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EDI implementation

EDI compatibility in only a few short steps

EDI has become firmly established throughout the business world in recent years. There are EDI specialists and a variety of EDI-related organisations that can support a company in implementing its own EDI solution. Since EDI implementation can be complex in both technical and organisational terms, a systematic approach and the structured application of typical implementation processes as described in the following examples are helpful:

Step 1: Requirements analysis

Right at the start, you should clarify the following points on your own or together with your EDI service provider:

  • What business processes (orders, invoices) should be supported?
  • What business processes have the greatest strategic potential in EDI implementation?
  • What data or information should be exchanged?
  • Should data only be sent, only be received, or both sent and received?

Step 2: Build up the organisation structure

For EDI implementation, it is important to decide on a strategic basis and to equip the project team with the necessary resources and expertise. EDI coordinators and teams must be capable of driving the implementation within the company’s organisation.

Step 3: Selection of the ideal EDI solution (in-house or EDI service provider)

In order to ensure automated data processing, companies need special EDI software that supports the message standards and your interface requirements. Inform yourself about the solutions available on the market or weigh the pros and cons of an EDI outsourcing solution. Today, building up an in-house EDI infrastructure only makes economic sense for a very small number of companies.

Step 4: Compile your information

  • A variety of information is required for implementation and roll-out:
  • Your GLN: Ensure that your company is in possession of the necessary identification numbers such as the Global Location Number (GLN) or apply for the number.
  • Description of the exchange format
  • Customer key contact
  • Necessary written agreements (e.g. EDI agreement)

Step 5: System and data integration

The necessary infrastructure must be set up (in-house model) or the communication connection to your EDI provider (outsourcing model) needs to be established according to your company’s operational model. Then, the interfaces to your internal ERP system must be supplied or adapted. Mappings have must be developed in order to depict the individual business processes. EDI providers very often have a wide range of EDI mappings available. 

Step 6: Tests and start

Once the EDI system has been implemented or all of the requirements have been fulfilled by the EDI provider, pilot project testing is conducted with a customer. Once these tests have been concluded successfully, there are no further obstacles to electronic communication with your business partners in actual business operation.