EDI Outsourcing

The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to EDI Outsourcing

In this in-depth guide you’ll learn:

  • Definition of EDI outsourcing
  • Who needs EDI outsourcing?
  • Reasons to choose EDI Outsourcing?
  • In-house EDI Vs EDI Outsourcing
  • Benefits of EDI outsourcing

 

So if you’re ready to go “all in” with EDI outsourcing, this guide is for you.

Let’s dive right in.

EDI Outsourcing Workflow

Define EDI Outsourcing

EDI outsourcing means that you will not buy any EDI software or invest in any type of in-house EDI infrastructure, nor will you have to directly manage the EDI aspect of your relationship with your customer, including any large trading partners or retailers instead, all your EDI transactions will be handled by an EDI outsourcing company or 3rd party EDI provider.

 

Contents

Chapter 1

What is EDI Outsourcing?

In this chapter, we will talk about following topics

  • Introduction to EDI outsourcing
  • Key reasons to outsource EDI
  • Choose flexible payment options
  • Biggest IT Challenge

 

Let’s dive right in.

What is EDI Outsourcing - Commport Communications

Introduction

EDI Outsourcing Workflow

Implementing and managing an EDI platform can be daunting for many organizations, especially small to medium size companies that tend to work with one or few large trading partners wo require companies to be EDI Compliant.

Also, developing and implementing an in-house EDI solution requires access to a broad range of skills and capital investment in hardware and software. Hence, looking for a managed EDI service provider is far more appealing.

Some of the key reasons to outsource your EDI are,

  1. Reduce the cost to invest in a new EDI software
  2. No need to hire any EDI specialists or experts
  3. Easy payment options with most providers offering pay as you go service
  4. You always have access to the latest technology, as the 3rd party service provider ensures that it offers the most up-to-date infrastructure and facilities.
  5. There will be an opportunity to scale your business as the 3rd party provider may also offer you additional value-added services to enable you to trade worldwide
  6. Increases business agility by giving means to quickly enter new markets
  7. Become an EDI complaint and that encourages many trading partners to do business with you easily.
  8. When you outsource EDI, you bring in expertise

Chapter 2

Who Needs EDI Outsourcing?

In this chapter, we will talk about the importance of EDI outsourcing and who uses EDI outsourcing?

EDI outsourcing is used by many industries from automotive to retail, healthcare to construction companies, and many more!

In the following chapters, we will discuss some of the important benefits of EDI outsourcing

Let's get started,

 
Who needs EDI outsourcing - Commport Communications

The managed EDI service / EDI outsourcing (EDI service bureau) are perfect for your business if you are,

  1. Seasonal Vendor

A seasonal vendor who only needs to exchange EDI documents during specific times of the year.

  1. Cost-Effective Solution

A vendor looking to cost-justify every business transaction

  1. Avoid Upfront Costs

Looking to avoid costly upfront EDI software costs, then EDI outsourcing is right for your business

  1. Integration

Able to integrate some business transactions but not others

  1. Meet EDI Requirements

Needing to meet a retailer’s EDI requirement immediately, without delay

  1. Running Business Seamlessly

In between business systems and looking for a way to keep your external-facing business running seamlessly in the meantime

  1. Support

Not interested in supporting the communications, software, or personnel required to run in house EDI

  1. Outsource

Looking to outsource your EDI Department

Chapter 3

11 Reasons to Choose Commport as Your EDI Outsourcing Partner

In this chapter, we will discuss what are the main reasons for businesses to choose 3rd party EDI providers.

We will discuss in detail the 11 reasons why some businesses choose EDI outsourcing services.

Let’s begin,

11 reasons to choose EDI outsourcing - Commport Communicati
  1. Achieve EDI compliance quickly and easily via Commport EDI outsourcing

Meet your trading partners/customers’ EDI requirements and increase your sales with Commport's managed EDI services (EDI outsourcing). Commport team can manage all aspects of your EDI transactions like sending and receiving orders, invoices, and other electronic documents quickly, easily, and cost-effectively without investing in actual EDI software or solution.

  1. Fully automate your trading process with end-to-end integration

With Commport EDI outsourcing services, you can streamline your business processes and shorten the order-to-cash cycle. By using our FAX to EDI / EDI to FAX solutions or you can also use our blended options enabling you to send /receive documents electronically while faxing others. The solution enables you to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve data accuracy.

  1. Reallocate your resources for more strategic activities with a fully managed EDI service

Commport will provide the experience, skills, and infrastructure to allow you to concentrate on your core business and which will allow you to reallocate your resources to manage more strategic activities.

  1. Improve business insight and performance with advanced reporting and analytics

Commport offers various types of reporting such as order acknowledgment (997 reporting), easy to read reports for all transactions processed by the service bureau. Access to Commport Network’s online real-time visibility tool, RouterLink. Packaging instructions to accurately convey how your shipment has been prepared.

  1. Grow your business with Commport global trading partner network

Quickly and easily connect to over 6000+ trading partner maps. Connect to your customer and start exchanging all the EDI messages your customers have requested. Our trading partner catalog makes it easy for you to achieve and maintain EDI compliance.

  1. More Support and Secure

Commport managed EDI service provides you with a first-class infrastructure with no requirement for hardware or software. With managed EDI service your organization will be free from the burden and risks associated with capital investment, technical issues, and maintenance costs.

  1. Fully redundancy

Fully redundant hardware, software, and networking components

  1. Maximum security

Delivered by the tier-3 state-of-the-art SOC 2 certified data center

  1. 99% uptime

Industry-leading service availability by providing a combination of the best hardware and network components.

  1. Complete disaster recovery

Robust and regularly tested disaster recovery capabilities including real-time switch processes

  1. Connecting Everything

Every trading partner requires a different communication method, internet protocols, and networks to integrate applications and exchange data. As your managed service provider, Commport will handle all integrations for you. We support,

            Unlimited data format

            Endless document types

            A wide array of communication protocols

Chapter 4

12 Factors to Consider While Evaluating a Managed EDI Service Provider

Here are some of the important factors

  • Pricing
  • Security
  • Customer support
  • Scale

 

Lets go in more detail,

12 factors to consider while evaluating a EDI outsourcing service provider
  1. Pricing model

Each company has a different pricing model when it comes to selling its managed EDI services. Some of the pricing models are pay-as-you-go, monthly, and yearly. However, with Commport-managed EDI services you get to choose any of the 3 pricing models depending on your business needs.

Also, a few other things to check before signing the contract with any other service provider is check if they have any hidden or additional charges such as character limits, free VAN services, EDI mapping, or record lengths. If you are dealing with a large amount of data exchange, it might be better to look at all-inclusive packages. Commport offers many types of all-inclusive packages. Please contact our sales team now for more info.

So, to help you choose the best pricing model it’s better to first assess the volume of your data exchange which can help you choose the right pricing model that best suits your business scenario.

  1. Types of connections and integrations supported

Each trading partner you do business with may have different requirements when it comes to the integration and exchange of EDI documents and requires different communication protocols. So, it is important to choose the right solution that supports various connections and integrations. Also, it should be compatible enough to add new future connections easily, so that it does not affect your business relationship and growth.

Also, you need to evaluate what type of integration you need between your ERP and business systems and EDI. We recommend using a solution that easily integrates with your existing ERP system as that is easier to manage and track EDI documents.

  1. EDI platform security – Does the EDI provider offer a secure platform?

Security is the most important factor to consider before hiring a managed EDI service provider company. Always ask for proof of accreditations and certifications. As cybersecurity is a growing concern and can disrupt business stability and lead to losses. So, it is important to ensure that the EDI provider has a secure platform as you will be exchanging crucial documents with your business partners using EDI.

  1. Customer support and Multilingual

Having 24/7 round-the-clock customer support is crucial to ensure business continuity. Especially if you have global operations working in different time zones. Also, this means you will need EDI translation services if there are different formats in use in different regions of organizations. One another thing to also consider when your global operations are to see if the EDI provider offers multilingual support, as some of your customers speak a different language than English, and it’s better to consider an EDI provider which offers multilingual customer support options.

  1. Can you expect platform downtime?

In any IT environment downtime is common. Sometimes it could be planned downtime and sometimes it could be due to some technical glitches. However, the most important thing to consider is how your EDI provider manages this downtime in terms of customer communication and backup. Because it is important to note that any downtime can limit the exchange of documents and can cause losses to the business.

So, it is important to note that your provider has strong communication and backup processes in place in such a situation which could affect your business continuity. Also do clarify, what kind of support you can expect from their customer support team during downtime.

  1. Is the solution being user-friendly

The two main reasons for many businesses to switch to managed EDI services are one they don’t have time to invest in infrastructure and the other to automate the business process and avoid manual human interventions to avoid processing delays and errors. Considering these reasons, it’s important that your business chooses the right EDI vendor which offers a user-friendly solution that can be operated by individuals with minimal to no prior EDI knowledge.

It should be easy for you to add business partners and use the solution. Also, one other thing to consider as well is to check if the EDI vendor provides onboarding tutorial videos, as it makes onboarding a breeze.

  1. Experience in the Industry

The experience of an EDI vendor in a particular set of industries is also very important, as they already understand the EDI format and can also have existing connections with your trading partner in your industry. Also, the EDI standard format varies from one industry to another. The more industries the EDI vendor has experience in is better.

  1. Can the EDI solution scale as you grow?

As your business grows the solution should be able to handle the changes. A good EDI solution should be able to let you extend or increase the number of EDI business relations such as customers, vendors, or warehouses with ease. Also, you should check that the EDI provider offers an expedited onboarding process for all your vendors and customers can help you get started with EDI quickly. That’s why you should try to find a provider who has experience in your industry and has established relationships with your trading partners already, which will make the onboarding process faster.

  1. Can you add other services easily?

Going to multiple vendors for different EDI needs can be time-consuming and frustrating. It’s important to identify a vendor who offers a complete range of EDI solutions and services under one roof. As your business scale, you may require different services, and Companies like Commport Communications, not only provides managed EDI services, but can also provide EDI translation, mapping, and various other solutions under one roof. This can make your job easier and as a business owner, you don’t have to look for different vendors for different services.

  1. Implementation time and cost

As we all know time is money. The more time it takes to find a suitable solution the more money you lose as a business. So, it is important to ask your new vendor before onboarding their services how long will it take them to complete the implementation and get running. You need to ask what the time was taken for similar projects in the past and can they provide you with tentative deadlines to complete the project on time. The most important step is to check for references of past implementations. Once you learn about other companies and their experiences and challenges, it might be easier to decide.

  1. Feature compatibility

Before deciding on an EDI vendor, it’s also important to check if the services provided by the vendor are compatible with your business technology, like does it get easily integrated with your ERP, accounting, billing, order processing, and other systems at your end.  The more compatible the solution is the better it will integrate with all your internal business systems and can help automate the whole process and improve business efficiency and cashflow.

  1. Data transaction volume

As your business scale, the total data transaction number will also increase. So, it is important to note how much volume of data your vendor system can handle at any given time and is it easy to scale this volume as your business grows. Also, another important thing to consider here is the pricing, with increased data transaction volume there is a chance of an increase in pricing as well, so it’s better to understand your vendor pricing model and how it going to cost you as a business owner before signing up with any EDI vendor. The tip here is to choose a vendor who offers flexible paying options.

Chapter 5

In-house EDI (Cons) Vs EDI Outsourcing (Pros)

In this chapter, we will be explaining ' Pros and Cons of In house Vs Outsource EDI'

Importance of EDI outsourcing

Advantages of using EDI outsourcing over In-house EDI solution

Lets get started,

In House EDI vs EDI Outsourcing - Commport Communications

In-house or outsource?  Every company must take this decision at one time or another regardless of business size or operations. Now the next question which pops up in our mind is the pros and cons of in-house/outsourced EDI solutions.

The table below summarizes the pros and cons of each solution which can help you make a better decision.

 

In-House EDI

(Cons)

EDI Outsourcing (Managed EDI Services)

(Pros)

Needs to build a hardware infrastructure

Existing reliable state-of-the-art infrastructure

Translation and mapping software

Managed translation via cloud / SAAS platform

Require continues learning

Decades of relevant industry experience

Needs experienced staff and consultants

You will have 24/7 expert support

Need to develop each data format from scratch

Unlimited data formats

Can only support limited document types. Adding new document types is time-consuming

Endless document types

Any given type can only support a few communication protocols. Adding new protocols needs experienced staff and skills

A wide array of communication protocols

You are completely responsible for the maintenance of your infrastructure

You do not have to worry about infrastructure or technology. Your outsourcing firm handles all of that.

In-house, EDI solution must be constantly monitored and needs to invest in manpower to do that

Outsourcing firms are experts in EDI solutions, so you do not have to be

You need to handle your trading partner’s special requirements

A third-party outsourcing firm can handle your trading partners’ special requirements

It’s difficult to enter new markets and territories

Increase business agility by giving you a means to quickly enter new markets and territories

You need constantly upgrade your technology

Your outsourcing company will always have access to the latest technology

You to develop each new solution on your own

Can provide multiple solutions under a single platform

You need to perform ongoing maintenance

EDI provider handles the ongoing maintenance which includes upgrades, mapping changes, and trading partner requirement changes

Require lots of IT resources

Reduces IT costs

It May require manual data entry

Reduce manual data entry or you can 100% automate it

Difficult to scale and add new trading partners

Easy to scale and add new trading partners. Integrates once to connect with anyone in the network

Prone to human error

Human errors are eliminated

Ongoing costs for licensing, certifications, resources, security and more

Pay only for what you use and scale up or down based on business demands

Hosted on your own servers and hardware

Cloud based technology

Chapter 6

20 Benefits of EDI outsourcing

Here is the list of some of the important benefits of EDI outsourcing

  1. Reduce costs
  2. Increase business efficiency 
  3. Improve cashflow
  4. Easy to add new trading partners
  5. Ensure compliance

 

Lets read more,

 

 

20 Benefits of EDI Outsourcing - Commport Communications
  1. Fax-to-EDI/EDI-to-Fax solutions for everyday business transactions such as Purchase Orders (850), PO Changes (865), Invoices (810), Advanced Ship Notices (856), and Remittance Advice (820)
  2. Fax-to-EDI/EDI-to-Fax for specialty partners, industries, and transactions for example the JC Penney Routing Instructions (753/754), Planning Schedule (830), and the ability to create an ASN based on the planning schedule for Just-In-Time logistics partners (Automotive).
  3. Blended options enabling you to send/receive some documents electronically while faxing others.
  4. Easy to read reports for all transactions processed by the Service Bureau
  5. Packing instructions to accurately convey how your shipment has been prepared
  6. Comprehensive VAN Services with global connections carried on the Commport Network
  7. Products and services to support your EDI needs now, and as you grow
  8. UCC-128 labels for all shipping documents (can be made available for print at your location or can be couriered to you as a part of the service)
  9. Minimize IT / operational costs
  10. Ensure EDI efficiency and compliance
  11. Resolve critical issues quickly
  12. Quickly add trading partners
  13. Manage partner’s requirements
  14. Scale your EDI infrastructure when your business grows
  15. Maintain secure EDI communications across your business and with all your partners
  16. You always have access to the latest technology, as the service provider’s business depends on ensuring it offers the most up-to-date facilities
  1. As you are connecting with external systems, the provider facilitates the community enablement process as well as offers value-added services to enable you to trade worldwide
  2. Increase business agility by giving you a means to quickly enter new markets and territories
  3. Increase business productivity by delivering a new level of information about your performance and that of your supply chain and your business partners
  1. With fully managed EDI service you can re-allocate resources to more strategic activities

Chapter 7

Why Choose Commport as your EDI outsourcing partner?

Commport’s Service Bureau offers managed EDI services built on our strength and expertise

Commport’s Service Bureau offers managed EDI services built on our strength and expertise

Lets get started,

 

 

Why choose Commport as your EDI outsourcing partner

EDI Outsourcing Services - Commport Service Bureau

By outsourcing your EDI to Commport, you set yourself free to focus on your business and what you do best. EDI outsourcing means that you will not need to make any investment in EDI software, nor will you have to directly manage the EDI aspect of your relationship with your customer, including large retail clients.

EDI outsourcing is also suitable if you have implemented a fully integrated EDI-compliant system but still have partners who want to send you faxes. Commport’s managed EDI Service Bureau can be your clearinghouse for fax automation. We can process all your paper-based documents and generate their electronic equivalents in the format of your preference for electronic integration.

Commport’s Service Bureau offers managed EDI services built on our strength and expertise. We will receive your purchase orders at our office and forward them to you via fax or email. You simply fulfill the order and send the details of the shipment back to us. We’ll enter this
information for you and send it on to your end customer.

Commport’s Service Bureau is your path to growth. From managed EDI to EDI Web Forms and fully integrated data processing, Commport has the solution to fit your business.

We handle everything from

  1. Onboarding

Our integration specialists will coordinate with your trading partners and providers, requirements by expertly managing complicated EDI testing alongside your transitions and migrations. All of which ensure a smooth onboarding period with no inter­rup­tions to your current processes.

  1. Up to Date

Just provide us with your trading partner mandates and mapping requirements to our EDI experts and our team will make sure everything is implemented seamlessly without interrupting your internal operations.

  1. Scalable

Our solution grows easily as your business grows and adding new trading partners or EDI transactions is very easy and EDI experts will take care of all the integrations as they come in.

  1. Support

We are one of the few companies in the world to offer multilingual and 24/7 live support. We have whopping 87% customer satisfaction as per our recent customer satisfaction survey in 2021

  1. Uptime

Commport network has an impeccable 99.99% uptime record which means uninterrupted data flow with no downtime for system maintenance or software upgrades.

Contact us today and find out how easy EDI can be with Managed EDI from Commport Service Bureau.

 

Conclusion

EDI outsourcing is the process of having a third-party company like Commport Communications manage a part or entire process of using EDI to exchange data with trading partners. While businesses of many sizes use EDI outsourcing, the primary benefit is usually associated with smaller businesses.

The key reason for outsourcing is the reduction of the cost of investing in your own infrastructure while ensuring that you have access to the right level of skills to deliver your required service.

With EDI outsourcing you get the benefit from a first-class infrastructure with no requirement for hardware or software. Free your organization from the burden and risks associated with capital investment, technical issues, and maintenance costs.

Your company can reduce IT costs by 30% or more by switching to a managed EDI service. Some providers use a pay-as-you-go model, while others use the monthly or annual subscription. These costs will depend on volume (usually measured in kilo-characters contained in your EDI transactions), the number of retail partners, and the level of support. At Commport we offer all 3 flexible payment options.

In this guide we cover in detail all aspects of EDI outsourcing talking about its benefits, why choose an EDI outsourcing vendor, and what costs and payment plans you can expect.  This guide can help you with your decision to move your EDI transactions to a managed EDI service provider or not.