How to simplify retailers’ complex EDI business rules

Monthly Archives: June 2016

How to simplify retailers’ complex EDI business rules

Most vendors are challenged by EDI business rules and complex e-commerce supply-chain.  It should be simple, but it’s not.  People tend to think that it is a simple download of a purchase order that gets turned-around into an invoice, but that is simply not the case!

In EDI, your associated costs can increase very easily if your EDI team is not familiar with your trading partners’ different business rules.

If every retailer would send and receive information in accordance with standardized business rules, everything would be straightforward – unfortunately this is not the case.   A purchase order (EDI 850) is not just a purchase order; each retailer has its own specific EDI requirements.  The same applies for the invoice (EDI 810), the ASN (EDI 856), as well as all other EDI transactions vendors are required to comply with.


EDI business rules to keep in mind

The reality is the variances in the way retailers do business and those variances are reflected in the business guidelines and the EDI maps. Let’s have a look at a few examples:

  • Invoices must be received within seven days of shipment
  • The shipping document must be received no earlier than 48 hours before shipment
  • Allowances/Charges/taxes are applied at the item level
  • Receive one purchase order, send one consolidated invoice
  • Receive one purchase order, send multiple invoices, per store

Typically these rules MUST be followed to a tee in order to avoid errors and potentially non-compliance charges.


Always ensure EDI compliance with all trading partners

To simplify this process and ensure that you, the vendor, are able to achieve 100% EDI compliance with your retailers, you need to ensure that your EDI provider has successfully embedded the various required business rules into their EDI tools.  As business rule guidelines get published frequently by the retailers, with updates and modifications, you need to have a solid process in-place that will guarantee compliance of the tool and/or provider you are using, so that you can use them with confidence and avoid unnecessary non-compliance charges.

At EDI Gateway we have implemented all the different retailers’ business rules in our EDI tools and retailer modules, ranging from accounting, to logistics to packing rules.  Using a combination of Microsoft Biz Talk Server, Windows Workflow foundation, and some innovative architecture and development techniques, we have been able to create a dynamic solution to address the complexity of business rules, making them easy for users to understand.

When a Canadian government agency approached us to implement a supply-chain processing and management infrastructure, we were ready with a solution that addressed their specific needs. We broke down the approach into an application-to-application, as well as business-to-business, paradigms. We then partnered up with a system integrator (SI), also a Microsoft partner, to implement and deploy the solution.

The SI connected the customer’s various back-end systems, while we provided the business-to-business supply chain management solution with their trading partners.  It was a win-win-win for all the parties involved.  It allowed for the integration of the business procedures’ best practices and operational efficiencies, while using best-in-class Microsoft technologies.

The complexity was essentially removed from the project due to the collaborative efforts of all the partners involved, each party with its own specialization.  The end result was a user-friendly, simple to use product, with embedded business rules to allow for 100% EDI compliance.

As the leading one-stop-shop EDI Provider in Canada, EDI Gateway is collaborating closely with different partners, in effort to develop, implement and support the Retail industry through business document automation, with solutions ranging from Service Bureau, to EDI Web Portal (Webgate+), to File Transfer, and EDI Integration to various ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, A/X, SAGE Business One, and NetSuite, as well as complete VAN services.


Sam & Sophie


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