EDI in the supply chain delivers a host of benefits over paper-based processes including accuracy improvements and the avoidance of time-consuming repetitive tasks and the risk of human error. How can you transform your business with EDI in the supply chain?

EDI, standing for Electronic Data Interchange, has revolutionised how business is done in industries across the world. It is the technology that enables supply chain partners to automate how they transfer business information to and from each other.

Trading partners access EDI through a standardised format to facilitate the exchange of a vast range of document types.

They include orders, invoices, amendments, acknowledgments, Advance Shipment Notices, remittance advice, inventory lists, delivery instructions, product catalogues, and sales reports.

The present-day use of EDI in the supply chain is ubiquitous in many sectors, with larger retail players mandating its use by their manufacturers, suppliers and partners in warehousing, logistics and delivery.

Our bundled EDI solutions

How EDI started

EDI in the supply chain can trace its origins back to the mid-1960s when advances in technology made the computer-to-computer transmission of data in agreed formats possible.

The first industry to develop standard EDI formats was transport, specifically US railroad operators. They formed a data coordinating committee whose aim was to reconcile the many different ways that industry partners such as shipping companies, airlines and trucking firms presented cargo information. Initially the processes supported centred around order-to-cash and procure-to-pay cycles.

With the development of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in the 1970s and 80s, the use of EDI in the supply chain expanded to other sectors such as food and beverage, banking and automotive. Along with the spread into different industries came a plethora of EDI standards governing format and communication protocols.

Now more and more EDI users, including small businesses, are tapping into the benefits of automated processes.

Benefits of EDI in the supply chain

Accuracy and transparency

By automating the exchange of essential trading information, EDI in the supply chain delivers many benefits, including cost efficiencies, speed of turnaround, and improved accuracy and transparency.

Fast and secure file transfer supports business relationships, sales performance, inventory operations and overall supply chain management. Not to mention by dispensing with paper-based processes altogether, EDI can legitimately claim to be a green technology.

Through EDI, the Accounts Receivable team of the supplier is seamlessly and automatically connected to the accounts payable system of the buyer. This cuts down the timing of any given transaction from days or weeks to just minutes or hours.

By removing the need for human intervention, the risk of errors is minimised. This has obvious advantages:

  • Speeding up payment
  • Optimising stock and inventory
  • Improving cashflow

In turn, enhanced performance can boost a company’s reputation for efficiency in the eyes of its partners and customers, so strengthening the chances of loyalty and repeat business.

Benefits for businesses large and small

While EDI has become an accepted technology to support large-scale B2B transactions, more and more SMEs are reaping its benefits too. Some small businesses are mandated to use it by a retail partner, with others keen to adopt it anyway as they scale up.

Here at Transalis, we know that most businesses prefer not to get involved with the complex ins and outs of EDI in the supply chain. They just want to enjoy the benefits and rely on a provider to do the heavy lifting.

With us, you do not have to spend time on the technicalities or keep up with regulatory requirements. Instead, you benefit from price transparency, frictionless migration to maintain BAU (Business As Usual), shorter lead-in times for implementation, comprehensive operator training and reliable, ongoing post-sale support. We also offer a dedicated on-boarding process for your trading partners.

eDI Instant

As simple as 1,2,3. Buy EDI online in an instant and connect with your trading partner today


eDI Essential

Buy online now and exchange digital documents with up to 2 trading partners


eDI Freedom

Build your own bespoke EDI solution according to your supply chain & integration needs


eDI Connect

Ideal for companies with many trading partners, high order volumes, requiring enhanced stock & sales reporting


eDI Connect+

Perfect for larger organisations requiring complete visibility across their supply chain to improve efficiencies


If you are keen to find out more about EDI in the supply chain as you look to expand your trading network, we can introduce you to a variety of solutions to meet your needs. Why not give us a call on 0845 123 3746 (calling from UK) or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), or contact us via email sales@transalis.com to discuss your requirements.