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The e-commerce race against the clock

“Time,” says Daniel Frohn, sales director at Smartbox Pro, “is one of the increasingly important factors in e-commerce in fast-paced times like these. In times of Amazon Prime and ebay PLUS, oftentimes mere minutes make a difference. Orders must be filled by 2:00 p.m. at the latest in order to reach customers on time. Without EDI, we would be unable to achieve this.” Following the EDI connection of its big client METRO early this year, Smartbox Pro has now automated its order processes predominantly for its online business using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). It was first successfully used in collaboration with “Handelsstaerke,” a new start-up business that sells Smartbox Pro products in its online shop “karton-billiger.de”.

The previously required labor-intensive manual data recording process is now fully automated thanks to EDI: orders (ORDERS) are transferred directly and thus without any delay from Handelsstaerke’s online shop to Smartbox via their ERP without prior consolidation or bundling. Smartbox then ships all products to clients, while despatch advices and invoices are issued by Handelsstaerke just like they were before. Daniel Frohn is enthusiastic about the considerable time savings his company has achieved since the introduction of EDI: “Now that our order receiving processes are fully automated, we can start working at our warehouse early, at 7:00 a.m. Before we started using EDI, we started at noon at the earliest because we had to process all orders manually.”

The benefits of increased time efficiency with EDI for e-commerce are clear, among others, in the case of very high order volumes, as the example of Smartbox Pro has shown. “Most of our e-commerce sales partners have an enormous amount of individual orders with low order value, which means that the work involved is high in relation to the value. Thanks to EDI, all manual data entry becomes obsolete, and we always have swift, accurate and low-effort processing even for high order volumes,” explains Daniel Frohn. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that the next EDI connection is just around the corner at Smartbox Pro: its sales partner “Verpackung Roper” will switch all logistics processes in 2016. Now that’s a promising outlook on the future!

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