Implementing EDI in a supply chain operation can be a complex process as most supply chain management businesses have many moving pieces. Implementing your electronic data interchange solution using a systematic approach will help your team to complete an effective, efficient EDI program.
First your team should analyze your internal operations and how they will be affected. See which procedures will be altered and what resources must make adjustments. This will help your team develop a holistic project scope in later steps. Next, select your EDI project manager. This internal resource will be responsible for communicating with your EDI vendor and should have in-depth knowledge of both your business and electronic data exchange solutions. Thirdly, your team should perform a detailed cost benefit analysis. This analysis will detail how EDI utilization will improve each identified application and set a budget and ROI standard. Next, your team should identify expected benefits. Take a deep dive into all functional areas and search for all potential benefits available. This will help your business make the case for your EDI project. Now identify your trading partners, or those people you will be exchanging electronic documents with. Evaluate their current capabilities and make note of any technical upgrades they may require.
With this data develop an EDI project scope. In this document you should identify key project factors such as document sets, trading partner counts, document transmission estimates, transmission method and much more. Using this document your vendor selection team should choose your EDI VAN of choice.
Now that you have selected your EDI solution vendor you can begin implementation and integration of your EDI system into your existing warehouse management software system and other supply chain software. These integrations will allow seamless data transfer between all systems, eliminating errors. And before your EDI go-live it is critical to test your system using a pilot program. Test each document and as they pass begin implementing the exchange using actual documents.
Following these nine steps can help to ensure the success of your EDI selection and implementation. To learn more about EDI in the supply chain contact Datex experts today at www.datexcorp.com , firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.933.2839 ext. 243.
BY: ANGELA CARVER
Why Implement EDI?
• Implementing EDI in a supply chain operation can be a complex
process as most SCM businesses have many moving pieces.
• Taking a systematic approach to your electronic data interchange
implementation will help your team complete an effective, efficient
Analyze Supply Chain Operations
• Before beginning any project, you must first understand the purpose
and who will be affected by any changes.
• Analyze your supply chain operations and see which proceduresand
processes will be altered with the implementation of EDI.
• In a typical EDI project IT, operations, management and your external
trading partners will be affected.
• Performing this analysis will help provide your team with the data
needed to develop a holistic project scope in later steps.
Select EDI Project Manager
• To assist your key stakeholders in the following steps it is critical to
select a project manager to assist in the execution of your EDI
• Your EDI Project Manager can be either an internal resource or
consultant, but must be someone who has in-depth knowledgeof
electronic data interchange.
• This person should be a knowledgeable technical resource, but also
someone that can work well with other functional teams and
communicate effectively to all parties involved.
Perform a Detailed Cost Benefit Analysis
• The purpose of a cost benefit analysis (CBA) is to identify themost
likely applications for EDI deployment and sets priorities for
conversion. The report includes how EDI utilization improves each
• Also consider the overall budget for your transition project and
whether the benefits expected in the CBA are sufficient to meet or
exceed required corporate ROI standards.
Determine Benefits of EDI Implementation
• Your completed cost benefit analysis report should detail some ofthe
potential benefits of EDI implementation. Consider searching for
other possible areas of improvement by evaluating all functional
• This will help to make the case and ease any concerns of business
executives as to why this complex project is critical.
Identify EDI Trading Partners
• Before your team can begin any EDI implementation project you
must first identify and investigate any trading partners with which
you plan to exchange electronic documents.
• Evaluate your trading partners current capabilities, their current
technology and any upgrades needed and see if your EDI vendor has
worked with this trading partner previously.
• This will help to eliminate surprises later in your project that could
stall EDI utilization.
Define EDI Project Scope
• Once these analyses have been completed and all factors havebeen
considered, involve leaders from all affected departments to define a
formal project scope which will be the basis for the project
• Items that should be defined in an effective EDI project scope include:
• Necessary document sets
• Final trading partner count
• Document exchange estimate
• Transmission method (VAN, in-house, email, FTP, etc.)
• And more…
EDI Vendor Selection
• Many supply chain operations choose to outsource EDImapping,
translation and system management due to the high cost of
developing and maintaining internal software systems.
• After completing the Project Scope, your team can betterevaluate
vendors based on your detailed businessneeds.
Learn More About the EDI Vendor Selection Process Here
EDI System Integration Setup
• After a vendor has been selected, your EDI software can now be set
up and integrated into existing warehouse management systems and
other supply chain software.
• These integrations will allow a seamless transfer of data between
trading partners which can be entered directly into your WMS,
eliminating errors that occur through manual processes.
• This makes accurate, reliable data available to all facility staff in real
EDI Test System Pilot Program
• Before fully implementing your EDI program, set up a pilot program to
test your new solution with a small number of trading partners.
• Trading partners should confirm and record that documents are
received successfully and return the testing data for review. If
successful, EDI can then be used to transmit real documents.
Additional document sets can be added in stages for testing.
• Once your pilot program has been completed, your supply chain
operation can implement your new EDI solution across the entire
• Implementing EDI requires careful consideration and planning. Before
beginning any project, your team should evaluate what business
units are affected, how they will benefit from EDI and the best
solution for their needs.
• Follow this step-by-step guide when planning your electronicdata
interchange project to ensure successful implementation.