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Development Lifecycle

When I have discussed Electronic Data Integration (EDI) developments in my other blogs you might think that I am just concerned with the connectivity, the transaction types and data formats.

This is only part of the development process as your retailers requirements need to be considered around you, the suppliers, operational abilities. What fits within the existing supplier processes. More importantly what of the retailer requirements are not supported by you?

Firstly what is the sales strategy and what has been developed to support this strategy? I have discussed an "EDI strategy" in a previous blog, please refer here:

Working relationship

How are you going to work with the retailer?

  1. Wholesale - delivering to the retailer warehouse

  2. Drop Ship Vendor (DSV) - delivering individual orders to the retailers consumer

  3. Click and collect - delivering individual orders to the retailers store


Wholesale is a quick and easy route to the retailer market, however can you support all of the possible requirements that might be presented?

Retailer product codes

Over the time I have seen the need to support the retailers own product codes associated to your products.

Where does the retailer expect to see their product codes?

  • On the shipping labels when the order is packed in your warehouse?

  • On the order acknowledgement?

  • On the dispatch advice note?

  • On the Invoice?

I have seen a need to support retailers product codes in all of these instances.

Serial Shipping Container Codes (SSCC)

To be able to track a shipment the retailer might as for the use of SSCC. I have seen this requirement and developed a solution to support this requirement. I have discussed the use of SSCC in this blog:

Cross docking

This aspect could be a little tricky as you, the supplier, need to work with a third address that you are not actually interested in. With a normal cross dock request you will be advised of an initial site that you will be delivering to before the shipment is sent to the final destination by the retailer.

By labeling up the shipment correctly you save the retailer time an money sorting through the stock. The shipment is received in goods in and sent to the correct goods out bay. I have discussed the use of cross docking in my blog:

EDI Invoice

As retailers try and keep their costs down the retailers have automated a number of their processes. EDI Invoicing is now a normal requirement. I have discussed the use of EDI Invoices in this blog:

Drop Ship Vendor (DSV)

This trading behaviour is interesting as it cuts across your ecommerce route to market but you do not own the end consumer, you are selling on a wholesale basis and have to pick pack and dispatch the individual order to the retailers end consumer.

I have discussed DSV in this blog:

Click and Collect

As an extension to DSV you might be asked to deliver an order to one of the retailers own stores so that the end consumer can pick up the order at their convenience.

You will need to understand when the order is behaving in this way.

Development lifecycle and conclusion

In my time I have worked through all of these scenarios acting as the Business Analyst, Solution Architect, Test Manager, Project Manager and Mentor as I have trained up people to understand and support EDI developments.

My focus as an EDI Expert (not my words - is not just focusing on the data.

I need to understand what the data is, where the data needs to go and how the data links to each of the supported business transactions for both the supplier and the retailer.

I my time have worked with many of the suppliers internal departments to make the solutions work:

  • Wholesale operations

  • Ecommerce operations

  • Warehouse operations

  • Finance operations

  • Sales operations

The solution that I developed for simplehuman was built to support any transaction, file format and communication standard.

This is what the Director of Finance and Operations had to say:

Ian has a wealth of knowledge in the EDI and integrations world. As our integrations specialist, he juggled multiple projects and communicated clearly with all teams to deliver solutions that improved our e-trading capacity. His strengths go beyond creating solutions - his meticulous planning, detailed project documentation and general approach-ability meant that solutions were implemented successfully and that user adoption levels were very high. Ian is pragmatic and patient, and will always do what is necessary to get the job done. It was a pleasure working with him.

James Dowdeswell


Director of Finance and Operations


How can I help you?

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