The importance of Cloud-Native EDI in manufacturing

Posted on 17 Apr 2024 by The Manufacturer

Steven Whitfield, Senior Solutions Expert at Data Interchange, an Epicor solution, shares his expertise in Cloud-Native EDI for manufacturers.

Manufacturers face constant challenges in an ever-changing environment. From macro supply chain disruptions like the Red Sea Crisis, improved sustainability such as net-zero emissions targets, and economic uncertainty due to inflation. In addition, manufacturers also face micro-challenges such as rapid business growth or internal inefficiencies that impede the ability to further innovate and compete on dimensions such as cost, quality, and schedule.

It’s safe to say manufacturing is not an easy landscape to survive in, let alone thrive in. So, let’s take a look into what Cloud-Native EDI is and its importance in manufacturing.

What is Cloud-Native EDI?

Cloud-Native EDI is EDI (Electronic Data Interchange, the automated exchange of business documents between businesses) that runs on Cloud-Native architecture. But what makes a cloud ‘Cloud-Native’? Well, it means that the cloud the EDI service runs on has been assembled using applications that have been built to reside in the cloud. At a high level, Cloud-Native architecture is built up of microservices, containers, API’s and service meshes.

With EDI running on Cloud-Native architecture you can expect to see the following benefits; increased agility, scalability, flexibility and reliability with rapid response, real-time data, reduced deployment time, ease of use, and cost savings.

“As a solutions expert, I’ve seen how Cloud-Native can not only lay the foundations for future success in manufacturing but how it can also bring initial benefits. For example, an automotive manufacturing company my team worked with saw a 25% year-on-year growth after implementing a Cloud-Native EDI strategy into their business,” said Steven.

Why Cloud-Native EDI is imperative for manufacturing

So we now know what Cloud-Native EDI is and the technical benefits it brings, but how does this translate into positive outcomes for a manufacturing business?

With Cloud-Native offering a scalable, secure, flexible, and efficient platform it allows manufacturers to flex as they require. It offers a stable technology foundation to enable further modern technologies to be added to build a competitive manufacturing business setup for future success. With Industry 4.0 being of paramount importance to manufacturers, let’s see how Cloud-Native can support this strategy.

Data-driven decision-making

Cloud-Native technologies help manufacturers gain visibility into areas such as supplier performance, delivery times and quality metrics which supports informed data-driven decision-making. In addition, this data can then be processed by AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms to make predictions such as equipment failures. With 76% of manufacturers adopting digital tools to gain enhanced transparency in their supply chains, it’s clear that this is a direction manufacturers need to move towards to remain competitive.

Get Smart or go home

With the move to ‘smart factories’ expected to grow by 20.6% year on year, to truly embrace an Industry 4.0 strategy, manufacturing businesses must look at ‘smart factories’ seriously.

One area to look at within ‘smart factories’ is IoT (Internet of Things). There are many IoT use cases in manufacturing which supports the move to a ‘smart factory’. For example, using IoT sensors and smart devices to capture shop floor machine data. Having a Cloud-Native foundation means manufacturers can easily and quickly deploy new applications, fast-tracking their transformation to a ‘smart factory’.

Setting your people up for success

Going Cloud-Native can set your people up for success. They can take advantage of the benefits Cloud-Native brings and spends more time focused on being proactive and improving the business.

“It’s a cliché to talk about the rapid pace of technological change in manufacturing, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Cloud-Native offers manufacturers the chance to implement best-in-class solutions which are genuinely future-proof, removing the fear that another big IT upgrade is lurking around the corner,” said Steven.

In this write-up, Steven Whitfield has only just scratched the surface of Cloud-Native EDI for Manufacturers. If you would like to learn more about this topic then please reach out to Steve here.

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