EDI Interconnects – VAN service
EDI Interconnects are very common and refer to different VAN service providers having the ability to connect and communicate to each other. Your company might use VAN A. One of your vendors might use VAN B. These VANs exchange data with each other using a mailbag with EDI batches used for exchanging EDI files and for tracking purposes. Without interconnect capability, there would be no path from your company to your vendor.
Some companies use multiple VAN providers, one for each of their trading partners. At first glance this just seems to add cost and overhead. The offsetting benefit of using multiple VANs is that it can decrease float time of interconnects and eliminate the (rare) chance of failure points and data loss associated with VANs connecting to each other.
Some companies force their trading partners into using a specific VAN. Of course, on the other end of the transaction, the trading partner might have to support multiple VANs if several of its trading partners impose the same condition and they all use different VANs.
There is definitely a “Value-Add” offered by Value Added Network providers. The main benefit of the VAN is that it can be the single point one-stop shop for sending and receiving EDI data. A company does not have to worry about maintaining and supporting multiple connection points. There are many other services that the VAN service provider offers. Here is a partial list:
- Support for Multiple Protocols – The VAN provider is usually flexible about what communications protocol its customer has. It can support almost all of them. For example, one company might use FTP, another company might use EMAIL (SMTP), and another company might still be using dial up. The VAN provider’s sophisticated infrastructure can support all these transmission methods.
- In-Network Translation – Although not common anymore, some VANs offer In-Network translation, which would replace the role of the in-house EDI translator.
- Compliance Checking – Without accessing the actual content of the EDI file, the VAN can validate the EDI data at the envelope level to ensure it complies with a published EDI standard.
- Various Routing Options – For example, carbon copying a duplicate copy of the EDI transaction to additional recipients.
- Dispute Resolution – Since a VAN serves as a third party between trading partners, the trading partner can use transmission logs to determine if mission critical data was actually transmitted.
- Support – Most VANs monitor EDI traffic and provide support 24/7. Although VANs offer support they can not be held liable for misplacing or losing data.
To learn more about EDI communication methods and become a certified EDI Professional please visit our course schedule page.