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Supplier EDI. Onboarding, or how to ship all your suppliers via EDI.

Supplier EDI. Onboarding, or how to ship all your suppliers via EDI.
04/01/2021

Initiating a Supplier EDI Onboarding approach is a strategic benefit for your company’s trade. Exchanging data in a computerized way via paperless documents, such as digital invoices, holds considerable advantages for your business. Business management is made easier via innovative software solutions. This is the case, for example, for paperless invoicing.

Commencing a Supplier EDI Onboarding approach is not just a technical choice of EDI solution. There are multiple ways to turn this approach into a real “success story”.

The challenges of successful deployment

Set up EDI feeds with providers

Setting up EDI provider feeds is all well and good. But deploying electronic exchanges with all of your suppliers, whether large and small, and automating 100% of your document exchanges in the purchase-to-pay process is a significant way to save time and reduce business costs.

To benefit from the gains of an EDI purchase, you have to plan to expand this approach to all suppliers at the same time: this process is known as “Supplier EDI Onboarding”.

Increase EDI profits by systematizing EDI vendor deployment

The more messages and partners you obtain, the greater the benefits to your business as Computerized Data Exchange maximizes profits as the number of transactions and messages between interlocutors increases.

Its benefits are all the more important because many transactions and disseminated messages are relevant to your business.

Tip: Think about all the paper documents currently exchanged with your suppliers: from sending purchase orders, to receiving delivery orders, and electronic invoices, or even tax forms.

Streamline your distribution

The distribution phase must be simple, efficient, and fast to save employee time and quickly accomplish the profitability expected from the switchover.

The speed of supplier integration is an important factor to consider in the success of your project.

Once your EDI platform is ready, the steps that follow must be systematically conducted with each provider: a communication plan, registration and connection, compliance tests, certification for each scenario, the double-flow phase (paper and electronic track), and, finally, the production phase.

It is important to choose tools that enable effective tracking and the simple setting up of each vendor to the new system.

Tip: Supporting your purchasing department is essential for the success of this business project.

The keys to unlock your suppliers’ EDI Onboarding success

Here are some ideas to turn your EDI provider deployment into a real onboarding.

EDI Guidelines

First, create the requirements for your EDI switch (your EDI “specifications”). Broadcast to your suppliers what actions they need to take ahead of deployment, it will avoid misunderstandings, and simplify the testing phases.

For instance, your switchover may consist of an interchange contract, a document containing the types of message to be used, the frequency of messages, possible communication protocols, identifiers, and back-up procedures.

Your EDI guidelines should describe the standard message format chosen, the expected EDI format, and the required data for your new information system.

Tip: Explain the different functional scenarios and the corresponding EDI syntax in your specifications.

Your suppliers’ EDI onboarding communication plans

Communication is a major step to successful onboarding. Careful preparation is required to explain to your suppliers the benefits they will derive from the implementation of electronic data exchange, and what you expect from them.

The communication plan must be adapted to the different waves of its rollout. For instance, after evaluating overall supplier potential, group suppliers by turnover and transaction volume and focus first on key suppliers.

Tip: Communicate several times with your suppliers as EDI deployment progresses.

Self-test platforms

Depending on the number of vendors involved, it may be appropriate to implement self-testing platforms, such as Amazon or Volkwagen. These certification platforms allow suppliers to test the reception and syntax of the EDI message themselves.

An error report is automatically generated if the syntax is incorrect, allowing the message sender to make necessary corrections without soliciting the customer-side distribution team. Thanks to this verification system, integration is ensured before the green light is given for manufacture.

Tip: Prepare a few test messages (one per functional scenario) to allow your suppliers to optimize their certification phase.

Offer an alternative Web EDI

Your goal is to automate the processing of all transactions from your EDI suppliers. However, some will not be equipped with EDI; especially, small businesses. By offering them the opportunity to view or enter their business documents via a software solution, on a web portal, you benefit from the automation of these paperless exchanges with your computer system via the Internet, regardless of the provider.

Tip: With a Web EDI, immediately integrate all documents into your ERP. The contribution is immediate for your users and the EDI deployment can continue independently.

A dedicated onboarding team

To ensure the success of EDI rollout, it is imperative that a dedicated team monitors suppliers and ensures that system requirements are met. This role can be assumed within your company by an existing employee, or group of employees, or delegated to your EDI provider.

Tip: Save time and effort by entrusting EDI suppliers to an external partner to facilitate the process and ensure timely compliance.

Companies are betting that B2B flows will increase efficiency, increase competitiveness, and reduce costs in the supply chain. To succeed and benefit from all the gains of EDI, the rollout method is important: agility, efficiency, and speed are its pillars.

Tenor has been supporting its customers for more than 30 years in the dissemination of system changes to their EDI suppliers, as well as its EQP (Exchange Quality Platform) service, which ensures the validation and approval of your suppliers. Contact our experts to launch your supplier EDI onboarding project.