What to consider when getting started with EDI (GS1 US)

You’ll have the choice of a few general options to implementing EDI transactions, ranging from basic to sophisticated.

Before you decide which option is best, consider these four factors recommended by GS1 US:

  • EDI transaction volume
  • System integration needs
  • Business resources
  • Services and support

EDI transaction volume

The first factor to consider is how much EDI transaction volume you expect to have in the future. Will you be using EDI for all cash-to-order business transactions or just a few types? Will you be exchanging a few documents per month or thousands? Will you be working with one or two trading partners or dozens? Will you be exchanging documents once a day or continuously? Answers to these questions will determine if you will be a light EDI user, a super-user, or somewhere in between.

System integration needs

EDI typically involves three key business transactions: 1) purchase orders, 2) advance ship notices and 3) invoices. This means that EDI can involve your purchasing system (for purchase orders), your logistics system (for advance ship notices) and your accounting system (for invoicing). And if your company has an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system EDI can involve this system.

Business resources

You’ll need to decide how you want to support EDI transactions. Do you plan on hiring someone specifically to do EDI, or will EDI be small part of someone’s responsibilities? Do you have someone at your company who can program your systems to interact with EDI? This will help you decide if you can support EDI internally, or if you need to outsource.

Service and support

Your trading partners will expect that your EDI capabilities are available 24/7. This means that you’ll need to have a transmission system in place to support this demand, and be able to troubleshoot any transmission issues as they happen. Will you have the staff and systems to support this internally, or will you need to outsource this?

To learn more about EDI and become a certified  EDI Professional please visit our course schedule page.

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