What is EDI?
EDI, or electronic data interchange, is the structured transmission of data between organizations via electronic means. EDI has specific formats and replaces the need to exchange information via fax, email, phone, and mail. The history of EDI spans numerous decades and though it has been around since the 1960s, it gained popularity in the early 2000s when Walmart mandated EDI communication with suppliers.
It is worth noting that a true EDI solution will not involve copying and pasting information, importing/exporting spreadsheets, or logging into vendor portals—true EDI will eliminate the manual processes associated with sending/receiving documents.
Who should use EDI?
EDI is used in many industries including health, automotive, grocery, and eCommerce. Any organization that is looking to increase efficiency and remove manual touches around data entry would benefit from an EDI implementation.
Since Logicbroker plays in the eCommerce space, we can provide more information around EDI for eCommerce. In particular, companies processing over 10 orders a day benefit from EDI. As their business starts to grow and they add more trading partners and receive more orders, the manual touches around order fulfillment are not scalable. Rather than hire an entire team to perform data entry, companies can elect to use EDI for automation.
How can I become EDI compliant?
There are essentially two options for EDI compliance: doing it in house or using a third-party provider. Electing to build your own EDI solution in-house will involve EDI software, communications software, EDI transmission methods, mapping and translating software (and specialists for the process), and a dedicated team to manage upgrades, support, and maintenance. The benefit to an in-house solution is control, internal management, and security.
A third party solution will handle the mapping, testing, integration and on-going support. Advances in technology have driven down the cost of EDI, and oftentimes, it is less expensive to go with a third party provider. However, some pricing models include hidden charges, so if you do plan on going with a third-party, be sure to shop around and have a clear understanding of their pricing model.
How long does the process take?
On average, EDI implementation takes four to six weeks. The biggest factor in the process is the responsiveness of your trading partner(s). If a partner is particularly responsive, you can be up and running in less than 4 weeks. On the other hand, unresponsive partners will drag out the process.
Can I integrate my accounting/ERP/shopping cart?
Yes. Specifically, Logicbroker has connectors built for Magento, Nexternal, NetSuite, Dynamics GP, Exact, and QuickBooks. Alternately, integrations to other platforms can be performed via XML or CSV.
What if my trading partners do not want to do EDI?
If your trading partner is hesitant to implement EDI, Logicbroker offers a vendor portal that gives your partners the ability to work with you. You would receive information in EDI format, but it would have to be semi-manually entered by your trading partner.
In addition, we can provide XML, CSV, or API if the partner is willing to adopt our standard.
What are the major benefits of EDI?
The major benefits EDI delivers are efficiency and speed. Your business will run more efficiently because your team is not tied up with data entry, and there are no errors associated with rekeying data since that process is removed from your order cycle. EDI has been calculated to speed up the business cycle by up to 60%. Also, by relying on electronic documentation, you will cut back on your usage of paper and save money on ink.