Through two applications, IDEA Exchange and IDEA Connector, both offered by Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA), manufacturers and distributors can achieve greater efficiencies and higher profits, a new white paper, The eBusiness and Economic Benefits of Data Synchronization, shows.
IDEA Exchange is an electronic data interchange that enables members to exchange purchase orders, invoices and advance ship notices with their suppliers and customers. IDEA Connector is a master data management platform that allows manufacturers to share data with their distributors from one centralized location in a standardized electronic format. Manufacturers can use IDEA Connector to send messages about upcoming price changes, holiday closures, product updates, name changes and other information to their distributors.
Using the applications, “Purchase orders, invoices, special price authorizations, and hundreds of other business communications can all be sent securely and cost-effectively over the internet,” according to the white paper.
The benefits include:
- Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty,
- Improved productivity, including personnel cost savings,
- Increased marketing effectiveness and return on investment,
- Fewer errors in transactions and orders,
- Stronger relationships with partners,
- Ability to bring products to market faster,
- Ability to reach more customers and prospects, and
- Ability to upsell and cross-sell more products.
Industries and supply chains continue to become more reliant on good data. “We are seeing multiple substantive changes in the supply chain where data synchronization, sharing and electronic communication are having significant impacts on the businesses,” the white paper notes.
With the applications, there’s the potential to achieve more productivity with a smaller staff. “Productivity savings means that people are able to devote more time to high-value activities, which sell more products and services and which dramatically increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. These activities have a direct positive impact on revenues, profit and growth,” the white paper explains.
The biggest companies are likely to reap the most benefit from the apps. “While even small manufacturers and distributors achieve significant economic benefits, as organizations grow through organic growth or by consolidation, it is apparent that larger organizations benefit even more dramatically due to having more products, more customers and more transactions,” according to the white paper. [see chart]
Customers now expect a high level of ease and convenience in business transactions, ever since online shopping became pervasive. “E-commerce customers want intuitive, easy-to-navigate ordering platforms, together with high-quality, product data and visibility into inventory availability, [and] a variety of fulfillment options,” the white paper notes.
The annual subscription for IDEA Connector costs between $10,000 and $75,000, depending on the size of the organization’s product catalog. The annual costs for IDEA Exchange range from approximately $7,500 for the smallest customers to more than $150,000 for the largest ones, depending on the volume of data transported over the network.