Do We Need EDI VANs

  March 12, 2013       By Ray Atia
Do We Need EDI VANs? When the question comes up do we need EDI VANS? The complexity of supply chain platform administration comes up immediately. Some of the basic benefits to EDI VANs are E to E connectivity and managed file transfer services. The efficacy and timing of communications supports the continuance of VANs as a preferred choice in knowledge sharing organizations, especially. Great factors attributed to EDI VANs such as data mapping, portal access, protocols and services are just a few of the provisions offered by EDI outsourcing firms. Review of the use of VAN by EDI service providers can provide more insight into the popularity and the context based approach to using outsourced connectivity over in-house or direct connections and their benefits to company clients in the form of better access and cost reduction. Evaluation of the various groups and forums dedicated to discussion of EDI VANs online offers a window on quality assurance. While some generalization of those discussions can be made, it is perhaps more arguable that since the globalization of electronic data integration in and between networks has become increasingly important in the past several years, greater attention has been given to their use as formidable mechanisms for profit. Most specifically, the concept of companies as knowledge organizations has advanced the ideas that quality in housing of data and management and application of information improve competencies (i.e. client record) and reduce risk to profit (i.e. ‘zero inventory) all along the value chain. If the real interest is to sustain better integrity in-house EDI offers work teams a conduit for maintenance over data using a value added network (VAN). Multinational enterprises (MNE) seek out faster integration in support of communications. Recovery and maintenance are more readily sustained with VANs as problems occurring in infrastructure such as firewall response, server crashes, and upgrade to an enterprise system can be facilitated by merely informing the VAN. Where both ends of a VAN connection are met it makes administration of a large network that much easier. VAN is only superseded by direct connections in popularity. A supply chain using VAN can also be far more flexible in recovery time as networks can be decoupled systemically when a partner is experiencing instability or risk. Lost email? Investigation of delays or lost files occurring in an enterprise network are more easily found in less time when a company is using a VAN connection. This can greatly increase proficiency and lower risk to an organization and its partners as communications and important documents such as legal records are recuperated faster. From the perspective of integrated information systemization and user application, VANs truly is value added in supply chain productivity. The adage that no two entities share identical data management is partly true. With greater standardization and replacement of legacy systems, VAN enhances this transformation so that partner data mapping is access is made possible across the entire network of users. Added value in cost reduction in VAN means that finance that might be spent on installation of direct connections is eliminated. Once the system goes live on VAN, even more cost reduction is availed as new partners enter the network. While some argue that VANs are less optimum than first thought, and that in-house FTP and AS2 connections are more efficient for the real uses of large trading partner networks. Part of this conundrum arguably has to do with comparative cost matched to level of traffic and cost of outsourcing vs. in-house integration of new or reconfigured alternates on the market. Still proponents suggest that VAN will greatly reduce set up work time and allocation of monies to install the connection. VAN also decreases the number of protocols needed for new user interface in a network. Additional value added support services are also a key incentive. Companies reviewing cost structure for VAN installation will find that size matters. Smaller networks with more limited capabilities may find that outsourcing is not cost efficient if there is no internal team to set up the connection. High volume companies with a number of experienced partner administrators will find that cost savings is better than alternate solutions to network integration. Once outsourcing to a VAN provider, monitoring, updates and data mapping solutions are provided as part of the service package. In sum, VAN creates the best scenario for user interface, as new data management and other capacity building components can be built into a network with much less hassle. The possibilities for adding more and better platforms to an organization with a VAN partnership are strong. Companies with EDI connectivity by VAN are far more likely than those that manage all network communications internally to meet audit and benchmark criteria for their industry, outperform competition and realize their mission where constant information exchange and a high degree of access to new data is made available. When a company is considering a VAN, intangible assets that may or may not be perceived can be advanced by a service provider whom has knowledge about the capabilities the connection will offer the entire network. As innovation comes on the market, VAN make it far more convenient to introduce updates under lean and agile conditions. This includes less considered elements of the value chain of operations for many companies. EDI made it possible for companies to go paperless. Originally innovated and developed for the automobile industry and its extensive supply chain requirements, EDI has been adopted by main sectors as part of the scope of strategic management practice. Sectors with extended network connectivity such as hospital organizations in the healthcare field are a clear example of the type of value added contribution that EDI and VAN connectivity are making in quality of service and knowledge sharing. Supply chain responsibilities that were once more difficult to digitize are now brought into the fold. Everything from vendor inventory availability to transportation schedules is integrated to create the best production flow possible. Furthermore, each partner in a network is able to rank priorities in EDI contexts using VAN so that functions that are substantial to one organization, yet secondary to another are asymmetrical components in the system. Future context process engagement may be untold, and the more flexibility in data the better. Outsourcing makes this all possible. It is that simple. Supply chain management makes companies more robust with better management. Connectivity to VAN outsourcing providers reduces waste, makes users more proficient with a range of data bases, and adds value and time available to core processes. If competitive advantage is knowledge sharing, then the relationship between EDI and VAN establishes the most vital link in the chain.