To implement EDI successfully all organizations must make EDI a part of their overall business strategy with complete buy in from all departments including senior management. Needless to say, good communication between the organization and its trading partners is also an essential component in implementing a successful EDI strategy.
Here are a few tips that should help your organization develop a successful EDI implementation:
- Determine where your organization lies in the supply chain
Is your organization an ‘Initiator’ or ‘Responder’. In other words are you implementing EDI on your own terms to help improve your overall business processes (‘Initiator’) or are you responding to a request from large customers who require you to become EDI compliant in order to secure your contract (‘Responder’). An ‘Initiator’ will be able to determine which rules and regulations suit their business model best, whereas a ‘Responder’ will have to abide by the standards and protocols that have been laid down by their customers or trading partners.
- Put in place a dedicated project team
A dedicated project team is needed to determine your overall business objectives (e.g. remove manual data entry to reduce errors and chargebacks, comply with trading partner requirements, etc.) and to define deliverables over a set time period.
- Communicate with Trading Partners.
Ensure your trading partners have full commitment. Ask for a copy of your trading partners agreement and find out which EDI standards (X12, EDIFACT, Tradacoms, Odette, etc.), transaction sets (850, 810, 846, 856, 997, etc.) and communication protocols (VAN, FTP, AS2, etc.) they will require.
- Use first implementation as a pilot project and thereafter a stepped approach
If you have many trading partners to communicate through EDI, use your first implementation as a pilot project, one that you can tweak and make improvements to as you move forward. Many organizations make the mistake of trying to add too many trading partners at once. This is a huge drain on your resources and can make trading relationships go sour very fast. A stepped or phased approach may be better. Decide which trading partner relationships are a priority and implement accordingly over a phased basis.
- ‘In-house’ or ‘Outsourced’ EDI
At this stage you need to determine if you have the internal capabilities and resources to successfully implement your own EDI department or do you outsource your EDI requirements to a 3rd party EDI provider. A 3rd party EDI provider will act as your own EDI department and will take away the hassle, constraints and complexities of using EDI with many trading partners. However, if your organization is very large and you have a large IT department there may be advantages to operating your EDI needs in-house.
If you would like further information on how B2BGateway’s fully outsourced EDI solutions can help your organization achieve successful EDI implementation please, please visit us online at www.B2BGateway.Net, email Sales@B2BGateway.Net or call 401-401-9595 extension 5.