Wholesale is on the rise again. After a dip in turnover due to the corona measures, entrepreneurs have regained confidence in the intermediate trade1. However, the sector is dealing with all kinds of trends and developments, making digitization more important than ever. EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is an important opportunity to achieve efficiency gains and thus competitive advantage.
Although turnover is also increasing compared to 2019, there are still differences between wholesalers in terms of prospects. For example, sectors that have grown strongly in 2020 (such as food) will do less well in 2021, while the opposite applies to clothing and shoes2. However, there are some general trends.
The main trends and developments in wholesale of 2021:
- The chain dependence has been exposed as a result of corona: Factories produce with parts from global suppliers. Due to countries easing lockdown measures at various times, production did not fully get going, causing major delays in delivery times3. In addition, prices for a container from China are rising explosively. That is why we are now thinking again about simplifying the supply chain and returning production to Europe.
- The rise of online platforms: wholesalers increase their sales opportunities by mediating online between a provider and a user of a service. The challenge here lies in creating demand and delivering products on time4.
- Shift from B2B sales to D2C (direct to consumer). Nike is a well-known example of a manufacturer that started supplying consumers directly5. This forces wholesalers to collaborate more, focus more on promising niches and work smarter (through digitization)6.
- More call for transparency in the chain: end users demand clarity about a product. They want to make sure that the production is environmentally friendly and contributes to the well-being of the makers7. Digitization also plays an important role here, because a wholesaler must be able to retrieve this information and make it visible. Albert Heijn, for example, uses blockchain to make every step in the orange juice chain traceable: from orange to shelf8.
- Big Data is becoming increasingly important: wholesale ERP systems contain a wealth of information about customers. Combined with data from other sources such as the weather forecast and information about price movements, an algorithm makes predictions about demand9. This offers opportunities to organize the chain more efficiently.
Accelerate digital transformation with EDI
A brand-independent data platform or EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) system is the solution that accelerates digital transformation. Data from systems that use different formats then becomes available in one place and is transformed into a standard language. In this way a complete (customer) picture can be put together. All data can be used for in-depth analysis and to predict demand.
Because the platform allows systems to talk directly to each other, regardless of the language, wholesalers make a major efficiency improvement:
- The paper world of purchase orders, invoices and packing slips disappears because exchange is largely automatic;
- The chance of (typing) errors decreases;
- Work processes run faster. Think of having transport available on time, preparing products in a warehouse or the administrative and financial processing of an order.
An EDI partner can take care of all the work involved in installing and integrating applications. A partner can also take over maintenance and management tasks. Anyone who purchases the platform 'as a service' does not have to make a large investment in advance, but can join immediately and is always assured of using the latest technology. That makes wholesalers future-proof and agile.
Do you think a digital transformation will help you lower your costs, while increasing your customer satisfaction? Contact us today to find out how to do that.