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Motor carriers expanding use of their EDI

Monday, February 6, 2012, 2:00 PM
Motor carriers currently using EDI can expand their use by adding to their number of EDI shippers and/or substituting EDI transactions for more paper transactions. Motor carriers can increase their EDI transactions by broadening their transactions sets and/or by having each of their EDI shippers more fully utilize the current transactions sets. Motor carriers were asked to indicate from a provided list the barriers to adding new shippers or increasing the use of EDI with their current EDI shippers. Multiple responses were allowed. The large number of responses in the lack of demand category suggests that both the carrier implementation decision and the carrier decision to increase its use of EDI are shipper-driven. Although not as important as the lack of demand factor, the number of responses for high set-up costs, requirement by shipper for paper documentation, and lack of uniform standards, suggests that these factors are viewed as possible barriers by carriers. Several of these factors are more related to cost and operational difficulties and not to lack of demand. Few respondents listed lack of corporate management support and no one listed lack of security controls as barriers. Carriers also were asked to identify, from a provided list, the barriers to expanding the number of transaction sets handled by their EDI formats. Multiple responses were allowed. The most frequent factor listed was the lack of shipping partners, followed by high set-up cost, requirement for paper documentation by shippers, lack of uniform standards, equipment incompatibility, and lack of corporate management support within the carriers firm. Again, the lack of shipper demand is the most important factor. When asked to rate in terms of importance the reasons why their non-EDI shippers were not using EDI, carriers indicated that the lack of awareness of EDI benefits, lack of customer training/education, and high set-up costs are the most important reasons. These three reasons had more than moderate importance to the entire sample. Three reasons that were initially hypothesized by the authors to be important to non-EDI shippers were not considered to be important barriers by carriers: lack of uniform standards, equipment incompatibility, and lack of security controls. Although clearly of less importance than lack of shipper demand, two highly interrelated factors-the lack of uniform standards and high set-up costs-were indicated by the respondents as barriers to increased use of their EDI services. Carriers were questioned about the costs of adding format standards and about their concerns associated with certain types of format standards. These two questions directly address the importance of these factors as barriers.

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