Finding the best EDI for manufacturing can help you achieve frictionless relationships with your retailers, wholesalers and customers.

Manufacturers in all sectors are redoubling their efforts to stay competitive as the long-term effects of the pandemic continue. That means bearing down on costs to drive ever-greater efficiencies in operations. When it comes to the processing and exchange of essential trading data, finding the best EDI for manufacturing can help you achieve frictionless relationships with your retailers, wholesalers and customers.

But how exactly does EDI benefit manufacturing, and how can you take advantage?

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Visibility, Transparency, and Efficiency

Fulfilling customer orders, shipping requested items accurately and on time, receiving and processing payments – there are many aspects to successful engagement with your delivery partners and retailers.

Trading relationships, whether wholesale or dropship, depend on combining great customer service with robust and reliable systems for administration and data processing.

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) can help manufacturers achieve frictionless business by providing visibility, transparency, and efficiency in dealings across the trading network.


EDI is a means of exchanging business documents relating to B2B supply chain transactions with minimal requirement for manual intervention.

As well as orders and invoices, EDI for manufacturing automates the use of Advanced Shipment Notices (ASNs), quotes, despatch and returns instructions, tax summaries, debit and credit notes, remittance advice and many other kinds of documentation.

The exchange of documents can include structured, quantitative data characterised by numbers, values and tabular-type entries, and unstructured, qualitative-type data typically found in, for example, text files or emails.

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

How AG Barr underpins its supply chain processes with EDI

AG Barr EDI Case Study

Soft drinks producer AG Barr, famous for the iconic and best-selling Irn-Bru, operates a complex distribution and retail network. It encompasses regional cash and carry wholesalers who sell to the smallest of corner shops.

At the same time, there are direct supply channels to the biggest players in food and beverage retail such as Tesco, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and The Co-op. In addition, there are many contracts with restaurant groups and grocers.

Managing so many routes to market means that AG Barr’s customer service team has long had to deal with a wide range of EDI capability among partners. While there is fully automated EDI deployment by household-name retailers, there can be zero capability among smaller independents more used to unstructured data presented on PDFs and email.

Julie Kelly, Business Process Analyst, says: “Our larger customers, such as Tesco and Bookers, use EDI. The relationship often involves processing orders through an EDI partner, with documentation being dropped straight into our ERP system. But we have traditionally had a long tail of other customers, including independent cash and carry outlets, who were never going to aspire to automated EDI because of cost, technical issues or a lack of know-how or desire to place orders using EDI.

Manufacturers tap into EDI

“These customers were sending pdfs and email attachments as the output from their ERP systems. We would have to print off and rekey the information into our ERP system. There was lots of time involved. It was not the most efficient way to do things. We had to staple printouts to a matching internal form showing the customer number and SKU. It was so time consuming and repetitive, and there was always the opportunity for human errors creeping in through mistakes in transcription.”

AG Barr quickly realised £200,000 savings

Now, everything runs frictionlessly using a cloud-based EDI from digital supply chain technology provider Transalis. PDFs and other email attachments are translated into EDI file formats and accessed through ‘open database connectivity’, something AG Barr is used to in its production processes.

All the data processing involved has been automated and streamlined. Analysing the benefits, John Thompson, Integrated Systems Manager and Business Process Lead, says £200,000 was quickly saved from a dramatic drop in the use of credit notes to rectify human errors.

“Being able to put orders automatically into the system is a big timesaver for all aspects of operational correspondence,” says John. “The platform has made life easier for our customer service team. It really has made a positive difference. We are seeing ROI by having people focused on more value-added activity. Customer ratings and feedback also show we have improved customer satisfaction levels.”

Simplehuman UK and the benefits of EDI

The benefits of EDI for manufacturing can also be seen at simplehuman UK, the designer and manufacturer of smart home products.

Like AG Barr, managers at simplehuman UK evolved their use of EDI to optimise data transfer across a complex supply chain and trading partner network.

The company’s IT integration specialist Ian Tofield recommended Transalis’ EDI software to automate order processing. Given the many processes and IT capabilities among the distributor network, a central requirement in the integration project was enabling connections to any data format using any connectivity method.

Ian worked with Transalis to agree the basic processes for integration with simplehuman UK’s accountancy software so that data could be inputted and extracted smoothly.

Transalis then made the technical changes required for the overall infrastructure build and EDI messaging.

“Transalis were brilliant,” says Ian. “They had to make these changes and translate the files very quickly to ensure we didn’t have to wait long to sign up our first developer. That’s exactly what they did.”

Quick and easy

The new EDI software has fully automated a range of eCommerce data processes, both inbound and outbound and in both wholesale and DSV relationships. They include order acknowledgement, despatch advice, invoicing and inventory. Outbound files can be processed 24/7 any day of the year rather than just within office hours. A robust system of validation makes it easier and quicker for simplehuman UK to manage partner pricing and carton quantities while avoiding any risk of order duplication.

Ian says: “Since the solution was implemented, it has successfully underpinned millions of pounds’ worth of orders from across the distribution network. Everything about our processes has been simplified from a customer relationship point of view.”

Choose one of our EDI solutions or build your own

At Transalis, we’re all about providing robust EDI solutions that enable complete visibility of stock, orders, invoices and other essential information.

As manufacturers continue to face challenging trading conditions, you too could gain the benefits of EDI for manufacturing just like AG Barr and simplehuman UK.

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’d like to talk to a specialist in EDI for manufacturing call us on 0845 123 3746 (calling from UK) or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), or via email

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