What are the Costs of EDI Implementation?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) technology has become highly popular in the supply chain industry and the global market is forecast to be worth almost £4 billion by 2029 – up from £1.5 billion in 2021.1  

Despite this, over 41% of companies have not adopted EDI processes and 21% still rely on web portals. These businesses have a higher risk of process inefficiencies and are missing out on the immense benefits that EDI solutions can offer.

Cost is a major barrier to EDI implementation and we know that investing in EDI can seem daunting, especially if you’re just starting a business. Our experts want to demonstrate the value of this investment and provide you with insights into the costs of EDI software.

Why implement EDI? 

EDI is a worthwhile investment in the future of a business. Whether it’s a delivery getting delayed because the truck drivers’ invoices haven’t been received, or the manufacture of a car’s steering wheel being paused because the customs documents for the rubber casing are still on a computer in Thailand, the manual transfer of data is time consuming and very costly.

Suggested reading: If you want to find out more about EDI, check out this blog – What is EDI? The History and Future of Electronic Data Interchange.

What are the benefits of using EDI software?

  • More efficient data transfers: An EDI document increases speed and accuracy by eliminating cost-intensive manual tasks. This reduces the risk of errors, processing delays, and lost revenue from chargeback penalties.
  • Reduced costs: EDI software will streamline supply chain processes and increase productivity without the need to hire new staff. According to IBM, the cost of processing an invoice with an EDI system is roughly £2.70 compared to about £24 when processing manually.2
  • Increased customer satisfaction: EDI reduces the risk of human errors, lost orders, and shipping problems. Furthermore, it gives your employees more time to focus on enhancing customer service and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Gain a competitive advantage: EDI integrations give small and medium size businesses a competitive advantage and help them stand out from other vendors.

Suggested reading: If you want to learn more about how EDI software can deliver a competitive advantage, take a look at our eBook – The Supply Chain Centred Business

How much does EDI cost to implement?

Calculating the costs of implementing EDI is essential to ensuring your solution will have a substantial ROI for your organisation. You must have a realistic understanding of how much EDI software will cost, including ongoing fees such as maintenance and support. There can be an understandable concern around plunging money into EDI networks, especially since so many software investments have endless hidden charges. However, working with a team that delivers EDI solutions that fit your needs will ensure you’re maximising ROI and reaping the benefits of your data.

The costs of EDI will vary depending on whether you decide to manage EDI in-house or partner with a third party EDI provider. You will also pay more if you opt for fully managed EDI support, although you should recover these fees through the cost-saving benefits. 

In this blog, we will discuss some of the EDI costs you should consider if you want to get the most out of your EDI system and maximise your return on investment.

A range of specialised software

To successfully implement EDI, you first need to invest in a range of software that’s key to the success of EDI implementation.

EDI requires the following software:

  • Communications software
  • Mapping and translation software

How much does EDI software cost? 

The costs associated with this software will depend on the scale of your organisation, whether you’re creating your own network or relying on a third party EDI/VAN service, and how many trading partners you’re exchanging business documents with.

Implementing specialist software will increase EDI costs. However, it’s a great investment as it will ensure that your EDI solution is tailored to the needs of your organisation and able to support you as you scale. 

Pro tip: Click here to learn more about our EDI VAN, DiNet.

A team of EDI specialists

It is possible to integrate EDI in house, but it’s a difficult task that requires real expertise. This is the reason why most organisations leave this task to EDI professionals.

While EDI is a well-established process, EDI experts with the skills to translate your business needs into a specific EDI solution are becoming harder to find. Some examples of this necessary expertise:

  • EDI consultants, who can take a detailed look at your organisation and determine how best to implement EDI.
  • EDI managers, who oversee the execution of EDI, ensuring it’s adhering to the frameworks and best practices. 

Outsourcing EDI implementation to a specialist company is a worthwhile investment as they will ensure that EDI implementation is smooth and supports your long-term goals. It will also set you up for success over your competitors, as you’re accessing that rare expertise that’s so necessary for seamless data transfers.

Tip: Choosing the right provider is essential if you want EDI to be effective. At Data Interchange, we have decades of EDI expertise in-house, across multiple industries. This means we’re ideally placed to help you scale with the help of innovative EDI solutions.

Ongoing managed support

If you choose to manage and maintain a traditional EDI solution in-house, it requires an extensive, expert team. Sourcing this is costly and difficult, especially if you don’t know who you need in order to successfully implement EDI. There is also a need for ongoing upgrades, amendments, and maintenance to ensure the EDI implementation can handle all the transfers occurring between you and your trading partners. This isn’t viable for many small- and medium-sized businesses.

To properly benefit from an EDI implementation, you need the support of experts to ensure that your EDI infrastructure continues to suit the needs of your organisation as it grows. This is where fully managed EDI subscription models come in. Many businesses opt for EDI managed services rather than keeping all that expertise and responsibility in-house, as it ensures EDI is carried out correctly and seamlessly. 

Pro tip: Want to opt for EDI managed services but don’t know where to start? Check out our blog to learn the ten things to look for in an EDI managed service provider.

5 benefits of investing in fully-managed EDI support

  1. Access 24/7 support: EDI experts will take on the responsibility of managing your EDI infrastructure and provide you with dedicated customer support. They will monitor your system for issues 24/7 and carry out routine maintenance to keep your EDI software operating effectively. 
  2. Remove supply chain complexities: A fully managed service provider will remove the complexity of the EDI ecosystem and help your business overcome even the most complex supply chains. In fact, EDI-as-a-service was already changing supply chain best practices in 2021.
  3. Scale EDI solutions with ease: EDI specialists can scale your EDI solution up or down to meet supply chain demand. Managed services help you create responsive, flexible routes within the network to mitigate risk.
  4. Bridge EDI skills gap: EDI is a popular technology used by a wide range of organisations. However, it is also a niche specialisation and many businesses struggle to recruit EDI specialists. Partnering with a fully managed service can reduce the EDI skills gap and help you avoid paying to hire and train new staff.
  5. Build a hybrid EDI solution: A fully managed service can bundle different types of EDI software to ensure the best possible outcome for your business. Combining elements of multiple types of EDI is an effective way to improve the flexibility of supply chain relationships.

Suggested reading: Find out how Data Interchange contributed to a 564% growth in business over 10 years through our EDI fully managed service. Read the full case study with Sertec here.

Ensuring your EDI solution is worth the price tag

EDI will help you navigate complex global supply chains, streamline processes, gain a competitive advantage, and ultimately, increase sales and revenue. However, choosing what solution is most applicable to your business and how best to implement it is difficult to ascertain. That requires in-depth understanding of the methodologies, best practices and solutions, something a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses do not have.  

Speak to the EDI experts at Data Interchange

Speaking to an expert will ensure that your EDI implementation is smooth and cost-effective. 

Data Interchange is a specialist EDI managed service provider with over 35 years of experience. We can advise on what combination of EDI software and tools is best for your business, and will ensure it’s implemented in a way that’s scalable and economical. 

If you’d like to find out more about how EDI software can support your business or discuss our EDI pricing models, talk to an expert today.

1  Electronic Data Interchange Software 2022-2029 | Fortune Business Insights 

2  Electronic data interchange (EDI) software and solutions | IBM 

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