Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is required by many suppliers as a way to expedite orders and improve documentation. Like any connection between organizations, there are standards and protocols to be observed, but that doesn’t mean that implementing and using EDI can’t be simple.
The trick is keeping it simple in the long term!
Pick Your Approach
There are two fundamental approaches to implementing EDI. Either you have your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software modified by programmers to perform EDI functions, or you purchase a reliable product that will interface with your ERP.
The idea of it being sewn into the fabric of the system that runs your business may intuitively seem like the right way to go. This is where the long term repercussions of such a solution comes into play.
One thing which is consistently true of ERPs is that they are frequently updated. Whenever an ERP upgrade happens, there is a good chance you may have to have the EDI programmers come in and fix what doesn’t work anymore with the new ERP version. Not only can this become expensive, but you may decide to skip an upgrade or two, then find yourself marooned in an old ERP version when improvements come out that you really want to take advantage of.
What to Look For
Cost – You’ve just seen the most vivid example of a hidden cost. Many EDI solutions require that you use a Value Added Network (VAN) which charges a fee every time you conduct a transaction between you and your supplier. Those costs rack up fast. Adding new document types should be simple, but some providers make it a costly venture. New requirements may require sudden programming code changes, another added cost.
Adaptability – Your business changes constantly. Your suppliers’ requirements change frequently. Your EDI solution needs to be able to quickly, and inexpensively adapt to all of these changes. We recommend changes in configuration as opposed to changes in programming, they’re much less expensive!
Automation – The more you automate, the less dependent you are upon the personnel who use the EDI solution. People change, too.
Trust Experience and Track Record
Vantage Point EDI from Data Masons is the most time-tested proven EDI solution available. Natively integrating to more than 60,000 standards right out of the box, it is easy to configure to accommodate whatever your suppliers throw at you. Read our white paper, EDI Made Simple: A New Approach to EDI, to learn more about why you don’t have to worry when your suppliers require EDI.