New research, commissioned by digital supply chain technology EDI provider Transalis, revealed that the vast majority of companies interviewed are looking to review their current EDI solution in the near future.

More than a third of respondents in the study cite dissatisfaction with their current EDI supplier as the key reason why. However, the research also reveals perceived obstacles in switching an EDI solution, leaving many companies feeling trapped in staying with their existing provider. Read more to find out what businesses can do if they want to improve their experience of EDI?

New research report

Is EDI addressing the challenges of 21st-century commerce?

New research* reveals disparities between EDI user requirements and services delivered by EDI providers.

Download the report
EDI Report Download
New research report

Is EDI addressing the challenges of 21st-century commerce?

New research* reveals disparities between EDI user requirements and services delivered by EDI providers.

Download the report

New insights revealed

The research* focused on senior decision-makers. including senior managers and team supervisors in retail, wholesale, distribution, transport, construction, property, manufacturing and production.

Interviews were conducted with employees working in operations, procurement, finance, and IT.

The study confirmed that EDI continues to be the bedrock of document exchange across many trading networks and supply chains. Respondents recognise that automating manual processes significantly helps reduce operational costs.

At the same time, it is clear that companies are increasingly keen to upgrade their EDI solutions to accommodate new economic realities they are facing, including the impacts of both Brexit and Covid.

Is a review of your EDI solution overdue?

Asked about their current use of EDI, 99% of respondents said they were planning to review their existing arrangements within an average timeframe of the next five months. Dissatisfaction with their incumbent EDI provider was a key reason cited.

Respondents say EDI providers are not meeting the challenges of 21st-century business practices. Solutions are falling short on a range of issues such as customer focus, price transparency and responsiveness. Providers are simply not keeping up with the needs of businesses, which includes the ability to add new trading partners to their trading network quickly and efficiently in order to continue to compete in an increasingly international trading environment.

Responses indicated that companies are waiting an average of two months to add a UK-based trader to an existing EDI system, with three months the average for partners with operations in both the UK and other countries.

Overcoming barriers to switching

In a related and no less crucial finding, 60% of respondents perceived their EDI to be so embedded within their organisation they believe it is virtually impossible to switch to a more suitable provider without affecting business-as-usual activity.

It appears many businesses are simply carrying on with an underperforming EDI service because they feel they have no choice.

With that comes an ongoing risk to competitiveness and long-term success. This is because of associated costs including loss of revenue from missed orders, the need to accommodate precious processing and fulfilment time to correct errors and inaccuracies.

Plus the reduced scope for transparency and visibility across the broader business environment.

At Transalis, we are focused on delivering visibility, transparency and efficiency for our customers.

We aim to make the buying process for EDI as easy and quick as possible while ensuring the chosen solution works efficiently and cost-effectively for you and your trading network. That means immediate set-up, removal of lead-time frustration and enabling faster onboarding of partner connections.

We can save you money across your cost centres including operations, IT, finance, and logistics.

How Space NK switched to Transalis eDI™

We are often asked to step in to replace legacy systems that base their costs on VAN charges, or Value Added Network. This is an out-dated and expensive pricing model, whereby EDI providers charge their customers for the number of characters in their trading messages, with penalties for going over an annual limit.

Beauty brand Space NK was just one business caught out and penalised in this way – the company was being forced to accept VAN charges simply because it was the model mandated by a 3rd party EDI provider working on behalf of one of its retail trading partners.

SpaceNK switch to Transalis EDI

Chris Wakeham, Head of Global IT at Space NK says:

“VAN doesn’t really offer any value at all. It’s very hard to set a limit at the outset, and the costs spiral the more successful you are. We didn’t want to be penalised for exceeding VAN restrictions because we were doing more business. VAN is a very granular barometer of charging. It’s antiquated and simply introduces overheads.”

Try as he did, Chris could not influence the trading partner’s EDI provider to evolve its legacy model.

“They told us we were too embedded to move to another provider because it would be too complicated to switch. They tried to tie us in, thinking they had us over a barrel. I really wanted to get away from what was a chokehold and find a provider who could actually offer us value. Switching to Transalis removed significant VAN charges that were inflating our EDI costs by an unsustainable £60,000 a year because of the granular level charges for each character of data sent. Instead, VAN  charges were replaced by a straightforward fee for managing the connection that was a tiny fraction of what we had been paying.”

Transalis eDI™ Solutions

At Transalis, our approach is all about removing such barriers to enablement through an innovative blend of automation and process.

All our EDI solutions are available through a transparent, fixed-price annual subscription model which applies regardless of the number of documents being processed.

The latest addition to our range is Transalis eDI Instant™, the first solution of its kind to offer online sign-up with immediate access to cloud-based EDI.

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 thinking about switching your EDI solution but are worried about the implications, give us a call on 0845 123 3746 (calling from UK) or +44 1978 369 343 (for international callers), or via email to discuss your requirements.

* Independent research commissioned by Transalis Ltd: Is EDI addressing the challenges of 21st-century commerce?