Being an effective EDI manager requires two very important attributes: (1) Leadership and a (2) Proactive approach. In this post, we go deeper with these two attributes and provide 5 Tips for EDI Managers.
Leadership has many aspects including confidence; being “At Cause”; risk taking; a willingness to be outspoken sometimes; a sense of ownership and responsibility; and action oriented activities. It is not enough to “talk the talk”.
Being Proactive extends into many areas as well. It is the opposite of Reactive. Don’t wait for things to happen to you and don’t be driven entirely by outside forces for which you have little control. Make things happen internally AND externally.
Below are 5 common sense tips that every EDI manager should embrace.
1) Be a partner. Get out of your safety zone and immerse yourself in the business of your internal customers and business users. Listen and learn about their issues and think about how your EDI tools and EDI team can help them find solutions. Paramount here are process improvements and reducing manual effort within their organizations. Encourage the use of new transaction types if necessary. Examine whether your EDI tools can assist with automation even if it’s not directly related to EDI. Ask if you can sit in on their regular meetings. View yourself as more than someone in a supporting role.
2) Think and act strategically. Get beyond your supervisory role and work with all constituents to align the goals of the EDI team with the goals of the business. Develop a formal, written EDI strategy and get buy-in from all segments of the business. This is no small task and few managers are capable of it or have actually done it. Have a “living” 3-5 year plan that takes into vision, projects, resources, tools and priorities.
3) Get out from the 4 walls of your company. Visit and talk with trading partners and vendors. Attend conferences and user groups. Stay abreast of tools, trends and the marketplace.
4) Assess your people resources. Leverage their strengths and help them grow in areas where they can improve or desire to learn. Encourage a collaborative and cohesive environment. Share the wealth and play no favorites. It is neither fair nor conducive to developing a great team if one person, or a few people, gets all the good or new projects. Challenge each of them.
5) Toot your own horn. Have a canned presentation that can be shown to internal folks, and maybe external parties, that illustrates all the good things your team does on a day-to-day basis. Good PR goes a long way and helps to emphasize the value your team brings to the table. Where possible, show metrics. The language of business is money and numbers. If necessary, initiate projects that measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your activities. Business users should be more than happy to participate, especially when there is a good story to tell.
Of course, all of the above demands that you have a stable environment, the proper mix of resources, and EDI isn’t getting a black eye all the time. If you do not meet these criteria, do something about it. Be a leader and be proactive.
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