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Key Steps in New Supplier EDI Onboarding You Shouldn’t Miss!

Take these steps and use them directly as a part of your EDI project plan or implementation strategy if you are a new 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. Layout the EDI requirements from your trading partners

Your trading partners will provide you a “getting started” guide or kit which will have all the contacts 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. 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. 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. The EDI service provider you choose should take up the responsibility for all the mapping, translation, technical support and reporting

  1. Figure out internal tech and resource gaps and how you will fill them

Assess your internal infrastructure to understand whether you’ll need an on-premise or a managed EDI service or hosted solutions on cloud and the kind of resources that can help you with EDI implementation. Figure out the gaps and pen down what is needed externally to fill those gaps.

  1. Find the right EDI software partner and team

If you think you’ll need an EDI software from an EDI vendor, reach out the vendors that fit your internal infrastructure. Ask yourself do you just need the software or would you need an outsourced team to implement it?

Depending on your needs and resource gaps, 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. The other consideration is look for an EDI solution that has broad capabilities and accommodates changing requirements.

  1. Prioritize your trading partners for onboarding

Depending on how many trading partners want you to implement EDI, prioritize which trading partners you will implement first and so on based on the revenue you get from each trading partner, which of them are large entities, who has been asking for a long time etc. There could be other factors too.
  1. Outline EDI document flow and test all documents

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.

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. Your EDI service provider should take care of all of the end-to-end testing. If not, 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. 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

Learn about the top 5 things you should know before signing EDI provider contract. When you know what to ask your EDI provider, you are more empowered to take the right decision or your business.
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