EDI Small Business

Top 10 Things to Look for in Your EDI Provider

  • March 09, 2021 / by Infocon Systems

Choosing your EDI provider can seem like a daunting task. We’ve compiled a list of top things to look for when making your choice.

1 | Trading Partners

Trading partners are the businesses you trade with. It’s important to make sure your EDI service provider has the ability to exchange documents with your specific trading partners. Look for providers with a large database of trading partners for your current and future use cases. Some common trading partners include Walmart, Costco, Target, Home Depot.

2 | Document Types, Standards, and Protocols

The primary goal of EDI is to exchange electronic documents seamlessly between your business and others. This means it’s a must to ensure your provider supports all the document types you need. Document types differ depending on the business, trading partner, industry, and scenario. The most common are purchase orders (850), invoices (810), advanced shipping notices (856), and acknowledgements (997).

Make sure your provider can also transmit these documents using a wide array of standards and protocols. Standards include ANSI ASC X12, UN/EDIFACT and even XML, JSON, or CSV. Common protocols used are AS2, FTP, VAN, HTTP, or REST APIs.

3 | Integration

What better way to streamline your EDI than integrate it with all of your back-end business processes and systems. Whether that be your ERP, 3PL, or accounting applications, integrations create a seamless automated workflow that results in incredible efficiencies for your business. Examples of these include Salesforce, ShipStation, 3PL Central, and Quickbooks. Integrations allow you to monitor your full supply chain data accurately and easily.

4 | Timely Implementation

We all are typically working against some timeline or even a fast approaching deadline. Make sure your provider is able to implement your technical solution in the desired timeframe. For simple straightforward implementations, you should be up and running quickly. For more complex or custom integrations, ensure your provider will be able to deliver exactly what you need and when you need it.

5 | Customer Service and Support

Any great solution is only as good as the support you get. While it’s important to look at an effective implementation, it is just as important to see how your provider will handle your requests and support issues pre, during, and post production. Pick a provider that is extremely responsive, ideally with a 24/7/365 support team and available to help you around the clock.

6 | Cost

Make sure you understand the cost structure of your provider upfront. This should be transparent and easy to understand. You don’t want to be surprised with any hidden fees down the line. Depending on the services you sign up for, the cost structure may be different. Keep in mind pricing for any additional trading partners, documents, volumes, or integrations for the future.

7 | Grows With You

As your business grows, your EDI provider should be able to grow with you. A scalable provider means they will adapt to your business expansion and needs as they evolve. Your provider should be able to add new trading partners, integrate into your ERP or accounting systems, implement new documents or EDI versions, reliably support increases in transaction volumes, and quickly do batches of ASNs and invoices.

8 | User Friendly

You should be able to easily monitor your transactions and access your data any time. Look for a provider that gives you a user friendly web portal for your business. The portal should give you visibility into transaction status, provide download capabilities for your raw EDI files or a simple CSV, and give you a quick option for any manual data entry you may want to perform.

9 | A Reliable Technical Stack

Managing critical business data comes with great responsibility. Ensure the technical stack of your provider is secure, reliable, and extensible. High availability, uptime, and encryption will be important as your transactions are processed and move back and forth between your business and different partners.

10 | Experience

And of course, last but not least, pick a provider with experience. The world of EDI comes with its own nuances. You want a provider that has experience with a wide variety of use cases -- whether that be with different trading partners, document types, integrations, industries, sizes, or volumes. This becomes especially important if you are looking for a customized solution.

Infocon Systems has been in the EDI business for over 30 years. We support any trading partner, any integration, and any industry. We pride ourselves in the value we provide to all our wonderful customers. We’d be honored to chat with you today.

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