Hear the difference between non-EDI and standard EDI files from our CEO, Jim Gonzalez
A standard EDI file like ANSI, EDIFACT, TRADACOMMS etc. has a Header, Detail and Summary section that is defined. It also has a Parent-Child relationship that is defined in the dictionary. Sometimes there are slight variances from the dictionary and what makes it a “standard” but for the most part you can follow the document by knowing the standard. This will make it usually easier to decipher and plan for the integration. The EDI tools or solutions are built to follow a standard format for the most part.
When it comes to implementing flat or non-standard files like XML, PDF or CSV that doesn’t have a “standard”, it can be a task to figure out where the information is stored or get the data translated. It all comes down to the documentation on the format and where data is located in the format. If you simply have the file and no documentation, then it takes time to figure everything out.
If there is no clear Header, Detail and Summary it can be difficult to get the EDI tools to parse the data. Sometimes you can get lucky with a clear, straightforward file layout and other times it can be a mess to deal with.
Some EDI tools or solutions are not setup to handle complex formatted files and will need outside software to pre-process the file format. This brings us to the question:
Can your EDI solution handle non-EDI files?
Most often we come across companies that are still either themselves using flat/non-EDI files or their customers or trading partners are.
Some understand the importance of using EDI to remove any manual processing and speed up transactions however they don’t want to lose revenue from their customers who still operate the old way. Either way business cannot stop.
That is why you need a robust EDI solution that takes in non-EDI data from your customer and maps into an EDI format and stores the information the same way in your system or on cloud. In return, converts your EDI file to a non-EDI file format and send it back to your customer which is easy for your customer to use.
Previously and even today, some companies manually process non-EDI files and convert them into an EDI format and vice versa. The question is -is this worth your time?
If your solution doesn’t have this feature built-in, it is not worth it. In this age of automation, choose a solution with broad capabilities that can cater to all your future needs not only current ones.