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Digitalization in the automotive industry

automobilindustrie supply chain

Digitalization experts in the automotive supply chain

The automotive sector has always been at the forefront of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The continuously growing exchange of business documents among business partners has helped to continuously refine and perfect this proven technology for the digitalization of the supply chain. Thanks to 40 years of experience, the international EDI service provider EDITEL knows what matters: ensuring that business partners around the world understand the messages, for which the use of uniform standards is key. Customized web portal solutions for connecting suppliers are also in increasingly high demand.

The beginnings of EDI and EDITEL date back to the 1980s. Even back then, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between retail chains and their suppliers significantly improved data quality, planning reliability, and cost efficiency. The automotive sector with its highly complex supply chain very quickly discovered the benefits of EDI and has been an innovation driver ever since. As part of this development, industry-specific standards were introduced: VDA, for instance, is widely used in Germany, while GALIA is used in France, ODETTE throughout Europe, and ANSI X.12 in the USA.

Connecting the entire supply pyramid

In order for supply chains to function smoothly, constant and error-free communication between vehicle manufacturers (OEM) and the supplier industry is essential. Technically demanding production methods such as just-in-time (JIT) and just-in-sequence (JIS) add another layer of complexity. Ideally, everybody in the supply chain, independently of their place in the supplier hierarchy (OEM and Tier 1 to Tier 3 suppliers), are connected to each other. Distributors should also be involved. In the automotive industry, EDI documents such as call-offs, delivery notifications, despatch advices, goods receipt confirmations, and invoices are exchanged internationally. And yet, many more options are available, ranging from the management and optimization of business processes with business monitoring all the way to audit-proof document archiving.

There are several approaches for the integration of EDI into a company’s internal processes. EDITEL, an EDI service provider, has been meeting and exceeding its business partners’ expectations for more than 40 years. Many well-known brands (Toyota, Skoda, Futaba, Alpine, etc.) in the automotive sector use EDITEL. Clients appreciate the swift and uncomplicated connection (onboarding) of new business partners to allow for EDI communication. The same is true for portal-based solutions customized to clients’ needs.

Customized web portal solution by EDITEL

Integration into the company’s internal supply chain processes is the most efficient option for EDI users. This allows for the exchange of EDI messages with all business partners with one mouse click using the company’s own software. As a result, the speed of order processing increases substantially while the room for error decreases significantly. The incoming data is fed into the company’s own software via interfaces for immediate processing.
In addition to integrated solutions, EDITEL offers customized web portal solutions specifically designed for large companies which enable small suppliers and business partners to use EDI and be part of the data exchange. Numerous OEMs have already implemented such tailor-made web portal solutions in collaboration with EDITEL. These are available as an additional service for all business partners of OEMs who do not have an integrated EDI connection, allowing for seamless EDI communication.

Best practice at Toyota

The Czech automaker Toyota Motor Manufacturing Czech Republic (TMMCZ), a subsidiary of the world’s largest carmaker, has been working with EDITEL since early 2016. Data migration from the previous solution to EDITEL’s EDI service was the first step. The seamless onboarding of business partners is an integral part of such a migration process. TMMCZ chose a web EDI portal tailored specifically to the needs of the company’s suppliers. Once that initial step was completed, 250 suppliers received assistance during the onboarding process. With the use of this portal, TMMCZ was able to reduce its costs and eliminate the additional work along the production chain that was previously caused by errors stemming from manual data entry. After initially focusing on the exchange of traditional EDI and logistics documents, the company subsequently added despatch advices, forecasts, and invoicing documents. JIT call-offs via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) are also used.

National and international expertise

EDITEL’s Austrian headquarters are centrally located in Austria, which allows the company to combine its international experience with its thorough knowledge of local markets. EDITEL’s services also include 24/7 emergency technical support, regardless of the provider a company’s business partners use. However, there are many reasons to choose EDITEL. More than 20,000 companies worldwide have already done so.

Symbolphoto copyright iStock, Photo credit Rainer Plendl
Graphic copyright EDITEL Austria GmbH

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