In such a competitive field as the automotive sector, business processes can really make a difference. We are talking about an industry personified by the “Just in time” working system, coordinating with suppliers to minimize warehouse stocks and consequently reduce the financial exposure, all without losing effectiveness and efficiency. This is one of the reasons that make Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) a key technology.
“The automotive industry works with a multitude of highly specialized suppliers who, in practice, operate as one company, in such a way that if a part fails to arrive at the right time, the entire production chain is paralysed,” explains Santiago Estival, Key Account Manager at EDICOM in Italy and in charge of the sector. This business process provides some clues about why automotive companies were the first to implement EDI technology.
Today, EDI is fully ensconced. “EDI is an indispensable tool for the automotive sector.” Major companies demand its use from their first level or TIER 1 suppliers, who in turn require it from TIER 2, and so on,” says the EDICOM Key Account Manager. One of EDI’s main advantages is that it adapts to the needs and technological capacities of each company. Santiago Estival explains how EDICOM develops integrated EDI platforms for customers such as Nissan or Michelin that conform to the multiplicity of protocols, formats and standards (EDIFACT, Odette, X12, etc.) from a single interface.
A highly specific sector
In the automotive industry, logistical or production-oriented messages such as DESADV or DELFOR are particularly important. But that is not the only peculiarity. This sector’s most notable feature is the OFTP communications protocol, which was specifically created for European automotive companies. Hence, unlike all the others, it makes it possible to exchange really large documents such as AutoCAD files, widely used in the sector.
Odette is currently developing a new version of this protocol. As a member of the OFTP2 working group, EDICOM puts forward proposals for implementing technical improvements and enhancing security “We are deeply involved with Odette. In fact, we also take part in the e-invoicing working party”, adds Estival. Likewise, many automotive companies have also incorporated this technology for compulsory use with the Italian Public Administration. In addition, further growth is forecast for the years to come, as the Italian Government will be offering tax incentives to companies that switch to this technology.
Sector technology event
November 30 and December 1 are the dates of the Odette Annual Conference and Exhibition in Munich, a showcase event where technology and logistics come together once again. EDICOM will be there at stand number 11, demonstrating the most cutting-edge solutions in EDI and electronic invoicing.