EDI Not Working? Try Picking Up the Phone. Communication is Key to Problem Solving.

EDI Not Working? Try Picking Up the Phone. Communication is Key to Problem Solving.

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One of the greatest challenges to having a successful Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) process will be determined by the data being sent to you and what your system will do with that data.

In many cases, translation tables can be placed that will auto correct incorrect data. But what if that data is not just incorrect, but corrupted or just plain invalid? Even though Electronic Data Interchange services are designed to be an automated process, manual intervention is still required to ensure the integrity of the data being received. If this data is not found and managed at the beginning of the EDI process, issues will occur that could derail the EDI process right from the start. To enhance success a proactive approach is required. This is where communication with your partners becomes critical. With constant communication with partners, customers and suppliers, your EDI setup will have less issues, and the ones that do occur will be much easier to manage and correct.

One instance, that comes to mind, was with a customer who sent daily and ten-day forecasts every workday. These forecasts contained firm orders that needed to be filled correctly each week. For weeks, an incorrect quantity was being shipped from our business to this customer. After multiple weeks went by, our inside sales rep finally brought the issue to my attention that either the incorrect order quantity was shipped out, or that the inside sales rep had to call the customer for confirmation of the quantity needed before shipment. Until this matter was corrected our customer was certain that it was an issue on our side and we were to blame for their inability to produce their required products to their customers, causing our customer a great deal of problems.

After being able to review the raw EDI files data, was it determined that the issue was arising on our customer’s end and not ours. Their ERP Electronic Data Interchange services system’s materials requirements were not setup with the correct required quantities, and in turn producing an incorrect sales order on our end. Once the partner was able to get this corrected in their system, we started to see the correct quantities in orders and the partner started to see the correct quantities received.

This just shows that even though EDI is an automated process, manual interaction is needed throughout to proactively handle issues and provide effective EDI solutions and management. Without it, an issue like this could have taken even longer to discover and even longer still to get the proper research and solution in place. These sorts of issues erode trust with the EDI process even when the process is working as intended. With incorrect or corrupt system data, the EDI process, no matter how well the EDI mapping setup was done, will falter and fail to give the results needed to run your business the way you need it to. This is not the type of reflection you should want your partners receiving back from your digital mirror.

 

Having issues with your EDI management or interested in getting an EDI solution for your business? Want to chat with the author? Contact us and learn about our Electronic Data Interchange services today.

What is EDI? Be Careful, It’s Your Company’s Digital Mirror

What is EDI? Be Careful, It’s Your Company’s Digital Mirror

What is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)? In a much simpler five words or less definition, it means “data in, data out”. EDI is a toolset that interacts with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business software system that takes data coming into the EDI system, processes that data in the ERP, and sends that data back out to the originator (like a customer). You would think that a process which can be explained in only four words would be pretty simple, right? And it can be, if the proper care and attention is given to the EDI’s initial setup and further EDI strategy.
 
If a customer’s purchase order sent via EDI is being processed and has an incorrect date, or is completely missing a cell’s data, a simple mapping adjustment can be made to correct these sorts of issues. How can you ensure that your customer’s purchase orders are processed into your system correctly, if that attention to detail is not done? How can you be sure the pricing on your sales orders and the invoices that are generated are correct if your price lists are not correctly setup in your ERP system?
 
The EDI strategy and process is a digital mirror of how your system is currently setup and will reflect your strengths and faults back to your customers and suppliers. Think of EDI as a linked chain and your business is a boat being pulled along by a truck, which represents your customers or suppliers. If all the links are solid, that truck will pull that boat forever always getting to the desired destination, but if there is a broken link, the chain will start to fail and eventually break, allowing that truck to continue driving but it leaves the boat behind stranded in the middle of nowhere. To avoid being stranded and left behind, make sure that your chain is strong and durable by taking time setting up the ERP data properly, the EDI mapping, and running many tests before going live with customers. With the proper care and attention to your EDI solution it will not matter how large that boat or truck gets. Your chain will not break, it can handle it. Now ask yourself this, is your chain strong and durable enough? Or could there be some broken links you may or may not even know about?
 

Still not clear on the question “what is electronic data interchange?” Ask us anything, we would love to chat.