We all have heard our fair share of horrific stories and lengthy implementations that failed miserably during execution.  EDI initiative can yield an excellent ROI, however, in order to secure successful results, the implementation process itself must be thought out thoroughly, analyzed and examined, in order to be able to properly define its scope and identify key areas for improvements.

Implementing EDI is a complex process that requires the expertise of an experienced EDI consultant. With an arsenal of EDI mandates under their belts, EDI Consultants have identified 9 key steps to take, in order to render the best results for your EDI implementation.  As Michael Kotoyan stated in his course at the EDI Academy, “the best results can be found when the team responsible for the EDI implementation have a leader and a stakeholder from each business functions related to the implementation”.  Gathering all these members under one ‘committee’ will certainly add the required expertise to increase the success rate of your project.

9 key steps to have the best results while implementing EDI

he following will help you to determine all the areas that will be potentially impacted by an EDI initiative, and that will require your attention:

1- INVESTIGATE YOUR ERP OR POS SYSTEM: Investigate the primary ERP or POS system to determine what information can be processed, generated and imported by the system.

2- SURVEY TRADING PARTNERS: Investigate all your supply chain trading partners in order to identify those who are EDI capable, and the EDI transactions they require.

3- GAP ANALYSIS: Perform a gap analysis to evaluate what information is readily available and what information is required for your EDI transactions, based on your business requirements.

4- SEQUENCE DIAGRAM: Create a ‘sequence diagram’ to describe the flow of data between each step of the processes.  This will allow you to determine which processes are impacted, and where the data will be going.

5- MAPPING REQUIREMENTS: Prepare mapping requirements to provide your trading partners so they are able to determine what information will be exchanged.

6- INITIAL VENDOR TESTING: Identify a group of vendors or one important vendor for initial testing purposes.

7- LAUNCH LETTER: Inform your vendors of your EDI initiative by sending out an EDI initiative launch letter.

8- ROLL-OUT AGENDA: Prepare a schedule and determine timelines for your roll-out.

9- ROLL-OUT TESTING AND SET-UP: Document and set-up the testing process.

Throughout this process, your EDI implementation team will also need to examine ‘areas of resistance’. These are generally areas where adoption might have a substantial impact on the existing processes, and where different levels of resistance to change may be experienced.

These ‘areas of resistance’ will be looked at and analyzed in order to evaluate the degree of reluctance.  In doing this, the EDI implementation team will be able to concentrate on getting individuals on board, and employing change management programs geared to lower resistance. To help you with managing resistance, you can refer to our previous blog: 5 Elements to Breaking the Barrier of Change.

EDI consulting experts will help you identify and develop the EDI implementation plan best suited for your organization. Don’t hesitate to consult with one!  Feel free to ask me for referrals!

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