The Journey to B2Bi Compliance & the Implications on Change Management

March 21, 2016 Daniel Ford

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Implementation of new technology and/or business rules can cause an organization to change processes internally and across its trading partner community. 

Introducing change within an organization can be challenging. Driving change across your trading partner community can seem downright overwhelming, given the effort of aligning goals between separate organizations, systems and processes.   

HOW DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES APPROACH CHANGE MANAGEMENT WITHIN B2Bi 

  • In Retail EDI (B2Bi), it is not uncommon to find merchandise managers and IT leaders imposing compliance requirements on their suppliers in order to effect change. Terms, such as “chargebacks,” “expense offset,” “business recovery charges,” and “performance deduction” are used when penalizing suppliers for violations of B2Bi rules. These compliance requirements are designed to maximize efficiencies and profit for both parties.  

  • In Manufacturing EDI and Healthcare EDI, we have witnessed organizations that focus entirely on positive incentives to enforce change. For example, B2Bi compliance manuals that require suppliers to change business processes, and then reward those who are compliant with better payment terms.    

  • In Logistics and Distribution EDI, logistics companies are offering more favorable pricing to trading partners who automate their B2B integration process.  

We could cite other industries, but I believe the point is clear that the success or failure of an EDI compliance program is not rooted in technology alone, but rather in the business drivers and processes that motivate compliance. Therefore, when working to get a new compliance program off the ground and begin realizing its true value, new processes must be implemented to properly support it.

 The success or failure of an EDI compliance program is not rooted in technology alone, but rather in the business drivers and processes that motivate compliance.

Using B2B integration can reduce some of the risks associated with change management. For example, ERPs and supply chain technology are highly dependent on rich data to help drive the automated processes that increase profits and reduce costs. Neiman_Marcus_Case_Study2.png

So, how do you implement B2B integration across your trading partner community? 

First, you need to agree on the processes or requirements you want to autom
ate.

Secondly, you need to understand what data is required for your ERP or warehouse management system to automate these processes. 

Lastly, you need to compile a realistic project plan that takes into account all process improvements and trading partner requirements.

A B2Bi PLAN SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • A project initiation document that defines project governance

  • Your supplier or customer contact list

  • A testing platform to ensure system compatibility

  • Internal or customer acceptance 

  • Tools to analyze and manage compliance 

You can also partner with a B2B integration managed services provider to implement and manage change processes across your supply chain. The solution provider should be responsible for guiding the implementation process and providing best practices and support.

In order for the change to be truly effective, though, there must be processes and tools in place that directly support the compliance implementation—and, even better, compliance implementation experts who have the skills and experience necessary to see the project through to success. 

BEST PRACTICES FOR IMPLEMENTING CHANGE THROUGH B2B INTEGRATION 

  • Develop an implementation plan that is communicated clearly across your organization and to your supplier base

  • Create processes that directly support your compliance program – new systems alone are not enough to bring about real change

  • Leverage experts who have a proven track record of successful implementations, preferably with both small/medium and large organizations

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