Time to Update Your EDI System or Consider Managed Services?


July 6, 2022

Throughout an EDI lifecycle, major turning points can make the current system obsolete.

The best practice is to replace your EDI system and translator when updating your ERP system as they are both tied together; EDI maps are built to work with the ERP’s native file format. Due to business challenges, many companies are moving to EDI managed services instead of in-house systems. Find out which option is best for you.

If your system is aging beyond 3-5 years, be proactive, as many solutions might be reaching End of Life (EOL). For an in-house system, plan for upgrades every year for the latest specs and support. This also makes troubleshooting and fixing issues easier. Managed services take care of the system updates and upgrades.

For maximum efficiency, update EDI at the right time

If any of the following pertain to your company, it might be a good time to look into a new system or find an EDI managed services partner.

Aging infrastructure

When systems are outdated and EDI requirements are growing, it’s time to either reinvest in new infrastructure or look for an EDI partner. Evaluate whether you have sufficient capacity to manage your current EDI volume.

  • Are you reaping savings without significant technical difficulties or downtime?
  • Can you react to market changes or trading partner requests within a reasonable timeframe (one to two weeks)?
  • What’s working with your current EDI solution and what needs improvement?

An evaluation of your aging current system will inform whether you should upgrade or outsource.

Staffing Changes

Companies often experience a knowledge deficit when key EDI staff retires or leaves, especially with in-house EDI systems. Replacing a staff member can be a major challenge. When your company is in this position, either start the search early or consider outsourcing to a managed services partner. IDEA has helped many companies transition to managed services when key staff are retiring.

New ERP or ownership

With a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or an acquisition/merger, technology infrastructure changes may necessitate a new EDI system. This type of major organizational change may also come with changes in staffing and plans for growth — both of which are critical considerations in EDI plans.

Increasing costs or maintenance

If costs are skyrocketing or the system is providing less value per dollar, it’s a good time to re-evaluate.

Download the whitepaper: Determining Your eBusiness Strategy for EDI Operations.

Prepare for your company’s future

When you find yourself in one of the aforementioned scenarios, take into consideration what the future holds for your organization.

Review plans and forecasts

In the next two to five years, what company initiatives are planned to pursue automation and efficiency savings? How will this affect EDI usage? If you are planning on automating more than cash (PO invoice, PO Ack, ASN), then you’ll move up into the next tier of eBusiness and need additional resources.

How much growth?

Do you expect significant growth (new locations, verticals, acquisitions, etc.)? Does your company need to grow without increasing costs significantly? Knowing how aggressively your company plans to grow in the near future is crucial for finding EDI savings.

With big expansions, such as adding 100 new trading partners, consider outsourcing. Adjusting the level of service enables unlimited growth. If you’re adding 10 new trading partners or adding more transactions with the same vendors, your current system can usually handle it. When anticipating a growth plateau, consider automating more transactions and lowering costs by adding trading partners or implementing an EDI enablement solution for non-EDI companies.

Get an expert opinion

When it’s time for your company to update EDI systems, talk to IDEA. Whether you ultimately decide to select IDEA Exchange as your managed services partner or as your VAN for your in-house EDI system, IDEA can work with your team to leverage automation to increase your savings.

Why Consider IDEA for Your EDI Managed Services?

  1. IDEA is the #1 EDI provider for both distributors and manufacturers in the electrical industry.  
  2. IDEA is owned by the electrical industry. Therefore, if your company is a member of NAED or NEMA, you’re an investor in our company as NAED and NEMA own IDEA.
  3. IDEA is known for its responsiveness, flexibility, and partnership with its customers.
  4. EDI Pro: IDEA maintains EDI standards
  5. Gain opportunity for costs saving

For more information about EDI services or managed services, reach out to idea-sales@idea4industry.com.

To learn about IDEA Exchange, visit the IDEA website.

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