For countless supply chain companies, EDI remains a critical means for communicating with business trading partners. As your business ecosystem grows, it is imperative to have a flexible solution that enables you to optimize EDI supplier onboarding.
According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds (63%) of IT decision-makers say that the EDI onboarding process takes too long because of all the different customized requirements demanded by trading partners. Up to 47% of IT managers say that slow EDI supplier onboarding is currently keeping their businesses from capturing new revenue opportunities.
Before we outline how to improve the EDI trading partner onboarding process, it is important to first ask what is EDI? So, what is a trading partner in EDI?
What is an EDI Trading Partner?
An EDI trading partner refers to a business trading partner with whom you trade goods using electronic communication. Most supply chain companies will have a large network of trading partners and primarily communicate and trade using EDI standards. Now that we understand EDI trading partners, let’s examine the EDI trading partner setup.
What is EDI Trading Partner Setup?
EDI trading partner setup is the process by which a company connects to a business trading partner via EDI. In order to start exchanging goods, there are a number of steps that must be taken in order to set up a connection to an EDI trading partner.
You will need to configure the connection to either use particular incoming or outgoing mailbox paths.
For example, if you are a supplier, and a retailer wants to send you EDI documents, then you will need to create an incoming purchase order mailbox path.
And if you are the retailer, you will want to configure the opposite path.
Other important details that are included in the EDI trading partner setup are:
- Trading Partner type
- Partner ID
- Partner Name
- Partner Vendor ID
- Branch ID
The exchange of all of this information, and more, must be tested, validated, and approved before an EDI trading partner is officially set up. To understand more about the effort required for EDI trading partner setup, let's have a look at the EDI onboarding process.
What is the EDI Onboarding Process?
The EDI onboarding process begins immediately after a contract is awarded to a new vendor. As both parties have agreed to communicate business documents using EDI, there are a series of steps that must occur before EDI documents can begin flowing and trade can commence.
Below, you have a left-right broad overview of the 6 common steps of the EDI onboarding process:
1) EDI PARTNER CAMPAIGN
This outlines the project in its totality. The goal is for both partners to gain an understanding of the resources involved and get buy-in from all business entities for alignment.
2) EDI PARTNER QUESTIONNAIRE
The partner questionnaire helps both partners understand respective requirements, such as communication methods and SLA needs
3) EDI PROFILE CREATION
Used to decide how partners are going to connect. Since there is no standard way of connecting to a trading partner, this step is critical for determining the configuration of maps.
4) EDI PROVISIONING
Provisioning determines your own infrastructure needs, including the creating and configuring of maps to meet the integration, security, and other requirements.
5) EDI TESTING
Used to test EDI communications and transformation with both partners in test environments. Oftentimes the most difficult step, EDI testing requires both partners to work on the same time frame.
The final step of trading partner onboarding is deployment. The deployment step moves the testing environment into production. Reporting, monitoring, and analysis should all be firing properly, with full visibility into each transaction. Once deployment has been completed, a trading partner has been onboarded.
Why is Streamlined EDI Trading Partner Setup Important?
Every single EDI trading partner is going to have different requirements when it comes to onboarding.
Some may require EDI documents to be sent in specific increments or even within a set time window.
Failing to meet those requirements in a timely fashion will result in the loss of new sales and missed revenue opportunities.
Slow or broken EDI partner onboarding can be crippling to a business, particularly those businesses in the supply chain that regularly stand up new EDI partners.
Efficient EDI onboarding differentiates great trading partners from good ones. It reinforces their brand, increases customer retention, and propels growth.
Efficient EDI onboarding means accelerating time-to-revenue. The last thing an enterprise can afford to do is to say ‘No’ to a customer or trading partner. That’s where a proper, centralized EDI software platform comes into place because it makes it easy for a company to stay EDI compliant. Trading partners are bound to have unique needs, and being able to accommodate those requirements is going to be fundamental for success.
You Have to Improve the EDI Partner Onboarding Process
When an organization can easily add, remove, or alter a piece of EDI flows that relates to a customer or partner configuration, that company is enhancing its EDI capability as well as its responsiveness.
A centralized EDI integration platform provides faster partner onboarding for both EDI and non-EDI workflows, not to mention all of the connectors that integrate any application without the need for additional coding.
Finding the Right Centralized Solution
Once you’ve found the right solution for your enterprise, trading partners can be set up for data movement within minutes, and EDI and XML data transformation only takes a few hours or less. Initial EDI mapping doesn’t take long, either.
A centralized solution allows enterprises to automate EDI onboarding flows and EDI transformation because it comes pre-loaded with B2B connectors that provide a repository of hundreds of pre-configured, ready-to-deploy communication templates to major trading partners in the supply chain.
Outsourcing to an EDI expert partner offers an effective solution to the scalability and integration challenges inherent in EDI onboarding efforts.
Cleo Integration Cloud's managed EDI services provide EDI integration infrastructure and decades of expertise to your supply chain business, helping you handle the successful electronic data interchange implementation and ongoing management of your EDI trading partners.
Focus on your customers.
We can take care of all of your EDI.
First impressions go a long way towards customer satisfaction and being able to streamline the onboarding process is a critical start.
Here is what EDI onboarding looks like within the Cleo Integration Cloud platform:
Cleo Integration Cloud does not only have the best EDI solution in the industry but also, the platform includes versatile APIs and application connectors so organizations can accelerate the delivery of integration.
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