EDI Academy - Steps to Implement EDI in Your Company
Throughout the EDI Academy series we have found out about electronic data interchange, how it works and what the benefits are. Now we take a look at the steps to take to roll out EDI in your company. What do you need to bear in mind to ensure that a technological project of such great scope as this goes forward successfully? This is the path you should follow.
Define the managers
Implementing EDI in your company is an investment in terms of time and money. So, it is important to plan the project down to the smallest detail. The first step consists of organizing the in-house team and designating one or several managers. This figure will be responsible for closing the budget, making the most important decisions and coordinating EDI rollout in the different departments affected. They will also be the main liaison between company and technology provider.
Analysing how the business operates
If you have already decided you want to implement EDI in your company, you should justify the reason. Analyse how your business processes currently work. What volume of data is exchanged? How long do your employees spend on these tasks? What is the rate of errors occurring in these communications?” etc.
Performing a thorough analysis will be very useful to you if you ever have to explain this technological leap to your superiors in the company. But, beyond that, this step is crucial in subsequently choosing the right solution. Once you have in-depth knowledge of how communication with your trading partners is managed, you can draw up a new strategy to optimize it through EDI.
Choosing your technology provider
Although there are many companies engaged in electronic data interchange, not all provide the same service. When it comes to choosing a technology provider to roll out EDI, you should research their success stories, experience in sectors such as yours and in companies of a similar size, international capacity, security certifications and scalability.
Other aspects which are also very important include having a powerful and interoperable value-added network (VAN), service in several languages (if working in a multinational), quality of technical support and option of installing other value-added solutions in the mid-term.
As we have seen in other chapters of EDI Academy, there are several different types of EDI. Analysing how your company works will also serve to identify which solution is most appropriate. So, you can choose between Web EDI or Integrated EDI; between a local solution or a globalized one.
Setting the methodology and working terms
Once the previous decisions have been taken, it will be time for the EDI manager to agree the working methodology with the technology provider. At this point, it is indispensable to set deadlines for each phase of the work and leave a margin of time for possible unforeseen circumstances.
Also, keep in mind that it is always advisable to run a pilot project for the EDI solution to check that everything is working properly before going live.
Start working with EDI and open the door to other technologies
Implementing EDI in your business will mean a change of organization, since many tasks will become automatic. In the medium term, this technology will start to bring many advantages, such as lower economic costs or increased productivity. These benefits will hone the company’s competitive edge, making it better prepared to face other technological challenges.