How Did Electronic Data Interchange Help Businesses Pivot During COVID-19 Pandemic?

Delivery man holding parcel box and wearing protective mask and giving the OK sign with his fingers

By Molly Goad

During the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed that electronic data interchange (EDI) helped businesses overcome many challenges. 

Companies faced supply issues, as lockdowns and closures halted production. When things got up and running again, manufacturers had to account for frequent staff shortages due to workers contracting the illness or quarantining. It became clear that pandemic setbacks weren’t going away. 

But EDI equals communication, and during tough times, the highest level of communication is crucial. EDI services give companies a direct line to the procurement team — the people who are in the know about any production delays. During the ups and downs of 2020, business plans were often adjusted with the swift knowledge that a certain part or product was hard to come by. 

Now that we are more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good time to pause for a little self-reflection. I’d love to hear from you and share a compilation of experiences on this blog. Answer one question, all, or none. There are no rules here. 

1) As a business owner, how did you pivot?

Pivot is a buzzword that saw an uptick in usage in 2020. Companies all over the world pivoted: distilleries produced hand sanitizer, a recycling company saved jobs by shifting to face-shield manufacturing, and struggling restaurants got creative. (My favorite local pizzeria sold pizza “kits” with all the trimmings so you could make their delicious ‘za safely at home.)

What changes did you make to your business model? Even tiny changes can make a big difference during unprecedented times.  

2) With today’s knowledge, what would you have done differently? 

Think back to March 2020, when uncertainty, fear, and trepidation were in the air. Hindsight is always 20/20, so what would you have changed during those first few weeks to get ahead of the game? (I might have bought a trampoline or an outdoor heater before they became hard to come by.) 

3) What are you super proud of?

In what areas did you knock it out of the park? With my children at home 24/7, I incorporated them in my writing when appropriate. If I had to decide between two topics for a column, I explained the choices and we took a vote. They were tickled to be included and I felt like a super-hero working mom. 

4) How did EDI help you weather the storm? 

Were setbacks flagged immediately in your system? I’d love to hear what worked beautifully and what needed finessing. Many of our customers praised the visibility our Distribution Enablement System (DES) offered when production was unpredictable. 

Share Your Story

So, what’s your story? I’d love to hear all about it! Comment on this post via LinkedIn to add to the discussion. (I’ll be dishing out the gold stars!)

Related Reading

For related articles, check out:

Let DES Handle All Your Shipping Need

Correcting Warehouse Inefficiencies with DES

How to slash your EDI/VAN overhead during the pandemic

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