As a general rule, customers undertaking an EDI initiative will adopt an EDI Solution Provided by a third party EDI Solution Provider. The customer’s ultimate aim will be to route all supplier/customer electronic messages through their EDI Solution, to realise the numerous benefits of electronic trading.
To facilitate this, the customer will instigate an Adoption Program whereby their suppliers will be mandated to join their EDI initiative. This mandate will explain the benefits of electronic trading, what will be expected of you, and is likely to recommend that you contact the customer’s EDI Solution Provider to discuss the “next steps”.
Does this mean that you MUST select the same EDI Solution Provider as your customer? NO.
There is normally no agreement in place or contract obligation that dictates you must use your customer’s EDI Provider Solution. As long as your EDI transactions end up at the correct location, then your customer won’t mind. This allows you to research the field and to investigate the best EDI Solution Provider to meet your company’s own bespoke needs.
The only exception to this rule is if you are not able to perform full Integrated EDI with your selected customer. In this case, your customer may provide you with a WEB Solution (which is normally accessed via Internet Explorer or something similar) normally designed by your customer’s Solution Provider. This will be in the form of a WEB GUI (Graphical User Interface) that will allow you to send and receive EDI transactions from your customer, albeit this will be a manual process and not automated.
If you wished to trade with any other additional customers, then you could use the same EDI solution you invested in originally to trade with your first customer to then trade via EDI with any customer / supplier of your choice. Your options and possibilities are not restrained by whom your customers use.