What Are EDI Managed Services? Your Questions, Answered

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Most companies transact over half of their revenue via some sort of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) operation. This serves a critical purpose for infrastructure logistics and business growth.

However, many firms only possess a limited staff to handle all of the IT functionalities, often forcing them to outsource their EDI operations.

So if you are currently performing all EDI tasks in-house and having trouble, you should consider outsourcing your EDI.

Keep reading to find out what EDI managed services are, how they can help and why it matters.

What Are EDI Managed Services?

EDI managed services are a comprehensive package of outsourcing tools for your current EDI program. Managing an EDI platform can be daunting and tiring, so using a third-party provider is a no-brainer.

Currently, many firms are pursuing the integration of EDI with a back-office system, such as an ERP – which in fact, increases internal resource demand, making it hard to sustain.

Employing the use of an EDI managed service is a better solution, altogether. The main reason being is the reduced cost for infrastructure investments, which helps ensure that you have the right set of tools to deliver a required service.

If you don’t believe us, check out some of these case studies from companies and their EDI managed services experiences.

How Does EDI Work?

Electronic Data Interchange software integrates with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning System), where the company information is stored. Information such as purchasing, inventory, shipping, billing and transaction details.

The EDI system uses the stored information for transactions. Then the ERP creates invoices and POs for any orders.

The documents are then transferred through the EDI system, into a web service call or file drop. Making the data available for delivery from company to trading partners.

Each trading partner/company within the supply chain possesses its own requirements for information transitions (send/receive).

The variation entirely depends on the party and means that the system must be capable of translating and revising the data into a specific format, requested by a company.

Benefits of An EDI Managed Solution

  • Access to newest, best technology, as the provider depends on up-to-date facilities and service
  • Value-added services for worldwide trading and community enablement via external systems for connectivity
  • Quick and seamless access to new markets to grow your business
  • Performance analytics and supply chain information to increase productivity/reporting for business partners.
  • Active maintenance for vendor compliance and trade partner communications
  • Automation of current processes by removing IT resource shortages, providing room for core strengths development
  • IT investment competency analysis and business return calculation
  • Accessible on-boarding and enablement
  • Active support for special projects and transition periods by balancing workloads

Under The Skin With EDI Managed Services

Despite all of the benefits of EDI managed services, one must be cautious. Providers usually charge a monthly outsourcing fee but can add individual service charges without your notice.

Before you employ the service of an EDI managed solutions provider, you should consider asking them these questions:

  1. Who enables the communication with trading partners: the vendor or you?
  2. Who covers and fills out incident reports?
  3. Who performs the mapping and data changes to fulfil the trading partner’s specifications?
  4. Who responds to emails, phone calls and live chat from trading partners?
  5. Who completes new transaction type requests for trading partners?
  6. How many business relationships do you have? The paper document verified types of relationships.

More than likely, even these questions won’t cover all of the possible fees on top of the monthly fee. Nonetheless, you as the client pays à la carte.

However, be not discouraged – EDI managed services are truly valuable, and you should only consider experts in the field to mitigate any possible issues.

Support For All EDI Formats

In any case, your company most likely pursues global transactions. So what you don’t want to do is worry about language incoherence within an EDI department.

Another set of good questions to ask your potential EDI manager services provider:

  1. Do you have 24/7 active support and analytics monitoring for when things hit the fan?
  2. How do you handle EDI formats, such as Tradacoms, EDIFACT, X12, and others?
  3. Can the staff handle all of the mapping necessary for transactions of the future and exchanges of the now?

Mapping Services – Don’t Forget To Verify

In most EDI relationships, mapping comes with many backdrop questions that are usually left unanswered. A provider will most likely announce that they cover all of the mappings, and that might seem reassuring.

But, it is common for other issues to arise in the relationship down the road. As the provider’s definition of outsourcing might not match yours. To make sure both parties are on the same page, consider asking these questions:

  1. Who keeps track of when a trading partner is in need of a change on the map?
  2. Are there any additional costs that will be incurred for mapping?
  3. Who makes the changes to EDI maps, in order to keep them updated with a partner’s needs?
  4. How long does it take from execution to implementation of an EDI map?

EDI Managed Services For Your Fulfilment

Now that you have caught grasp of what EDI managed services are, how they help and why it matters – you can safely move on to either making use of them or not.

Whatever you choose to do – it will be right for you. But, we know that employing the use of an EDI service provider is going to save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

If you are considering the use of intelligent automation and EDI fulfilment, reach out to us and we will make sure to get everything right.

AdvanceFirst Technologies

AdvanceFirst Technologies

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About AdvanceFirst

Since 2003 AdvanceFirst Technologies Ltd has rapidly become one of the most successful specialist EDI companies in the UK. With over 300 clients in more than 20 countries and five distributors around the world we now also have an established global presence.

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