Consolidating EDI services with one EDI provider

by | Dec 4, 2017

There are a lot of EDI services, solutions and providers out there. It might seem like each potential trading partner you encounter has a different preference and demands that you sign up with their EDI provider.

With each new trading partner and each new EDI solution, the costs can add up – both because of all the different EDI providers and all the time spent training, updating and using each individual EDI system.

It’s all completely unnecessary – you don’t need to sign up with a new EDI provider for every trading partner. By consolidating EDI services, you can subscribe to just one EDI provider to communicate with all of your trading partners.

One EDI solution to rule them all

Due to the nature of EDI, there’s no need to have more than one EDI provider. At it’s core, electronic data interchange (EDI) is simply a method for transferring standardized information, and standardized information is all that the trading partner wants from you. That’s also all you truly need from your trading partner, too.

What’s important is that the information is accurate and it’s provided in the right format so it flows through the systems and supply chain smoothly, accurately, instantly.

And that’s the whole point of EDI in the first place.

It’s also why having too many EDI solutions can be a problem. The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the soup” could be easily applied to EDI – “too many EDI solutions spoils the benefits.”

EDI should be easy, not hard

Some of the benefits of EDI solutions are to increase efficiency, boost accuracy, decrease errors, streamline order management processes, reduce data silos, support omnichannel strategy, improve inventory visibility and more.

Most of those benefits are lost when you use many EDI solutions instead of just one. Each EDI solution must be calibrated and tested individually; then each one will require updates that could happen at different times or all at the same time, straining staff and resources, possibly delaying document processing and angering trading partners. Separate EDI portals increase data silos, with the potential to muddy inventory visibility and product performance. Switching between multiple EDI portals can bog down order management processes, slow fulfillment and increase the chance for errors.

When consolidating EDI services to just one provider, you work in one system, make changes in one system, recalibrate and test just one system, maintain and support one system. When you add new trading partners, you don’t have to invest in the new hardware, software, staffing and budget required for another EDI service. You don’t have to worry about learning a new system and all of its quirks. Data silos between EDI systems will be a thing of the past.

EDI services not created equal

Services offered vary from one EDI provider to another. Several EDI solutions can process a wider variety of EDI documents, while some are more limited in their transaction capabilities. One EDI solution might be able to handle larger order volume spikes better than the next. Not all EDI systems are compatible and integrable with other important systems, like certain ERP systems, accounting software and content management solutions.

Support for adding new trading partners to the system and updating their requirements when needed varies as well. For example, a standard service included in the SPS EDI solution is adding and updating all trading partners and their requirements. Our time tested and proven system results in 100% compliance, no matter which EDI system your trading partner ses. After the EDI launch, any time a new trading partner is added or an existing one needs a document template or map updated, SPS takes care of it.

Additional services enhance EDI

Once all of your EDI services are under one roof, and all of your EDI data is being translated through one single source of truth, it makes sense to invest in add on services to enhance your EDI experience. These are like frosting and candies on the EDI cake. Not all EDI providers offer a range of services, though, so it takes some research to find a solution with all the bells and whistles you want, both for what you need now and what you’re planning for future growth.

For example, SPS Commerce offers a suite of supply chain solution options to add layers of opportunity for vendors, suppliers, manufacturers and brands beyond EDI.

The best EDI provider

If you’re going to narrow down all of your EDI services to one provider, you want to make the best choice for your situation. However, the best EDI solution will vary based on your business’s individual requirements and how you’d like EDI to integrate across multiple systems (WMS, CRM, accounting software, et.).

It’s easy if you’re working with an EDI provider that you like, and which fits your needs. But if you’re unhappy with your existing EDI setup, consider consolidating EDI services with a provider and solution that works for your business. Review what systems you have, what capabilities you need, then evaluate the providers that are available. Make sure to choose the one that offers all of the services, support and extra “nice to haves” that fit your existing needs, budget and future plans.

If you’re considering consolidating EDI services, consider SPS Commerce to handle all of your EDI needs. Visit the SPS website or contact an SPS representative to find out why SPS is trusted by more than 70,000 business in 60 countries around the world.

Fruit of the Loom gains efficiency, agility with SPS

Fruit of the Loom gains efficiency, agility with SPS

Find out how the company is thriving after simplifying and consolidating EDI with SPS Commerce.

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Tony Thrasher

Tony Thrasher

Group Product Manager at SPS Commerce
As an expert in retail fulfillment, Tony offers a unique viewpoint on using the latest retail technologies, including the SPS Commerce Retail Network, RFID and more to drive innovation and growth. At SPS, he is responsible for using graph-based architecture to drive meaningful insights and expand the value of the SPS Commerce Platform to customers and partners.
Tony Thrasher

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