August 18th, 2020

How many of your partners are small and medium-sized? If you fall into the majority, your answer should be around 80%. But why is this important?

Achieving a digital supply chain requires majority participation, with EDI solutions for all partners involved (including EDI solutions for small businesses). If you look critically at where your organization spends the majority of its time when it comes to document exchange, you’ll quickly find that the bulk of your workload comes from smaller partners. First, because most of your partners are small businesses (around 50%). Second, because they don’t have the same advanced capabilities as your large partners, who likely exchange documents with you electronically and are already aiding in your digital supply chain transformation efforts.  

Medium-sized partners are often somewhere in the middle. While some may exchange documents with you electronically, placing them in your (hopefully expanding) digital supply network, others are more in line with small partners. Because of this, you likely enter the majority of your purchase orders, invoices, delivery notes, and more into your ERP or other system manually. This definitely isn’t ideal if you’re trying to adopt the digital supply chain trends that are giving your competitors a sizeable advantage.

Small and medium-sized partners long tail challenge

Short-Term Time to Value (TTV)

If you’re looking to enter the realm of supply chain digitalization and automate your document exchange processes, one of the main reasons is probably because you want to save time—aside from becoming more competitive in your industry, that is. However, this task is often a bit intimidating. Even though you know it will be worth it in the end, it typically takes years to get all of your partners on board with changing the way they’re used to doing business with you. In other words, the supplier onboarding process flow isn’t always so smooth. In that case, time to value (TTV) is hardly realized on the short-term. But if your organization is ready for digital transformation in your supply chain and you have a clear goal in mind, why should you have to rely on every single one of your partners to achieve that goal?

We'll let you in on a secret: You don't have to wait. All of your large partners and some of your medium-sized partners already exchange documents with you electronically (over 20%). Your remaining partners already have some sort of digital capabilities. For most, this is simply their ability to send and/or receive PDF documents, which also doubles as their preferred method of document exchange. This means your partners are already on board with your digital supply chain transformation plan, you just didn't know it until now.

Digital Supply Chain Transformation on Your Own Time

No matter how advanced they may seem, small and medium-sized partners are almost exactly where you want them to be; all they need is a helping hand. With the right EDI solution for small businesses, these partners don’t have to change a thing in their day-to-day—and neither do you. If you’re ready to expand your digital supply network and up the value of your supply chain while saving time and cutting costs, a little market research never hurts. Digital supply chain transformation is achievable on the short term; we’ve seen it time and time again with our customers. But it’s only possible when you’re not spending all of your time on manual processes with the majority of your partners.