What is a managed EDI service?
A managed EDI service is an organization that offers a full-fledged EDI software and ideally should take care of mapping, testing, full implementation of the software and help continuously monitor for errors through the entire term of the contract for its clients.
What do most managed EDI services lack?
One of the biggest issues with managed EDI service companies is that their customers do not get what they pay for whether it is on a monthly or yearly basis. For the most part, EDI is setting up and forgetting it however, there is a need of continuous monitoring of the EDI documents that flow back and forth from your system to your trading partner’s system.
Continuous monitoring has been a huge part of a successful EDI implementation project because any errors can lead to fines and costing your reputation from your trading partners. Managed EDI services are usually supposed to monitor the system after the implementation is done. In most cases, you’ll find that they are not proactive but reactive to the errors. It is only when you call them and raise a ticket is when one of their customer support members will respond to that automated ticket and even then, there is no guarantee that you’ll get a resolution in 24-48 hours. What if you need an answer now? An automated response in your email doesn’t help in such a situation. You need to talk to a tech support person and he or she should be able to resolve the situation there and then. These are some of the important questions you need to ask when you first vet different managed EDI service companies. Along with the question about their support and response times, ask them what is the volume of transactions their system can handle (you need to know this because as you grow, you will have more trading partners and more volume), how long is their contract for and how long they will take to setup your EDI and run it.
How does the lack of EDI support from your managed EDI service affect your business?
- Trading partner requirements not being met
- Revenue loss
- Brand reputation
Let’s say you set up a brand new client with EDI using a managed EDI software. They promised you that they will take care of all your EDI needs from mapping to monitoring of EDI errors and overall management or there is a possibility that they never told you that they will manage your EDI post setup, what do you think is going to happen?
If you miss a small window of shipping because of an issue and you hear from your managed EDI service that it can take 48 hours (or in most cases even more) to fix that issue, the so called “customer service” that is being provided is of no use because you’ll receive a fine or a chargeback from your trading partner.
Most often what happens is companies don’t have the EDI knowledge on staff so they rely on managed EDI services to guide and direct them with EDI best practices. On the other hand, the managed EDI services do not have the tech bandwidth or they don’t have an efficient customer support system that can answer their calls or resolve their issues timely.
Bottom line is if you are not controlling your trading partner relationships and relying on some third party managed EDI services, it can prove to be a disaster for your company.
EDI Support’s Recommendation
Our suggestion is to vet the companies you talk by asking the right questions on their support and resolution times and take references from their current clients before you sign even a one-year contract with any managed EDI service provider. As a best practice, it is important to clearly define the role your team will have in the EDI project and what is the role of the managed EDI service you are hiring. Ask the right questions about their software capabilities, their process to handle queries, their response times, the EDI knowledge on their staff and also take reference from their current clients before signing a contract. Customer tech support should be the top priority of a managed EDI service! Again, not all managed EDI services are alike. You have to choose the right managed EDI service that best fits your needs. Pen down your top priorities in terms of an EDI project you are planning to roll out and what you are looking in a third party service EDI company.
Here are some questions you should answer before you get started with EDI. Use this checklist to determine if you are really ready to start an EDI program at your company.