There are many compelling reasons to switch to electronic data interchange, or EDI, whether you are a retailer, a manufacturer, or a supply chain partner.

A full EDI integration, with existing internal supply chain systems, can help you achieve cost savings, faster processing efficiency and greater accuracy as well as giving you a complete, real-time view across your trading network.

But all too often internal systems fail to integrate effectively, which is why it is vital to choose an EDI partner that can deliver on their frictionless EDI integration promise, regardless of your existing systems.

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Transalis EDI Integration

Transalis eDI™ can integrate directly with your ERP, WMS, OMS, eCommerce platform and back-office accounting, to give you complete ‘in the moment’ data visibility across all your systems. Avoid glitches and blockers that are stopping you from having oversight and insight over your entire operation.

Successful EDI integration enables seamless automation of B2B workflows and a vital, complementary asset along with your existing systems for ERP and eCommerce.

EDI can provide essential oversight of data transfer at any given point in time right across your entire organisation. This is ideal for identifying cost savings, supply chain inefficiencies and reporting on the performance of your trading network.


So what does EDI integration entail?

The term EDI integration refers to a connection of data or applications across your organisation. It often focuses on passing messages such as orders, invoices and ASNs directly to an ERP or accounting application.

There are a number of options to ‘connect’ the EDI service with your applications either through a one-to-one connection, typically a direct mapping of data fields, an API or an integration layer.

There are two stages involved in implementing EDI integration to achieve seamless workflows and easy communication:

The first…

is to identify the documents, transactions and protocols that you plan to use to exchange data.

The second…

is to translate your EDI data into a format suitable for back-office systems and your specific business requirements.

Before choosing an EDI solution therefore, it’s important to analyse and map the current processes. This will help you fully understand the scope for the message requirements.


Communication model

It is just as vital to ensure your EDI ‘protocol’ conforms to an accepted communication model, such as AS2, standing for ‘applicability statement 2’.

What is AS2?

AS2 is a secure, encrypted process that is already widely implemented and accepted across the world as the best way to achieve EDI integration.

AS2 avoids the risks of an approach that has generally become outdated, known as VAN, or ‘value-added network’.

AS2 Vs VAN

Under VAN, you pay a charge for every transaction or data character you send, meaning you can easily incur hefty penalties for going over a set limit.


Mapping and testing

Once you have agreed your protocol and communication model, you will need to decide how to integrate different sources of data into EDI. The goal here is to ensure everything is supported in file formats that your internal systems can validate.

This typically involves the task of mapping, in other words moving data from one format to another. This can be a time-consuming challenge with the need to define interface files and create new documents to support the process.

Your provider should remove all of this hassle by automatically mapping the data output from the source file into the relevant EDI format.

You will then need to test your EDI. It’s essential to do this before trying it for real so you can be sure it meets everyone’s requirements. Again, your provider should enable self-service testing to be done so that you can be much more confident your data is validated before you send.

Once your testing phase is complete, you will want to agree a go-live time so you can begin to exchange data as soon as practicable.


Cost-effective and easy

Beauty product brand Space NK is a prime example of a company that has achieved successful EDI integration.

Chris Wakeham, Global IT Director, says:

“From a technical standpoint, EDI can be a scary prospect with regard to integration into your systems if you haven’t previously used it.

“There is a perception that it’s expensive and technical and you will be ‘locked in’ by your EDI provider.

“In reality, that’s all from the old days of EDI. The world has changed and EDI is now much more cost-effective and far easier to implement.

“You no longer need specialist skills because the supplier can handle all of this for you.”

In summary, successful EDI integration will enable you to achieve essential oversight of data processing across your entire organisation. It will help you deliver measurable process efficiencies, seamless ways of working, accurate performance reports and cost savings.

Discover our EDI solutions. You can also talk to us about seamless EDI integration on 0845 123 3746 or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), reach our Customer Success team via email sales@transalis.com