EDI: Supply Chain towards Automation

Automatic data exchange is essential in some industrial fields, such as Automotive or White goods.

In these type of businesses, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) plays a main role, especially for two reasons: the great amount of data to exchange, which justifies an investment in an automatic data exchange system; and the increasing reactivity of these industries, since the current market demands faster and faster reaction times. Not to mention the transformation of supply chain into a more sophisticated system, which includes types of contracts like supplier vendor banking or consignment stock.

Moreover, EDI affects multiple corporate functions and it can regard both data input and output.

Over the years, communication standards have been created as a response to such a manifold reality in order to provide enterprises with one only language of communication. These standards have been defined according to geographical distribution (Italian, French, German market, etc.) or industrial sector (White goods, Automotive, etc.).

At present, the main standards in effect in Europe are:

  • EDIFACT: mainly used by French Automotive companies (PSA, Renault) and some German ones
  • VDA: used in the German market (Mercedes, Daimler, BMW, Porsche)
  • ODETTE: used in Italy (FCA Group)
  • EDIWHITE: used in white goods sectors


However, companies not always use a standard in the same way. In fact, sometimes they modify the language according to their logistic or informative needs.

EDI allows large industrial groups to save great amount of time and this is the main reason for which their suppliers must adapt their systems to EDI exchanges. From this adjustment, suppliers can only benefit in terms of time-saving for data entry at medium to longer horizon.

As for industrial functions affected by EDI, the most involved ones are:

  1. Commercial area
    • Reception of manufacturing executive quantities in terms of Sale Scheduling
    • KanBan calls reception
    • Forecast quantities reception
    • Sale invoices dispatch to final customer
    • Selfinvoicing reception from final customer
  2.  Planning and Supply Chain
    •  Forecast quantities dispatch
    •  KanBan calls dispatc
  3. Warehouses
    • Dispatch and reception of warehouse discounts from/to an advanced operating base
    • Dispatch and reception of picking movements from/to an advanced operating base
    • Shipping data dispatch to final customer
    • Shipping reception from supplier
    • Dispatch and reception of containers used for the exchange between suppliers and customer
  4. Administration
    • Invoices reception from supplier

In the context of data flows, Sorma have decided to integrate them with the ERP system, so that the user manages manually just a few operations.

Moreover, since an EDI automatic system is useful only in case of great amount of data, Sorma noticed that also medium and small companies were interested in alternative data exchange systems. Therefore, Sorma has developed a Customer Portal and a Supplier Portal, successfully adding the IUNGO Mail system within its ERP.

Although these instruments cannot be considered as EDI systems, since data exchange requires the intervention of a user, they have proved to be fruitful in terms of customer/supplier data transmission via web.