EDI Trading Partner Setup

Improve your Partner Onboarding


Supplier & Vendor Onboarding as it Stands Today

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.
  • Nearly a quarter of companies (24%) are losing $500K or more to integration issues related to their supply chains.

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:

EDI Partner Onboarding Process


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. 


The partner questionnaire helps both partners understand respective requirements, such as communication methods and SLA needs


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.


Provisioning determines your own infrastructure needs, including the creating and configuring of maps to meet the integration, security, and other requirements. 


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. Thousands of leading enterprises are leveraging Cleo's cutting edge EDI solution to improve their partner onboarding processes.

"Our costs and efficiencies have resulted in an average ROI of $5,000 a month, and having direct access to the map and communication means we spend less time troubleshooting EDI issues. Client satisfaction has also increased, as there are fewer problems with our in-house EDI connections, and our time to resolve and respond to our customers when issues arise has decreased by at least 60 percent."

- Manager of Application Development, Mohawk Global Logistics

>> Read the full case study

Outsourcing to an EDI expert partner offers an effective solution to the scalability and integration challenges inherent in EDI onboarding efforts.

Cleo'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.

"Cleo's team helped us move all this complex integration work out of our in-house data center in favor of a Managed Services approach where we entrust Cleo to do the on-boarding, the map creation - everything."

Senior Director of IT, Brother International

>> Read the full case study

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 EDI onboarding process is a critical start.

See how Cleo simplifies EDI trading partner onboarding

Watch a 3-Minute Demo

Slash onboarding time from months to days. Utilize the Cleo Network, the API framework, connectors, a web portal, or pre-built business process accelerators to quickly onboard API, EDI, or non-EDI partners in hours to days. 

Want to ask questions or learn more about efficient EDI onboarding?

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