Countdown to the Odette Annual Conference and Exhibition

The most significant technological and logistic event for the automotive industry is coming soon. On November 30 and December 1, the Odette Annual Conference and Exhibition is being held in Munich, with EDI and e-invoicing as two of the main features. The EDICOM team will be on hand at stand number 11 to demonstrate the latest trends in this field.

From the outset, electronic data interchange has been linked with the automobile industry. In fact, Santiago Estival, Key Account Manager at EDICOM, defines EDI as “an indispensable tool for the automotive sector.” The ‘Just in time’ working system requires real-time communication among several stakeholders with highly variable technological capabilities.

Today, EDI is widely used in all automotive companies, from large companies to smaller suppliers. However, the needs of a multinational are very different to those of a tier 4 supplier. To this end, specific solutions for each type of company have been developed.

At the Annual Odette Expo, the EDICOM team will be demonstrating ERP-integrated EDI platforms, multi-standard, multi-protocol and internationally oriented. Through them, large-scale clients such as Nissan or Michelin can automate all their communications with partners around the world. But there will also be room for web-based solutions aimed at small-scale suppliers, which are lower cost but ready to connect with all kinds of trading partners in real-time.

In the automotive industry, choosing a good EDI platform is key to the proper running of the business. As sector specialist Santiago Estival explains, in this area “We work with many highly specialized suppliers who, in practice, operate as one company, so if a part is not delivered at the right time the entire assembly line is held up.” Hence the need for fluid and uninterrupted communication.

Towards electronic invoicing

Although the automotive sector has traditionally exchanged logistics messages, e-invoicing is gradually being added to this repertoire. On the one hand, due to the statutory requirement laid down by many States worldwide. On the other, thanks to simplification of the process and the economic savings it represents.

In this sense, EDICOM will be showing visitors the international e-invoicing platform, a solution able to automate the creation, transmission, receipt and storage of these documents anywhere in the world.

Visit the Odette Annual Conference and Exhibition

Registrations for the event can now be made via the Odette website. The event takes place on November 30 and December 1 at the Munich City Centre Holiday Inn. In addition, those who wish to do so may apply for a live demonstration of EDICOM solutions using this contact form.

What is the e-billing situation in Austria?

Austria is one of the European countries with compulsory e-billing with the public sector firmly in place. Since January 2014, all providers of goods and services to the Administration must use this system in their business relations, regardless of the value of their contracts. The aim is to cut down the use of paper and speed up operations to boost economic savings.

Estimates calculate that more than half of the country’s companies, some 90,000, do business with the public or government sector. This explains why use of the technology has spread so rapidly. With e-invoicing, costs are reduced by 70% compared to the traditional paper-based process, which translates as an annual saving for the State of approximately €7 million euros.

Technical features

As is occurring on a global scale, the Austrian government has its own electronic invoicing model, covered by the IKTKonG law. This standard supports two different formats. On one hand, the one known as ebInterface, an XML standard developed by AUSTRIAPRO and the University of Vienna. On the other, the PEPPOL international standard, created by the OpenPEPPOL association and used in other European regions such as Italy (Emilia-Romagna), Denmark, and soon the UK.

These formats also provide the option of sending bills to the administration through two different channels:

  • Via Unternehmensserviceportal or USP (Business Service Portal ). This is the best choice for companies wishing to use the ebInterface standard. Depending on each company’s particular features, the regulation provides for issuance of invoices by this method in three different alternatives:
  • Fill in a form in the portal and send it online. This is a suitable option for businesses that occasionally work with the Administration and only need to send one invoice, as the process is carried out manually and mistakes may be made.
  • Upload invoices manually. In this case, the process consists of creating invoices according to the standard demanded, using a free application and subsequently uploading them to the portal.
  • Creating and developing a “web service”. This is the ideal alternative for companies that frequently engage in commercial relations with the Administration It consists of hiring the services of an outside provider, such as EDICOM, which creates the e-invoices in line with the required standard and automatically forwards them to the public sector.

A global solution

Like Austria, other European countries including Italy, Spain and Portugal have already rolled out e-invoicing in their administrations. Others, like France or Germany, are scheduled to do so soon. Each of these regions requires compliance with different technical and legal characteristics. This is why multinationals are faced with a considerable challenge.

To make adaptation easier and maximize the benefits of this system, EDICOM has developed an international e-invoicing platform aligned with the requirements laid down in more than 60 countries worldwide, including Austria. Through this ERP-integrated solution, companies can create invoices, dispatch them and connect with the government agencies as needed, totally automatically.

Swedish central government to require PEPPOL use as of 2018

Swedish financial management body ESV has announced the rollout of e-procurement for central government agencies. As specified in the published regulation, by November 2018 these organizations must be able to use the PEPPOL platform and be registered as PEPPOL BIS recipients in the Metadata Publication Service (SMP).

The Swedish e-procurement strategy will be applied to order messages and invoicing. The aim is to encourage trade relations, remove barriers and streamline communications between the public sector and businesses. Additionally, e-management procedures will be automated and economic costs reduced.

Since 2008, the Swedish Public Administration has gradually switched over to paperless processes. This year, central government agencies have already adopted e-invoicing, and in 2014, all organizations with more than 50 employees were processing electronic orders. The big news from 2018 is the mandatory use of the PEPPOL standard.

Other initiatives

In addition to the EVS in Sweden, the UK National Health Service and the Emilia Romagna region in Italy have also rolled out e-procurement initiatives with the PEPPOL standard. As this is a common standard in Europe, its use will promote interoperability as well as cross- border trade for businesses and public administrations.

All actors affected by the regulation published by the Swedish Government must engage the services of an Accredited Access Point such as EDICOM. In other words, a provider certified to operate with the PEPPOL network, who will validate the standardized documents and deliver them correctly to this platform.

EDI ACADEMY – The origin of electronic data interchange

EDI or Electronic Data Interchange
is one of the technologies most widely used internationally in business. This system signalled a before and after in the trade relations of multiple economic sectors. This is why today we are launching the EDI Academy, a new weekly section to keep you up-to-date on everything surrounding this tool.

Back to the past

In the first instalment of the series, we go back in time to find out the origins of electronic data interchange. But first of all, it is important to define what EDI is. This is a technology that allows sharing of business information and documents between companies remotely, in a standardized and secure environment.

EDI came into being in the 60s with the aim of doing away with paper and fostering automation of business processes. Bear in mind that exchanging documents on paper is slow and difficult to manage, entails mistakes and requires a large storage space. But beyond that, the main issue is its high cost.

In those days, with the technology still in its infancy, there was a great variety of processors, operating systems and protocols. This made transactions between the different companies complicated. So, at the end of the 60s, work began in the United States on the search for a standard.

Automotive industry companies, which needed to change a huge amount of information for the supply chain to work successfully, formed the Transport Data Coordinating Committee (TDCC). This was the first step towards the creation, in 1979, of the American National Standards Institute ANSI X12 standard.

Following this rule, in the 80s a new milestone in the history of EDI appeared. A United Nations task force known as Working Party 4 created an international standard, which has become one of the most widely used nowadays: EDIFACT.

What was EDI like in the beginning?

Initially, in the 80s, EDI was based on simple one-page forms and basic transactions. The data structure used was very elementary (non-nested) and messages were transmitted slowly. This was compounded by the fact that part of the process was performed manually. This meant that only small document volumes could be sent.

Ultimately, we can say that in those days EDI was a limited use and not very versatile system. However, with the advent of the Internet, its implementation quickly spread. Internet made data exchange a fast and automatic technology, which enabled businesses to communicate in real-time and do away with paper-based transactions.

What is EDI like today?

EDI is currently used in all kinds of sectors, businesses and countries. The standardized nature of the system makes it possible to connect seamlessly with any partner and integrate the various messages usually exchanged in a commercial relationship (purchase orders, invoices, inventory reports, despatch advices, delivery notes etc.) into the IT system. In other words, EDI has come to replace other media such as fax, mail or e-mail.

Conceptually, the way the technology works is quite simple, especially in large and medium-sized companies that develop integration procedures. Business documents are generated in the company’s ERP or internal IT system. EDI software is integrated with the company’s IT system and identifies the transaction type and recipient. Automatically, the message is “translated” into the standard required by the recipient company (EDIFACT, ANSI, X12, etc.) and forwarded via the agreed communication system (Private VAN, AS2, OFTP, Web Services, FTPS, etc.).

In the reverse process, the EDI software transforms the received message into the standard required by the receiving company’s ERP, integrating the transaction in the internal computer system automatically without human involvement.  The entire process takes place in a question of seconds in a way that is totally transparent to the user. This automation increases productivity and cuts economic costs.

However, we must not forget that if anything has made EDI technology popular worldwide, it is its accessibility to any company regardless of their size or technological development. In current trade relations, for every large company with a properly developed technological background, we find hundreds of small companies which supply these big companies with products. For them, thanks to the explosion of cloud-based IT services, there are EDI WEB solutions that are easy-to-use and low cost. All they need is a computer and internet access to be able to exchange orders, invoices, shipping notices, delivery notes or any other document with their trading partners. This is the tipping point where it is perceived that a technology has permeated society: when its access is available to any person or business.

à Find out more about Electronic Data Interchange and its solutions

EDI Academy

An informative initiative from EDICOM aimed at professionals wishing to broaden their knowledge of Electronic Data Interchange technology, known in the IT sector by its acronym EDI. In several instalments, the origin of this system is reviewed along with its evolution and application in multiple sectors. Should you have any remaining doubts or queries, all you need to do is ask us.

Logistics and technology at next Odette Annual Conference

The Odette Annual Conference and Expo is being held in Munich on November 30 and December 1. The automotive event will once again feature EDICOM, who will be at stand number 11, presenting the most advanced EDI and e-invoicing solutions. Logistics and the latest technology come together again in the drive to make supply chain management more efficient and optimize communication between trading partners.

Today, the automotive industry is one of the most ground-breaking in rolling out IT solutions. Bear in mind that the sector has to deal with working systems such as Just In Time, which call for swift and effective supply chain management. All associated companies need to communicate seamlessly and in real time, regardless of their size, technological capabilities or location.

These are the reasons that have allowed extensive development of EDI in these companies. Thanks to this system, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and any other stakeholder involved can permanently share accurate information on stocks, receipt of goods notices, etc. As a result, they achieve better management outcomes, which translates as an economic saving and enhances production capacity.

In addition to EDI, e-invoicing has also found its place in these companies. In some countries such as Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and Italy this system is mandatory in certain cases. But regardless of regulatory requirements, many companies decide to roll out this technology anyway, as it automates the billing process, enhances security and minimizes mistakes. These benefits are accompanied by a drastic reduction in economic costs arising from use of paper, postal services and the physical storage infrastructure.

About the organization

Odette is a European Partnership which aims to hone the European automotive sector’s competitive edge and make it more efficient through technology. EDICOM plays an active part in two of the working groups created by this international organization. On one hand, the OFTP2 group makes recommendations to manufacturers (OEM) and first-tier suppliers (TIER1) to foster the use of standards. On the other, EDICOM’s e-invoicing work group provides information on the different technical and legal requisites laid down in each country.

How to sign up?

Parties interested in attending the Odette Annual Conference and Exhibition can register through this website. The event takes place at the City Centre Holiday Inn in Munich on November 30 and December 1.