December 14, 2012

eBusiness Elements for Success

By Karen Kopala, Schneider Electric North America

eBusiness is changing the way manufacturers and distributors do business at every step in the supply chain (from procuring raw materials, manufacturing product and distributing it).

Market trends in the electrical industry indicate more concise data, product images and mobile and tablet access to this information is critical for doing business. Furthermore, as EDI (electronic data interchange) transaction set usage grows, it is important for a manufacturer to provide options and help with a planning strategy.

Transacting documents such as purchase orders, invoices and more via EDI is not a new process. In fact, Schneider Electric has been utilizing this eBusiness solution for more than 20 years.

“We allow for individualization by giving purchasers options to transmit their data electronically via EDI, Flat File or text-to-EDI.  It is important to understand the needs of the industry as well as help in defining future standards,” says Brenda Williams, Electronic Linkage Coordinator in the Quality Customer Care Center at Schneider Electric.

By consistently being engaged in the process to define standards, manufacturers and distributors can work towards improving efficiency on both sides of the transaction. Here are some key strategies Schneider Electric has found to make the transition from manual to EDI an easy and cost-efficient process.

Key Implementation Factors in EDI

First and foremost, each company involved in transmitting data electronically needs to prioritize the adoption and implementation of industry standards.  Key decision makers from both companies need to be involved from the beginning so that all the resources are in place for a smooth process to take place.  Setting clear expectations around EDI activities (e.g. offerings, requirements, prioritization and timelines) is a critical step in a successful implementation.  In addition, leveraging the sales team to encourage EDI usage and explain the benefits will streamline the project by enabling everyone to work smarter and more efficiently.  Lastly, quick responses to issues that arise throughout the process are important so that the process continues with minimal interruption from start to finish.

More Success Factors for EDI Implementation:


  • With  EDI/IT support teams to successfully implement projects
  • With leadership to get support and understand eBusiness strategy
  • With trading partners to set clear expectations


  • Dedication of time and resources 
  • Establish an understanding of business partners’ needs


  • Value the voice of your business partners
  • Be the voice of your company

Jeff Drees, US Country President of Schneider Electric, shares more eBusiness best practices in this video of the Executive Panel Session “Drawing a Line of Sight from E-Biz to the Corner Office” at the 2012 E-Biz Forum.

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