Internet extends reach of EDI web forms popular with smallest companies; web services coming soon

Two years ago, International Playthings Inc. was doing business the old fashioned way–faxes, letters of credit, and a great deal of sitting around and waiting for various documents. There weren’t a lot of examples yet of companies that successfully moved their supply chain to the Internet. “It rook a Jot of faith to change the way we were doing business,” says Holly Harrington, purchasing manager at the Parsippany, NJ-based company, which sells educational toys to toy chains like FAO Schwartz and Zany Brainy.

“But I can’t imagine going back to the way we used to do it,” she says, now that the company has moved most of its vendors to TradeCard and is in the process of getting its largest buyers online as well. “I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to use this.”

So far, International Playthings has saved $50,000 in invoicing and payment processing fees. In addition, the vendors are willing to give the company a discount in return for faster payment of invoices–in some cases, vendors are getting their money 10 days faster than they would have with letters of credit. “The boss is really happy that we’re getting better terms,” Harrington says.

Now, the entire procurement process is automated. Purchase orders, invoices, packing lists and cargo receipts are all tracked, and once all the documents are in place and the invoice is confirmed against the purchase order, payments are triggered automatically.

Read full article in Business Credit, a publication of the National Association of Credit Management. (Paid subscription required.)