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10 EDI Implementation Steps – EDI 101 Complete Guide

Take these below steps and use them directly as a part of your EDI project plan or EDI implementation strategy if you are a supplier or distributor across any industry- Food and Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Healthcare, Ecommerce, Automotive etc.

Learn about the overall EDI implementation process here:

  1. Select the type of EDI Service you want to go with

Select the EDI software for your business considering your current infrastructure, resources and long-term needs. If you want to learn how to select the right EDI service partner for your business, we got you covered.Ask the right questions from EDI service providers to learn about their EDI solutions. Understand in detail about different types of EDI solutions available in the market-On-premise, Managed EDI services and Hosted solutions on Cloud and see what will best suit your needs. The other consideration is look for an EDI solution that has broad capabilities and accommodates changing requirements.

  1. Obtain EDI trading partner contact

Generally, if you are trading with any big box companies like Walmart, Target, Amazon etc., you will be given a getting started guide or kit which will have all the contacts (phone, email, etc.) to their EDI/Support team who will help you test the EDI documents. If not, you can obtain the contact info from the buyer team you are dealing with

  1. Gather EDI implementation guidelines for EDI Documents to be exchanged

In the same guide, you should have a web link that will give you access to the EDI documents/codes and their specifications and mapping guidelines.Your EDI service provider takes up the responsibility for all the mapping, translation, technical support and reporting.

  1. Gather EDI connectivity information for delivery of EDI documents

The communication method utilized by your trading partner should also be mentioned in the kit. If not, please get in touch with their EDI contact.

  1. Outline EDI document flow

It is important you work out how your documents will flow from your ERP, WMS, TMS or accounting software (if you have any of them) to your EDI portal and to your trading partner and vice versa. Your EDI service should work with you directly to onboard new trading partners once you have all the above information. They should work with your tech/EDI team to design the flow of EDI documents, ensure connections are dependable, all mappings are setup and ready to be tested.

  1. Test all Internal document flows first

Before you reach out to your trading partner for setting up a date for testing, test the flow of documents from your ERP to your EDI portal. For e.g. you might have to export a sales order in the CSV format from your accounting software and convert it into an EDI format and then think about sending it to your trading partner through the portal. Similarly, there could be multiple back-end systems you might be using that need to interact with your EDI portal. This is one of the most important stages of testing that most companies miss and are struck with surprises in production that can prove to break your implementation.EDI testing can be an extended process depending on your trading partner and your back-end system integration requirements. You need a trained and technical staff to do all the above tasks whether in-house or skilled EDI consultants as back-up staff to carry out all activities as needed.

  1. Setup, schedule a testing date and test connectivity

Once you have the above basic requirements figured out, you can get in touch with the trading partner’s EDI and set up a testing date. After that, the first step will be to test the connection.

  1. EDI document processing with internal user testing and trading partner document approval

The next step will be to test individual EDI documents one by one between your business and the trading partner simultaneously. The guide will tell you how long the testing process will usually take and what is expected of you as a supplier.

  1. Production/Go-Live

Once the testing is completed, there is a production date that is set from the trading partner to go-live and start sending and receiving the EDI documents. Your EDI provider and or EDI consultants should be able to handle everything and make this a seamless process.

  1. EDI error monitoring

Continuous monitoring is required after you go-live to make sure all documents are flowing correctly and timely. Any errors should be corrected timely otherwise these errors can lead to fines or chargebacks and ultimately bad reputation with your trading partners.

Read next

Here is your complete guide to EDI Compliance and why is it important to become EDI compliant?

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