What Does it Mean to be EDI Capable?

What Does it Mean to be EDI Capable?

EDI is a method of exchanging data between different organizations. It’s a way to automate processes so that they happen automatically.

What is EDI Capable Means?

What Is EDI Capable?

EDI capability refers to the ability of a business to use EDI to send and receive EDI documents electronically. This includes things like whether the company has the software needed to send and receive EDI messages.

To become EDI capable there are two options, either running an EDI solution on-premises in an own or 3rd party data center or buying the EDI capability as an EDI cloud service.

It’s crucial for an enterprise to be able to send and receive electronic documents like EDI X12, HIPAA, VDS, Tradacoms, and more. When your organization is EDI capable, you are at an advantage in the business world with a greater chance for success. Utilizing these standard data formats is the most significant aspect of EDI since the exchange of documents will be effective only if both, the sender as well as receiver systems are working with similar data formats.

Being EDI capable means the ability for businesses to exchange business documents/data with their trading partners electronically such as,

  • Invoices
  • Purchase orders
  • Advanced ship notices
  • Bills of lading
  • Inventory documents
  • Customs documents
  • Shipping documents
  • Payment documents

 

Why Should You Care About being EDI Capable?

If you work with any type of business, you should care about EDI because it allows companies to communicate more efficiently. EDI helps businesses save money and time by reducing errors and increasing efficiency.

How Does EDI Capable Work?

EDI works by exchanging documents electronically. This means that instead of sending paper copies of contracts, invoices, and other documents, businesses send them digitally through email or online portals.

There is a 3-step process for EDI Capability,

  1. Connection to ERP - Receive messages in internal format from the ERP system
  2. Conversion - Transfer messages from the internal format to the message standard
  3. Communication - Technical dispatch via the agreed communication protocol

ANSI ASC X12 EDI Standard - Commport Communications

How Does Making your business EDI Capable Benefit Your Business?

EDI has been around since the 1970s, but its use has only increased in recent years. In fact, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of all companies now use EDI. That number is expected to continue increasing as more businesses adopt new technology.

Being EDI capable is an advantage. Retailers seek out EDI-capable suppliers when considering new items. They focus on relationships with those who are ready with EDI. And you’ll fast-track the onboarding process, so your products are in stores and online sooner.

Generally, pretty much any organization, substantial or little, can receive the rewards of EDI Capable. Other than offering an institutionalized communication for regular business report exchanges (functional acknowledgments (EDI 997), freight receipts (EDI 310), payment order/remittance advice (EDI 820), and inventory inquiry (EDI 849)) that can streamline business work processes and locally available accomplices rapidly, we know EDI solutions have the innovation to convey in five imperative ways: Funds savings, speed, precision, effectiveness, and security.

Here are the benefits of becoming EDI capable,

  1. Increase efficiency and accuracy through automation
  2. Be ahead of your competition
  3. Pack and ship orders faster
  4. Ability to transact with more partners
  5. Heightened security
  6. Faster processing speed
  7. Better for the environment
  8. Reduce cost

 

EDI is the future. It represents automation at its finest, allowing you to save time and money. An EDI-capable enterprise can process data interchange almost instantly and without error. A human in the same role simply cannot complete.

Want to Become EDI Complaint?

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The Security of EDI Data

The Security of EDI Data 

Since 1975, corporations of all sizes have put their trust into Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to exchange commercial transactions with their trading partner community, and since 1984, they have relied and put their trust into Value Added Networks (VANs) to move these transactions in a Store & Forward model for data handling.

Commport entered the EDI Services industry and became a VAN in 1985, and built a reputation for service and customer support based upon adding to and justifying this trust.

A 'Value-Added Network (VAN)' is defined as a private network provider hired by a company to facilitate electronic data interchange (EDI) and/or provide other network services such as message encryption, message translation, and management reporting. 

The Security of EDI Data

When a company hires or contracts with a VAN, that company trusts that their data will be safe from loss and kept confidential between them and the trading partner, and that the VAN will manage this delivery request and any returned transactions.  The ability to maintain the trust of the VAN or VANs involved depends upon the security of these deliveries – they went where they were supposed to go and nowhere else.

For almost one year now (all of 2017), Commport has been receiving misrouted EDI transactions from Global Health Exchange (GHX) who seem incapable of or unwilling to correct this very serious issue. In the retail world, such transgressions would not be tolerated and the perpetrator would suffer financially as confidential information between competitors could be involved. 

That is why all internal processes involved in handling Customer data have been developed to ensure at every step that the data is correctly formatted, correctly routed and correctly delivered to destination.  If an issue is found, the application involved immediately alerts Support and the issue is addressed within minutes.  For over 30 years, Commport has ensured that retailers and their vendors or customers get the correct data.

However, the traffic involved is Healthcare related which means not just money but patient safety is involved, and that is serious business.  In one three month period, traffic from one manufacturer experienced a 60% misroute issue with EDI destined for one hospital misrouted to another.  The costs to find and correct this issue at the hospital, at Commport and at the manufacturer are significant, but just as importantly the trust is beginning to wane for the trading partners involved.  Patient safety becomes the major concern.

In general, it is not nice to hang a competitor’s dirty laundry out for all to see, but we repeat, Patient safety is a major concern. To learn more on how  Commport can protect your EDI, visit here.

Ready to find out more about Commport EDI Services?

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Complete EDI Guide

This is one of the most up to date EDI guide you will find on the internet with over 11,500+ words. It covers topics like history of EDI, EDI stats and market growth, benefits of EDI, EDI transaction types, EDI standards and more

Which EDI Solution is Best for You?

Which EDI Solution is Best for You?

10 Step by Step Guide To Find The Best EDI Solution Provider

So, you’re a manufacturer or supplier of goods. It could be tomatoes, it could be tires, it could be school textbooks...let’s just lump it all together as 'widgets'.

As you’ve probably already discovered, producing or sourcing those widgets is just the start. Now you’ve got to get them into an environment where they can be sold to an end user.

Commport Communications Integrated EDI Process

Electronic Data Interchange Explained

To accomplish this, there’s a lot of data and documentation that must be exchanged between you and a retailer. From Orders and Invoices to Remittance Advices and Advance Ship Notices, there are hundreds of business documents that can be exchanged between trading partners. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has become the preferred method of exchanging this data between B2B buyers and sellers.

 

In simplest terms, EDI is a data pipeline that’s established between a supplier and a retailer, and data needs to flow in both directions. The aforementioned business documents flow from buyer to seller. Other data, such as standing inventory levels, sales reports, purchase orders, invoices and many other pieces of information flow from the seller to the buyer. In today’s Just-In-Time (JIT) retail environment, many retailers will only deal with suppliers who can provide data via EDI, and suppliers with any kind of sales volume generally find transmitting data via EDI solves a lot of internal data management headaches. But how do you choose the EDI solution that’s best for your business?

Customer service executive working at Commport office

Choose The Right EDI Solution

There are currently about 150 different EDI providers doing business in North America. Yes, that’s well over 100 possible solutions to your needs! It is important to choose the right EDI solution provider because they will truly become a partner in your business, acting as a liaison between you and your trading partners, facilitating the daily communication of business documents.

Deciding which one’s best could be a pretty daunting task, but everything starts to become a little clearer if you follow these selection criteria to narrow down the EDI provider field:

10 Step by Step Guide To Find The Best EDI Solution Provider

1) Determine the Specific EDI Needs of Your Business

Where are you now? And where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Do you want to play with the big, big boys on an international mass retail scale or are your goals more niche market and regional? Answering these questions will help to hone in on the extent of your future data management requirements and the levels of EDI transaction volume you’ll likely have. Not every EDI partner will be able to scale up (or down!) to meet your current and future demands.

2) Stability of the EDI Partner

A lot of these are the same questions you’d ask when screening any service provider. How long have you been in business? What sort of environment (office) do you have? Tell me about your data security standards? What is your system uptime record? If you’re not a techie, you may not understand all the jargon but at least you’ll have it to compare and ask those who do know.

3) How Accessible is Your EDI Partner when You Need Them?

The geography of your EDI partner is an interesting point. Yes, EDI operates in the same fashion as the internet. Yes, data can be transferred from one side of the world to the other in a flash. So, technically, the location of an EDI partner’s offices shouldn’t matter. But what if you need tech support or operational help? A partner located three time zones away may not be available when you need them. At a minimum, find out about a provider’s customer support policy and hours of operation.

4) Industry-Specific EDI Partners

Some EDI providers focus on very specific industries, product lines or even individual retail chains. Their entire business is based on servicing that niche and they’ve become very effective at dealing with the nuances involved. They can be a fantastic partner if you’re actually in their target industry but they probably won’t do business with you if you’re not.

5) EDI Scalability

As mentioned in the first point, some EDI providers focus exclusively on SME suppliers who only deal at a regional level, while others will only partner with high volume, international suppliers. Only about 25% have the scalability in their platform to effectively do both. Keep this in mind if you’re starting small but have plans for world domination.

6) References/Testimonials for Your Selected EDI Partner

Just as if you were hiring a builder, accountant or any other specialist, ask for a list of current clients to whom you can actually speak. And don’t accept a “no” on this request. Get their opinion on the platform’s usability, stability and functionality, as well as the partner’s customer service.

7) EDI Suggestions from Retailers

While they’re often hesitant to hand out pure recommendations, the retailers you are, or are aspiring to, deal with often have lists of EDI partners they know of or have worked with in the past. Conversely, while retailers may be able to make some recommendations, they may just be comfortable with their current provider and not realize that there are better options available. As a result, it is probably best to seek out additional recommendations as well.

8) Value Added Network (VAN)

A Value Added Network (VAN) is the system of gateways, switches and routers that connects the EDI data sender with the receiver. While there are about 150 EDI partners in North America, only a few manage their own VANs. Those that do are somewhat akin to suppliers who not only offers the phones (the EDI software) but also control the phone lines (VAN), as well. Providers that do not have their own VAN have to buy capacity on other providers’ networks. EDI partners with their own VAN have total control over transmission routing, system stability, data security and other integrity issues. Aligning with a partner that controls their own VAN goes a long way toward ensure your EDI functionality will always be there when you need it.

9) Does the EDI Partner Offer GDSN Compliant Services?

Compliance with the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is an emerging trend in supply chain management. Basically, the GDSN is a set of worldwide data formatting standards created to ensure there’s a common structure used by the thousands of buyers and sellers sending EDI data around the globe. Most large, international retailers now mandate that their suppliers be GDSN compliant, and it will become the industry standard over the next decade. If you want stay ahead of the curve, partner up with an EDI partner who’s already a GDSN certified data pool provider. There are only two in North America right now and they are on the leading edge of the future.

10) Software as a Service (SaaS) EDI Solutions

Do you want your EDI software and database to be hosted on your own internal computers or stored remotely and accessed anytime you need them via the internet? If you chose the latter, you need to source out an EDI partner who offers a SaaS EDI solution. You may have heard of Software as a Service (SaaS) and its close relative, “cloud” computing. Right now, about 50% of North American EDI providers offer a SaaS-based EDI platform. Because SaaS platforms are hosted remotely, they require no IT support from your end, no additional hardware, and can be accessed from anywhere there’s an internet connection. Plus, if your computers go down for any reason, your data is backed up and available on the partner’s servers. The entire software industry is slowly heading in this direction so, again, if you want to be ahead of curve and ready for the future, a web-based SaaS solution is the way to go.

Find out if Commport Communications is the right EDI partner for you! Contact us today for more information.

Ready to find out more?

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