Are you ready to boost productivity with the efficiency and reliability of EDI? If you are, great! If not, we can help you get there. If you’re not sure one way or the other, you can use this EDI readiness checklist to find out how ready your business is to implement an EDI solution that will deliver improved performance, increased security and scalability to grow with your business as you expand your trading network.

EDI Readiness Checklist

There are quite a few factors that influence a business’ ability to implement EDI. many of them are easy to address and may already be in place within your organization. For those essential criteria you may lack, the EDI experts at Encompass Solutions can help you prepare your business to implement an EDI solution, like EnTrust. Below you will find the most important factors to consider when evaluating your EDI readiness and why they need to be considered before implementation.

1. Do I know all my trading partners?

It may sound a bit silly to ask yourself who do I trade with, but you may be surprised what a trading partner audit will reveal. It’s important to know all of your trading partners and have the most up to date data on their company so that you can communicate your plans to implement EDI. Your trading partners need to know your system of communicating orders and associated notifications will be changing or a change is at least being considered. They’ll be able to make the choice to join your new way of doing things or not based on the information provided. This is a respectful way to ensure you partners know you value the relationship and want them to be able to make an informed decision on how they’d like the relationship to proceed. in most cases, trading partners are more than happy to rely on EDI as a means of communication throughout the trading network.

2. Do I have specifications form all of my trading partners?

An extension of the previous question, it is important to know if you or your trading partners will require any specific documents or mappings for certain scenarios. This can be applied to customers/suppliers who use 3PL to deliver goods or those dealing with metallurgy who require a Mill Test Report (MTR) accompany any shipment of raw materials. Get in touch with your trading partners prior to moving forward with implementation if you do not already have each partner’s specifications.

3. Do I know all my document types?

While it may seem like an obvious topic, it bears worth mentioning. There are several EDI documents that only apply to specific industries. So, it’s important to know exactly what EDI document types are applicable to your unique business before approaching EDI implementation. Some examples include patient information communications for healthcare industries, unique document types specific to grocery retailers, and those EDI documents used primarily by motor carriers to invoice for freight services.

4. Do I have a VAN?

You do not need a VAN if implementing direct-EDI/point-to-point EDI. However, If you are relying on a third-party to administer your EDI, you should know if they employ the services of a VAN or, if you’d like them to, which VAN is to be used in their overseeing of your business’ EDI. This is important because two trading partners would need to use the same VAN, regardless of what EDI protocol they are utilizing.

5. Do I have a translation tool?

An EDI translation tool is the same as an EDI software solution. It interprets documents in an electronic format the same way it would be done if a PO or Invoice was received manually from a trading partner. These translation tools can be implemented in a number of configurations, typically manually or integrated. In manual configurations, the recipient of a document must manually enter the data into an in-house system, such as ERP software. In an integrated configuration, the data transfer is seamless and automatically handled by the integrated EDI solution.

6. Do I have staff available to implement?

Not everyone has an IT department capable of taking on the additional workload of EDI oversight. If your organization does, then you may feel comfortable tackling implementation on your own. If not, a third-party, like Encompass Solutions, can help you achieve successful implementation and ongoing maintenance of your EDI solution.

7. Do I have the budget available to implement?

As with any project, the budget has to be taken into account. You can save money by going through with implementation internally, be it using direct-EDI or using EDI software. The one caveat for going this route is that you should have an internal resource with extensive EDI experience. If your team is not experienced enough to tackle the project, you may want to consider bringing in a third-party that specializes in EDI and business management systems. If manually implementing EDI, you can expect to pay for mapping and a VAN, if you choose to bring the latter on to supplement your EDI efforts. Alternatively, if going the third-party route, you can expect to pay for the mapping and ongoing maintenance. In this case, the VAN usually comes as part of the EDI service provided.

Download the EDI Readiness Checklist

Download the free EDI Readiness checklist to take one step closer to your business’ EDI implementation.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.