Implementing EDI in a supply chain operation can be a complex process as most supply chain management businesses have many moving pieces. Implementing your electronic data interchange solution using a systematic approach will help your team to complete an effective, efficient EDI program.

First your team should analyze your internal operations and how they will be affected. See which procedures will be altered and what resources must make adjustments. This will help your team develop a holistic project scope in later steps. Next, select your EDI project manager. This internal resource will be responsible for communicating with your EDI vendor and should have in-depth knowledge of both your business and electronic data exchange solutions. Thirdly, your team should perform a detailed cost benefit analysis. This analysis will detail how EDI utilization will improve each identified application and set a budget and ROI standard. Next, your team should identify expected benefits. Take a deep dive into all functional areas and search for all potential benefits available. This will help your business make the case for your EDI project. Now identify your trading partners, or those people you will be exchanging electronic documents with. Evaluate their current capabilities and make note of any technical upgrades they may require.

With this data develop an EDI project scope. In this document you should identify key project factors such as document sets, trading partner counts, document transmission estimates, transmission method and much more. Using this document your vendor selection team should choose your EDI VAN of choice.

Now that you have selected your EDI solution vendor you can begin implementation and integration of your EDI system into your existing warehouse management software system and other supply chain software. These integrations will allow seamless data transfer between all systems, eliminating errors. And before your EDI go-live it is critical to test your system using a pilot program. Test each document and as they pass begin implementing the exchange using actual documents.

Following these nine steps can help to ensure the success of your EDI selection and implementation. To learn more about EDI in the supply chain contact Datex experts today at www.datexcorp.com , marketing@datexcorp.com or 800.933.2839 ext. 243.

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