Choosing the Right EDI Solution and Provider

Have you been assigned the task of choosing an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) solution or a new provider to supply it? Many companies are choosing to outsource their EDI needs to an EDI provider versus managing their EDI capabilities internally.

As you take on this quest, there are several areas that should be addressed:


1. What type of EDI do you need?

There are different forms of EDI:

  • Direct EDI: the direct application-to-application transmission of business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and remittance advices.
  • Full B2B integration: automating beyond the traditional EDI to support emerging business requirements.
  • Web EDI: Conducting EDI through an Internet browser, replicating paper-based documents as a web form that contains fields where users can enter information.
  • Mobile EDI: An emerging area of EDI to enable the exchange of documents via mobile apps.

While each form has their own advantages and disadvantages, many companies choose to do a combination to ensure that they are able to work with a variety of trading partners. A trusted EDI provider such as Data Communication Solutions (DCS) can handle the day-to-day management of your EDI capabilities.


2. What EDI tools are required?

EDI systems must include EDI tools for effective mapping and translation. These mapping and translation tools take your EDI data from one format and place it into another. This enables the end-to-end automation of the EDI data from the enterprise system. These tools minimize the barriers and complexities, speed up the integration process, and reduce the cost of custom development. There are many options available and choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. An EDI provider such as DCS can assist you in determining the best mapping and translation tool for your business model and growth plans.


3. What type of EDI integration fits with your business model?

In order to reap the benefits of EDI, it is important that you have an effective EDI integration with your ERP, accounting, or other enterprise system. The best EDI solutions offer seamless integration with other supply chain systems such as your Warehouse Management System (WMS), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), or Transport Management System (TMS). EDI can open up new opportunities to streamline your business process and further reap additional benefits. The key to successful EDI is the automated, end-to-end flow of key supply chain data between systems of your trading partners.


4. Is your EDI solution scalable?

The best EDI solution allows your business to grow while keeping your costs down. As you grow, you connect to more trading partners. You need to ensure that the EDI solution you choose will be able to handle additional customers as well as suppliers. You may start out with implementing an EDI PO 850 and Advanced Shipment Notices (ASNs) 856s but your EDI system should also be able to accommodate additional EDI documents to support other processes such as shipping or warehouse management.  It should also be able to handle all the common EDI standards including ANSI X12, EDIFACT, and AS2 so that you can trade seamlessly with the widest number of customers. If you have aggressive growth plans, you may want to consider Cloud-based EDI to ensure almost limitless scalability allied to flexible and manageable pricing.


5. Do you have the right staffing to support your EDI?

Many companies have very small or non-existent EDI departments. Demands from trading partners pose an immediate strain on the IT department. At this point, there are basically two choices:

  • Hire additional personnel which is very costly
  • Outsource the EDI projects

Outsourcing your EDI projects is a very cost effective approach to meeting the mandates from your trading partners. Outside EDI Providers such as DCS can offer you the expertise needed to maintain your EDI investment. Implementations can be done quickly and in a more cost-effective manner.

Also, yearly budgets can be maintained easier by taking advantage of Managed Services versus hiring dedicated resource in-house, adding a positive to your bottom line.


Why Chose DCS?

Since 1991, DCS has helped hundreds of companies realize the benefits of EDI and is recognized a leader providing customers with the right EDI solution to meet their B2B business model. We work with you to understand your business needs and design an efficient, cost-effective EDI solution.  Contact us today for a no-cost assessment and let us help you ensure you have the right EDI solution for your continued growth! Click here to find out more reasons to do business with DCS!


Related articles:

Do You Have  Time to Maintain or Update your EDI System?
Building a Strong EDI Department and Its Role