If you are thinking about an EDI solution, then you are familiar with the benefits of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), benefits such as eliminating manual data entry for orders, inventory, invoices, hard costs such as postage for mailing invoices, and increasing your customers’ satisfactions by providing on time, accurate deliveries with real-time updates.
You most likely have a successful growing business and are able to process your orders manually while managing your inventory every day; but now you want to be able to process 100’s or 1000’s of orders a day, while increasing your products offerings without introducing more manual work or carrying inventory cost. In fact, you want to eliminate some this manual work and associated costs.
Before Internet technology became widely accepted in the early 80’s and 90’s, the only way to implement EDI required a VAN (Value Added Network). As a result, only enterprise companies were able to leverage EDI since the solution was extremely costly, and was provided by only a handful of large organizations such as IBM, GE, and AT&T.
The good news is that EDI has gone through major breakthroughs over the last decade. The bad news is that there are many solutions out there to choose from: cloud base EDI, Managed Service, Software as a Service (SaaS), and so forth. From a technology perspective most of these solutions will work for you. Your biggest challenge will be the “integration”. How will you integrate your EDI solution with your current systems (shopping cart, ERP, OMS) or your EDI trading partners (you b2b customers, distributors, retailers, etc.)?
If you already have EDI experts (analysts, data mappers) internally then you might want to look at an EDI mapping software solution. If you want to keep your annual EDI implementation and support costs down then you might want to partner up with companies such as ours to provide a complete EDI solution. This way you can focus on your core business and technology infrastructure and leave the EDI implementations to companies that have that as their core competency.
Here is a basic comparison between using an EDI solution provider and building an in-house EDI solution: