When it comes to EDI, just like any other transformative technology, some factors may present barriers before implementation can begin. Many barriers can present themselves when it comes to working with EDI for the first time and each may be unique to a business or industry. In this case, the most common EDI barriers to implementation are:
- Change Management, Education, And Effort
- Willingness Of Customers Or Suppliers
1. Understanding EDI
Understanding EDI is often one of the first EDI barriers to implementation to overcome, but also the easiest. Once a business has a clear picture of the structure, mechanics, and benefits of EDI, the choice to implement or not becomes obvious. What follows is an evaluation of peripheral factors that make EDI implementation feasible or not for that business.
2. EDI Change Management, Education, And Effort
Second on the list of EDI barriers to implementation generally follows understanding EDI. The internal struggle to get management on board, vital staff trained, and reinforce a culture of continual process improvement is no small endeavor. For most businesses, change management is one of the most significant barriers to overcome in projects of just about any size and scope. For businesses taking on the responsibility to administer EDI in-house, this challenge is a pivotal one. Managing software and hardware installation, updates, and maintenance is a full-time job on its own. Many businesses make the mistake of assigning one key resource to oversee EDI, as well. The problems that arise when they decide to take time off or fall ill can be major roadblocks. The problems multiply exponentially should they decide to leave their role entirely. For those who bring on a third party, it’s not as significant. This is because a third-party EDI services provider completes the labor associated with EDI administration, updates, security, and auditing.
3. EDI Implementation And Maintenance Time Requirements
Unlike substantial technological projects, like ERP implementation, EDI Implementation can compete in a relatively fast timeframe. Though, this will depend on the size and scope of a trading network. For businesses with no connection to EDI through their suppliers, it will generally take longer to implement EDI than those whose suppliers and trading partners are already aligned to adopt EDI technology.
Maintenance is an ongoing effort for your in-house team and needs to be met with the same care and attention to detail as any other IT operation to keep things running smoothly. Setting aside time for new mappings, changes required when it’s time to upgrade, and regular auditing is necessary. Hiring a third-party EDI services provider can allay the pressures associated with maintaining your EDI infrastructure.
4. EDI Implementation And Maintenance Costs
Like most process-improving technologies, EDI costs money to implement and maintain. Early iterations of the technology were rather costly. Over the last several years, efficiencies and advancements in EDI have driven costs down. Now, implementations and maintenance are far more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. The price of that implementation and maintenance depends on the number of documents being mapped and the size of a customer’s or supplier’s trading network. Costs come down when in-house IT maintains the EDI infrastructure, but the additional workload does not always justify the savings on the front end. Many businesses find it preferable to have a specialized third party administrate their EDI services, while in-house teams manage day-to-day operations.
5. The willingness Of Customers Or Suppliers
For suppliers, EDI is often already in place or easy to implement when requested by customers. Customers, on the other hand, may not be so keen on adding EDI infrastructure because one trading partner requires it. In this case, the trading relationship can be severed. Suppliers tend to be more open to EDI as a framework for optimizing how transactions and communications take place both in and outside of their organization. Still, suppliers may have particular requirements of an EDI solution that a customer or vendor may not agree with
How The Benefits Of EDI Outweigh The EDI Barriers To Implementation
While there are plenty of potential obstacles to overcome when implementing a transformative technology like EDI, the benefits are well worth the process. Successful implementation yields tremendous benefits for businesses, including:
- Reduced administrative/transaction costs
- Decreased inventory levels/inventory costs
- Improved information accuracy
- Improved cash flows
- Better customer service
- Enhanced competitiveness in the marketplace
- Efficient communication
- More valuable trading partner relationships
- More free time for valuable in-house resources
- Improved security
To learn more about EDI and how it can benefit your business, contact the EnTrust EDI experts at Encompass Solutions using the link below.
About Encompass Solutions
Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider, and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of the Industry.