Processing the order is just the first step in the getting products to their markets. Some will say that getting the order to the loading dock is the easy part while moving it to its final destination has become increasingly complex. If you’re running in-house EDI systems you already know that it isn’t the truck that is the issue but tracking the order through the chain of events between docks.
Making the connection between customer and supplier is complex enough, but is generally a single event that once tested continues to work reliably. Adding multiple carriers and warehouses along the path of delivery can not only be more complex, but includes time constraints that make connections more critical. Having a VAN in the middle of the process can take a large portion of the pain out of the process while also providing additional visibility along the way.
One of the things a VAN can provide is a managed approach to both connections and delivery. Configuring protocols (e.g. AS2) can take significant time and effort. That’s time that internal staff could be devoting to other projects. But the point is that a VAN can be a good alternative to full outsourcing. It keeps the operations internal while bringing full support to the communication and connection functions.