Web EDI : who is it for and why ?
Most customers are looking to automate their business documents and avoid data entry– that we can all agree on! However, what happens when there isn’t sufficient volume to justify a new system, capable of EDI integration, and more so, no budget to undertake the complexities of EDI Integration?
Furthermore, most of the systems on the market are not capable of accommodating ASN (Advance ship notice) requirements; consequently, when you need to transmit ASNs to your customers, and if your 3PL does not transmit EDI documents from its WMS system, you must then use a software, or a Web EDI portal, in order to exchange EDI business documents with your customers.
In the grocery industry, there are many vendors who create invoices, through data entry, for their Direct to Store (DSD) deliveries. In this particular case, having the option to select the products from a personalized catalogue in your vendor profile, becomes a great value add, and this feature is available in some Web EDI portals such as ours Webgate+.
Timing is everything, and in most cases, the Web EDI option is of great value due to the low investment it requires. A simple set-up and testing cycle can get you compliant in just a few days and avoid loss of sales associated with long EDI Integration processes.
Web EDI : for who ?
Therefore, here is what you need to consider when deciding what service you should use, and when will be the best time to take on EDI Integration:
- You are a seasonal vendor, exchanging low volume EDI documents, during a short period of time. Web EDI is a great fit for you. You will be able to send your EDI documents, be compliant and have no EDI costs outside your sales season.
- You are using an accounting package that doesn’t have EDI Web EDI may be a good fit for you if you need to transmit ASN (Advance Ship Notices), seeing as mapping this transaction can be costly. Otherwise, you may want to look into File Transfer! A simple export, cost-effective map that will allow you to automate your EDI process. In this scenario, Web EDI or CSV file may be your best option!
- You have no interest in becoming EDI The process of integration requires skills that your business doesn’t have and you are ok with data entry for the moment. You fit the profile of many of our Web EDI users! But we are looking out for you, and if we feel you could benefit from a better process (cost and time efficient), we will assist you throughout the transition to allow you to continue to transmit EDI documents while you are integrating! No loss of sales or EDI benefits!
- You are currently implementing a new ERP system with EDI capability but need some time to be able to integrate and yet you need to continue your EDI business without disruption. That is one of the main reasons we offer Web EDI and Service Bureau solutions. We provide you with interim solutions, until you are ready to be fully integrated. (Once you are integrated, we provide the VAN services you need to stay connected and reliable!)
- You are a DSD (Direct to Store) vendor with an older system; you do not have any IT capabilities and you need to transmit EDI. Web EDI is a great fit for you in the interim. As a 3rd party EDI provider, we would start you on Web EDI and we would work with you, and our One-Stop Shop partner network, to help you automate your business processes when you are ready to!
There are several models that fit the Web EDI portal users. What is important to know, is that for every situation you are in, there is always a solution!
Web EDI : which solution is best for my business?
The following are 5 solutions for you to evaluate the best one for your current situation:
Service Bureau: Get all your EDI done by a Service Bureau department. You e-mail your documents, and the service bureau department processes them on your behalf. Our current Service Bureau users typically start off their EDI adventure with the Service Bureau department, and then transfer to the Web EDI portals or integration, once they feel comfortable with the process. You can always change plans down the road, when your sales are settled and you feel more confident about the EDI process.
Web EDI: Use a Web EDI portal. If you use a great portal, it will only require you to enter few fields as most data can be populated from the Purchase Order as well as your Vendor Profile! Users of such solution are often dealing with multiple retailers who require multiple transactions but are simply not ready to invest in mappings, or are in the process of implementing a new system and need an interim solution.
File Transfer: Use the export capability of your current accounting system to transmit a file in any format and a 3rd Party provider will translate that file into EDI and send it out for you. This reduces the manual entries, and therefore, risk of errors. There is mapping involved, but the cost as opposed to the time you save is well worth it, if your volume is high enough.
EDI Integration: If you are using an ERP system that is EDI capable, you can use a 3rd Party for your mappings and be compliant with no need for data entry. You may also have an IT department that is able to map the transactions according to the customer’s specific guidelines. In this case, you are ready to go in-house and may simply require VAN services to transmit to customers who do not have AS2 capability.
ERP System: If you are ready for the next step and get an ERP system that fits your business and can grow, you may want to evaluate different systems. We provide a One-Stop-Shop collaboration that allows you to get a group of highly qualified Microsoft partners to help you with your new implementation, from beginning to end!