When should my company start doing EDI or how to get started with EDI are some of the questions small businesses ask us. These questions usually come up in the C or VP level discussions with your tech teams when there are usually two scenarios:
- Your company has been asked/mandated to be EDI compliant from your customer or trading partner which you have to comply with their electronic transaction requirements otherwise you risk reputation and revenue.
- You have found inefficiencies in your order-to-cash cycle and want to streamline your business operations with the right solution that fits your infrastructure and resources.
In both cases, you need an effective EDI implementation strategy to run a successful EDI project from start to finish.
First, let’s understand when you should ideally start thinking about EDI.
You should start doing EDI as soon as you have a plan to expand your start-up or small business. As soon as you decide to start marketing and expand into bigger accounts, you should start looking for an EDI solution that fits your business needs. The advantage to start looking this early into EDI is that when you use your EDI solution as a marketing tool and present your company as EDI-capable, you’ll be one step ahead in landing that one big account and other thereafter as you plan to scale an expand.
When you find yourself in the right situation to start embarking on the EDI journey, below are the questions you should ask your team/yourself:
- What do you know about EDI and how it can help your business? Where can you learn about how EDI works?
- Do you have a mandate from your customer(s) to do EDI or do you want to streamline your business operations?
- What is your affordability for an EDI project?
- What kind of infrastructure or internal resources do you have that can support your EDI project? Do you need an on-premise or cloud-based EDI solution provided by managed EDI providers? How much does different EDI software cost?
- Do you need external EDI consultants like EDI Support LLC to support you with end-to-end implementation or do you have an internal staff that can help execute it?
- What are some of the EDI service providers/solutions that fit your needs and budget? Shortlist them based on your requirements-infrastructure, available resources, budget. You will need the right questions to ask when shopping for EDI providers.
- Do you need integration into your ERP or back-end software?
As you grow in volume, you will also need an ERP that helps manage all your business operations including inventory, finance, planning, logistics and operations. Integrating your ERP with EDI is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity! Integrating all your back-end systems with EDI is your way to go as you think about different stages of growth for your company irrespective of the industry you are in. Ask EDI providers if they can help you integrate EDI into your ERP software.
- Project timelines- You need to worry about how long it takes to implement an EDI solution in general and compare it to the ones managed EDI services are suggesting about their solution.
We at EDI Support help answer all the above questions if you are stuck at a particular stage of your business journey. Early integration and data interchange implementation provides the means to scale operations more rapidly as you see growth and prevents “IT lag-behind” that challenges many organizations experiencing growth today. Be that company that is well-prepared to digitally advance their business operations versus an entity that scrambles at the last minute. Most companies fall in the latter category which means you have to tap into the opportunity now!
Learn about choosing the right EDI provider for your business, develop an outcome-based EDI project strategy and using the right project management tools