Updated: Mar 11, 2022
When you read articles from EDI Managed Service Providers they promise automation, but what does this mean?
The connection between the customer and the EDI Managed Service Provider will be automated. However the EDI Managed Service Provider can only automate those transactional processes that you can support.
So how do you pass transactional data from and to the EDI Managed Service Provider? There are options:
1) Print and rekey
2) Upload and download
3) Manual triggers
How are you managing your orders and invoices?
When you start out as a business there are many solutions made available to you, subject to how much you want to spend.
The solution that you use will be a contributory factor to how you will trade with your customer base.
This comes back to your strategy and how you want to trade, please see https://www.southwestdataintegration.co.uk/post/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-an-edi-development
Print and rekey
It is hard to believe that we can still fall back on print and rekey, but we do. Subject to how big your business is and the number of orders etc. you need to process this solution will be perfect.
The EDI Managed Service Provider will give you access to a web portal that will allow you to either see what orders have been placed or allow you to key set transactional data to support the responses to the customer.
This will limit you to your office hours and prone to keying errors, its great being human.
Upload and download
Data dumps in a structured format are also the norm. Like keyed information you are possibly restricted to working within your office hours but should remove the issue of keying errors.
There are some solutions that import and export data from an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. These are sometimes referred to as desktop solutions.
Again, these solutions restrict you to office hours and only work when the human requests the process to start.
This is where we all want to be. Let the systems do their thing and let the employees focus on their work.
Subject to how you are selling, for example if wholesale not as important, but any form of eCommerce then this is where you want to be.
I am hoping that from this article you can see that automation is not granted by the EDI Managed Service Provider but how your systems work. And this is where the discussions start.
As an old friend once said to me "don't promise what you can't deliver".