WHAT ABOUT REPS?
What about the argument that EDI has the potential to disenfranchise the independent rep? According to Hester, it wasn't an argument he had to make, since most of those present for his presentation understand the potential of the technology to reduce their paperwork load. Indeed, intelligent use of EDI for purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgements and electronic invoicing can reduce the need for debit memos, one of the most time-consuming functions for manufacturers agents. Likewise, if a manufacturer can submit all of his information to the database and include his product specs as well, reps will be freed up from the phone calls for spec sheets and other detailed information they're frequently asked. All this leaves them free to pursue their true vocation, which is to build their markets and provide value through pull-through selling, rather than "putting out fires" as one of the reps said.