In the world of EDI, manual data entry is bad…really bad. Data entry is defined as “transcribing
information into an electronic medium such as a computer or other electronic device. It can either be
performed manually or automatically by using a machine or computer.” EDI electronically transfers data from
one computer system to another using a standardized format, removing any manual data entry from the
Let’s get back to the manual data entry thing. At B2BGateway, companies of all sizes looking for an EDI & API
Connectivity Solution ask us every day what solutions we offer, along with the associated costs. After all,
implementing an EDI system is a big deal. EDI will become the center of your day to day business. Without EDI,
the Target’s, Walmart’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond’s may not consider selling your product so you need to make
sure you make the right move the first time.
B2BGateway has fully integrated over 25,000 relationships over the years, connecting suppliers
with retailers & warehouses. The key point here isn’t the number of relationships we’ve onboarded (any
company can make up numbers) but rather two simple and crucial words – fully integrated. We are often asked
to compare pricing to other manual solutions (think web forms) that are out there in the EDI market. Frankly,
there is no comparison. Sure, a company has the option of “implementing EDI” by selecting a “cheaper”,
manually web-based option but in all honesty, that’s not EDI. You are just taking a manual process you are likely
already performing in house, and instead, you will manually input the data on a website.
The cost of manually inputting data on a website is far, far more than the sticker price you pay a
provider per month. $300 per month sure sounds much better than say, $1,000 per month. But are those
figures really for the same service and do they take account of all the ancillary costs? Nope. You are still going to
have to pay your employee to enter that information in a web portal and we are pretty sure that’s not free. Let’s
break it down into an example:
• Let’s say a staff member doing order entry works nonstop for 7.5 hours a day. (Not likely).
• Let’s say it takes about 3 minutes to enter an order into your system.
• Let’s say that there are roughly 1,100 transactions per month.
• (7.5 hours x 5 days) = 2,250 minutes in the week.
• (1,100 orders x 3 minutes each) = 3,300 minutes to enter the orders.
• A full time and exceptional employee can enter about 2/3 of the orders.
• To be conservative, let’s say you need one or two employees at $40,000 plus expenses (taxes, insurance, 401k match, vacations, etc.).
• That totals $60k in employee costs (on the low end), plus the EDI Provider’s monthly cost. That means you are paying $5,000 to $6,000 (or more) a month for EDI.
That’s a far cry from the “cheap” solution you were promised!
Additionally, let’s not forget that we all make mistakes. Manually entering data into your
system has likely already resulted in its share of mistakes. Asking someone to manually enter data onto a
web form won’t eliminate those same mistakes. When mistakes happen, trading partners don’t typically
respond with “it’s OK, we understand what you meant to type”. They’ll respond with a nice, heavy-handed
chargeback that can cost your business thousands.
So, when you shop around for EDI & API Connectivity Solutions, competitors will try to offer a cheap alternative to B2BGateway. After all, B2BGateway provides the best EDI solution on the market at a competitive price. Just remember though, we wouldn’t be here today if our pricing was that far out of whack. When you get told that someone can do EDI for cheap, take a hard look at what you are really getting. Add up the associated costs you will still have to pay and decide for yourself….does it really make sense that you’d be getting a fully integrated solution that will save you time and money for a bargain-basement price? We doubt it.