Five key questions for your EDI provider
Selecting the right EDI provider can be very daunting, especially for businesses that are implementing EDI for the first time.
1) What type of EDI solution will be the most advantageous?
Providing you are speaking to the right provider, EDI solutions can be tailor-made to your precise business requirements. This can be particularly beneficial where multiple trading partners are involved, or if non-delivery carries heavy penalties. The advantage of such scalability means that your EDI system can develop in tandem with the needs of your business. You may incur more expense initially, however these solutions will ultimately offer you high cost-savings and a lasting competitive advantage.
2) How much does EDI implementation cost?
Every company has a unique set of requirements that sees the need for them to consider a variety of circumstance-specific factors and prioritise accordingly. Cost is an important consideration to businesses and when implementing an EDI solution, will manifest in several ways. Initial setup costs will depend heavily on existing legacy systems, what the new system needs to do and how much work it will take to transform from one to the other and train personnel.
This is often the most expensive part of implementing an EDI system and in some cases, can act as a barrier to implementation but in most cases, these costs are quickly offset by the inherent value EDI provides across a business. Annual licence costs and agreed monthly tariffs based on data usage is also commonplace, but good EDI providers will ensure reliable and transparent billing, reflective of usage patterns which means these costs can be controlled and anticipated well in advance.
3) What are the benefits of successful EDI implementation?
Successful implementation of a dedicated EDI solution can yield significant long-term strategic benefits including the streamlining of supply chains, superior competitive advantage and improved customer relationships. Errors due to manual data entry are eliminated as data becomes more accurate whilst internal business processes are optimized, saving time and money, allowing you to focus on your core business.
4) What experience should an EDI provider have?
Prior to engaging an EDI provider, you must always research them thoroughly, looking into their business background, prior experiences, referees and check that they can provide a solution that will cater adequately for your business requirements.
Conducting this preliminary research cannot be emphasised strongly enough, given its vital importance in ensuring that issues do not arise at the implementation. Of equal importance, your selected EDI provider must also be able to provide proactive and responsive technical Support services to a standard that matches your expectations and business needs.
5) How long will the implementation of an EDI solution take?
EDI solution implementation depends specifically on the complexity of the project and circumstances of the project. Timescales are subsequently unique, determined individually between the business and the engaged EDI provider.
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