Wednesday, May 6, 2015

EDI and the IoT (Internet of Things)

I read this great post by Faith Lamprey on how EDI is very suited to connecting to the Internet Of Things...
With devices and gadgets being Internet, RFID and GPS enabled you can imagine there would be enough information to control every aspect of that device.

Faith uses the vending machine as an example. Normal IoT says that a vending machine can take payments and sense the preference of drinks that the current user is looking for. You can offer discounts and provide up-sell or cross-sell opportunities...
So how does EDI play a role? Well the vending machine can also manage it's own inventory and potentially place an order for items that have reached their safety stock level. The vending machine has a GPS physical location and the machine itself can have it's own GLN (Global Location Number) assigned, which can be used as the PO ship to address. This is all the information needed to send out a simple X12 850 or EDIFACT ORDERS message to the supplier to replenish the inventory. Once the machine receives the inventory I would imagine it would also be used to send a Goods Receipt (MBGMCR) message to the ERP system managing the Vending machine which would release payment against the invoice for the order.

No human touches, no errors, ... plenty of challenges though to get around all the nuances that would be involved in making this seamless. Standards, shortages / overages, incorrect product received, ... Check out Faith's take on it here.

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