For most modern organisations, end-to-end process and system integration is the goal. As electronic commerce and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) become more vital as core business competencies, the need for EDI data integration across enterprise systems is growing.
But first, what exactly is EDI?
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) explained
Unlike manual data exchange, which involves a lot of paper and people, EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of business information and documents between business partners, where the information exists and is sent in a standard electronic format.
Effectively, EDI replaces the old paper-based and manual methods of exchanging business documents – such as fax, postal services, and even email – with a seamless, fast, and direct communication to the appropriate application on the receiver’s computer. Afterwhich, processing immediately begins.
By integrating EDI data, manual processes are automated, turn rates are ramped up, and resources are utilised more effectively.
Where paper-based methods of exchanging data are labour-intensive, inefficient, not easily tracked, give little visibility into the process, involve time-consuming data entry, and high human error, it is clear to see how efficient the EDI process is, saving companies huge amounts of time, productivity and money.
Indeed, industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and education have used EDI for over 25 years due to the cost and resource-saving benefits. However, EDI integration can be challenging. The key to maximising the full benefits of EDI is the ability to transform that mixed data into the formats required by the various enterprise applications.
The benefits of EDI in business
EDI speeds up the flow of information, which is the very heart of the supply chain. This data is used by companies to remain agile, resilient, and responsive to global and local changes in consumer demand, logistic capabilities, and manufacturing supply. Forecasting and production depend solely on the availability and accuracy of data. Without EDI, this would be painfully difficult if not impossible.
The automation of business processes powered by the implementation of EDI unleashes the following benefits to businesses:
- Reduced or removed paper-based document flow
- Greater processing speed
- Quicker transmission times
- Greater information accuracy
- Fewer data entry errors
- Cost savings in document and data handling activities
- Improved communication and relationships between trading partners
- Faster order turnaround times
- Improved results with customers, trading partners, and competitive advantage
The connection between ERP and EDI
ERP systems such as QuickEasy BOS integrate front office, back office, and production and resources into one unified system. ERP – like EDI – reduces human error, improves efficiencies, and makes a business more cost effective. It follows that ERP is the ideal partner of EDI technology to streamline communication between businesses.
In this way, ERP and EDI work together to integrate all members of a business and its partners to the same communication and database system, quickly reducing the amount of paperwork and manual admin needed to communicate between businesses
Why integrate ERP with EDI?
EDI delivers electronic communication between internal business departments, as well as external businesses such as orders, payment notices, notifications, and shipment verification. The ERP system is the electronic receptacle of these documents, so to speak, automatically assigning an appropriate action to the document’s process.
- Machines send status emails that the ERP receives and processes. eg. The digital printer sends a low toner email notification. The ERP then receives it, identifies what it is, and then creates the transactions that are required to solve the toner issue.
- You’re a distributor. You receive daily sales report emails from your branches which are imported into your ERP, which triggers the requisite actions in the ERP that ensure the goods are replenished.
- You receive a Supplier Invoice electronically and it automatically creates the corresponding transaction in your ERP, linked to the appropriate supplier transactions in the system.
- Your website receives contact forms / Support Request Forms which then directly update the ERP module in your ERP application.
- Your trucks need to be weighed. The EDI connects the weigh-bill system to your ERP system, and automatically inputs the data into your ERP. No human intervention required.
- You’ve ordered stock that number in the thousands of units. The supplier sends a packing list that is imported directly into the ERP system via the EDI. No lengthy human interaction required.
The automation of EDI reduces our dependence on manual human processes and clearly results in faster turnaround times, fewer mistakes, and greater efficiencies in staffing. As a result, EDI ERP integrations provide priceless data communications for many of the largest companies in the world.
Additional and enhanced benefits of BOS ERP-integrated EDI
Unified systems. BOS ERP acts as the centralised house for all your products, prices, inventory, sales transactions, deliveries, shipments, accounting, and more. For this reason, any information you need to send via the EDI can easily be found, selected and transmitted in just a few clicks. The advantages here are several and critical: risk is reduced, significant savings on time and manpower, transactions are processed almost instantaneously, and the cycle time for orders is rapidly accelerated.
Advanced analytics. A further benefit of integrating an EDI with your modern and agile BOS ERP platform is that you can leverage BOS’s advanced analytics functionality to better understand both your internal processes and performance, as well as those of your suppliers.
Predictive supply chain insights. BOS ERP provides a real-time helicopter view of your entire operation — and with an integrated EDI, you can anticipate and adapt to changes in supply and demand quickly based on supplier information. This gives decision-makers the data they need to pre-empt changes and opportunities and respond with data-backed confidence.
Seamless EDI integration with BOS ERP
Talk to us at QuickEasy BOS about your EDI-integrated ERP solution. We’ve been developing BOS ERP non-stop since 1988, and proudly use EDI to streamline data transfer.