If you trade with a supplier or a retailer and have been told you need to use EDI, you may well wonder what the term means…

It’s likely to have cropped up if, for example, you are a food or beverage manufacturer looking to sell into a big supermarket chain or you operate a household appliance store and want to sell white goods from a manufacturer such as SMEG or Miele. In such a case, you will probably be told that all orders, invoices, dispatch notices, ASNs (advanced shipping notices) and other transactional and delivery documents need to be managed under EDI messaging protocols. Here’s our response to a search for ‘EDI meaning’:

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange.

It is a means of exchanging business documents directly from computer to computer with minimal requirement for rekeying or manual intervention.

EDI supports the sharing of all documentation relating to a B2B supply chain transaction

From orders and invoices to customs declarations. It replaces the physical and non-formatted exchange of information by post, fax and email.

EDI works by reformatting information in line with internationally recognised standards that can be read by different computers and systems.

There are different EDI standards depending on region, industry and use, so it’s important that your EDI uses the same protocols as your trading network.


Benefits of EDI

EDI transactions bring you a host of benefits.

  1. Take cost savings for example: UK grocers together save more than £650 million a year thanks to EDI. Businesses in general save £14 an order and £8.50 per invoice.
  2. Or faster processing: Unlike a traditional paper-based approach, EDI documents can be sent and received in real-time, speeding up orders and deliveries.
  3. Even if there were no cost or time savings, it would still be sensible to move to EDI to help save the planet. It eliminates paper-based manual processes that are increasingly seen as unsustainable.
  4. And linked to all of the above is the issue of accuracy. The standards organisation GS1 UK has found that on average, up to 5% of the data on a typical paper invoice is inaccurate. Going digital and embracing EDI transactions can eliminate such a costly error rate.

All documents are pre-mapped and automatically referenced and there will be a digital audit trail from start to finish backed by easy storage and retrieval.

By automating manually intensive tasks with EDI, you can free up staff time for higher value tasks, increase efficiency and achieve a more informed 360° view of essential organisational data on, for example, stock control and deliveries.

A faster order-to-cash cycle opened up by EDI means you are less likely to suffer from late delivery or payment penalties and you have the prospect of a better relationship with your trading partners.


Moving to the cloud

You can of course choose to set up and manage your own on-premise EDI solution, handling daily operation yourself.

Increasingly however, companies are discovering that a cloud-based, fully managed EDI service is far more cost-effective. Unlike an on-premise solution, a cloud EDI application has none of the internal running costs or associated overheads.

At connectivity specialist Transalis, we have developed a scalable, high-performance EDI application platform, hosted securely in the cloud and ideal for the continual, automated exchange of trading data.

Our watchwords are visibility, transparency and efficiency. We map and translate data from all sent and received trading documents into all recognised message standards and common EDI protocols.

Unlike other systems, our Transalis eDI™ solutions are quick and easy to set-up and operate. There are no limits set on the number of messages you can send and no hidden monthly charges.

Customers at the heart

We make it as easy as possible to connect your network.

You can rely on us for price transparency, seamless migration to maintain BAU and shorter lead-in times for implementation. Our help includes operator training and reliable, ongoing post-sale support.

In addition, we are recognised as one of just five providers in the world to fulfil the EU’s requirement for a common standard for electronic invoicing. By ensuring our EDI platform aligns with all relevant message types for international trade, we are giving those manufacturers, retailers and suppliers who use EDI the best chance of ready compliance with customs rules as they seek to continue the seamless trading of goods worldwide.

Now that you have an answer to your search for EDI meaning, why not check out our EDI product bundles.

You can also get in contact with our expert team on 0845 123 3746 or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), or contact us via email sales@transalis.com