The fashion industry is a key factor for the Italian economy, both for its level of turnover and the exports produced, mainly to the United States and Europe. In 2014, export sales generated 398,000 million euros, a record at the time. In addition, the figure forecast for 2016 is likely to reach 450,000 million euros. This internationalization is one of the sector’s principal defining features and has encouraged the spread of electronic document interchange (EDI) among fashion firms.
However, it is not the only one. In this area, beyond the challenge of communication across borders, companies handle a wide range of products. Everything ranging from sports clothing to footwear, through accessories, kids’ clothing and infant wear, to the high-end luxury brands. In this sense, EDI technology has also become an ally against the lack of uniformity in the sector.
How does EDI work?
With electronic data interchange, communications between different IT systems are standardized. This means that transaction and information sending take place in real time, automatically and safely, regardless of the features of the partners involved in the business or logistic relations.
In Italy, the spread of EDI throughout the fashion industry has mainly been driven by the big stores, such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, La Rinascente, Printemps, El Corte Inglés, etc. These international brands usually act as a hub and require their suppliers to use this technology for the exchange of business documents like orders, shipping notes or invoices, as well as others of a logistic nature, such as product catalogues.
This is why so many Italian businesses of all shapes and sizes have signed up to EDI, a virtually indispensable requirement when exporting. But beyond the requirement, adopting EDI technology in B2B companies is now a key factor in optimizing logistics processes, boosting productivity, reducing the number of errors and, finally, maximizing efficiency through task automation.
A global solution
Some of the big brands already rely on EDICOM to implement their EDI solutions. To name but a few, Harrods, Cortefiel, Printemps or El Corte Inglés, four of the main fashion market hubs. This experience has enabled the EDICOM team to develop a Global EDI solution, which addresses the two needs of businesses in the sector: internationalization and product heterogeneity.
The EDI solution is integrated with the companies’ internal management or ERP systems. This way, the entire administration and logistic process is handled from a platform already known to the team, so there is no need to modify in-house working procedures. For example, when an invoice is generated, the EDI solution processes it automatically, translates it into the standardized language required by the partner and forwards it. This happens the same way with any other business, logistical and administrative transactions. Both in sending and receipt, all the processes are automatic, thus boosting efficiency and cutting economic costs.