charleston. They’re still going “old school” and processing things the way they know how. But what if we COULD get mom-n-pop to dance and rock-n-roll? What if they could move forward into the 21st century and start doing that new-fangled “e-commerce thing”…? Are there ways…?
There are a number of EDI “service providers” out there – from big to small – SPS, DI Central, Softshare, Red Tail, and even the big networks and VANs offer some kind of small-scale EDI program – via the web or a desktop application. It allows mom to get her boogie on and dad can let his hair down and rock out! They’re living “Life In The Fast Lane” (The Eagles).
“Who’s Zooming Who?” (Aretha Franklin). And that’s just it, too. Who IS zooming who? Who is it that decided that mom-n-pop should be doing EDI – should be rocking, rolling and dancing to a new tune…? Was it their own decision or the decision of “somebody else”..?
Mom-n-pop – instead of being a retailer – are they a small supplier of some great product? Do they offer up some excellent product – that they – and only they – make to such exacting standards and at such an excellent price-point that the Wal*Marts and Targets and Big Lots of the world are snatching up those widgets at such a great price and rate? Was it that 800 to 8000 lb gorilla in the room that “forced” mom-n-pop to zoom along that EDI Highway?
The great thing is that EDI can and will help mom-n-pop to become more productive and better equipped to handle business here in 2008 – and beyond – by giving them the tools they need to get the job done, get their widgets out there and stay afloat in this – often times – unsettlingly sinking economy.
When you think about it, though, a lot of those mom-n-pop businesses and stores have grown – whether with EDI or not – by using new tools and features that become available. They’ve moved from being on “The Flintstones” to being more with “The Jetsons”. They’ve embraced the new technologies – as they’ve come to market – to better themselves and their businesses. But now mom-n-pop have many stores across a region – or they’ve begun production of their newest product – the Widgette – and opened up an overseas factory to help out with production. They’re now an 80 lb gorilla in the world.
But then they hit upon another stumbling block and they lose that step and the rhythm. Mom-n-pop now have to deal with the realities of ASNs and carton labels (aka UCC-128 labels). Since the order is not being sent directly to the factory – or, even if it is – the factory can’t print out those carton labels or maybe they make those widgets for more than just mom-n-pop. So now they – mom-n-pop – have to get those labels generated and somehow they have to get attached to the cartons!
Enter some world-wide document and package delivery service and the printed labels are stuck in an envelope and mailed (basically!) to MNP Factory, LLC. And now somebody in the factory needs to know just what to do with those labels – and it ain’t put them in the round file! – and match them to the cartons of product that mom-n-pop have ordered! And get them all correct and perfect! AND they have to figure out how to create that ASN for you, too.
But, still. Mama can dance and dad is out there rocking. And EDI is what helped them.
Author: Craig Dunham – EDI Coordinator Read more about Craig here: http://editalk.com/contributors/