The majority of invoices, purchase orders and supply chain data in the food industry is still exchanged by phone, email, fax or post, according to a new study.
While electronic trading has become much more widespread between retailers and manufacturers, a large number of businesses were still relying on inefficient and error-prone methods of communication, claimed business and IT analyst Quocirca.
It interviewed 400 supply chain managers in retail and manufacturing in the UK, Germany, France and the US on behalf of business-to-business e-commerce specialist GXS.
Quocirca service director Clive Longbottom said: "More than 80% of the companies we interviewed had an EDI (electronic data interchange) or web-based system at their disposal for facilitating automated transactions. However, applying this capability beyond a limited subset of key trading partners was proving difficult."
Even companies that were sending and receiving documents electronically were not often getting the full benefits because a lack of back office integration meant that data was still being manually re-keyed into systems at each end, he said.