Top 5 EDI Integration Mistakes

EDI integration

As technology improves, several corporations in the supply chain industry opt to upgrade their software solutions. Most of the time, they do so to help streamline reporting, document control, and much more. However, one of the leading integrations put into place by logistics professionals is that of EDI integration or Electronic Data Interchange. 

An EDI is a computer-to-computer network that transfers business documents electronically as opposed to printed documentation. The solution itself is exceptionally secure, using advanced mathematical algorithms to seamlessly share business documents between partners.

This technology is in the open market and upgraded at hundreds of logistics businesses each year. But even with its popularity, there are still plenty of mistakes that logistics managers make when trying to perform an EDI integration.

In this blog post, we’ll outline 5 common EDI integration mistakes. Luckily, all of these can be avoided by just a little bit of proactive planning.


Understanding the EDI Integration Process

Like any other new technology, upgrading your document control and electronic invoicing to an EDI is a process. It typically begins by understanding a weakness or deficiency in your workflow. In the logistics space, the primary reason why EDI integration makes sense is to improve the flow of crucial documents including shipping invoices, BOL, customs declaration forms, and more. 

Once the pain point is discovered, the process continues to search for the right fit for your company size, scope, and future development. This is scalability, and it’s a crucial component that all technology solutions should include. Scalable solutions permit a supply chain operation to grow and expand their user base, without significantly upgrading the technology. In logistics, finding an EDI that is scalable often eclipses other attributes.

The final step in the EDI integration process is purchasing and actual integration. For this step to be effective, a company must determine whether the cost of the new technology and time needed for integration and training is a worthwhile investment. 

Working with a proven 3PL like Redwood Logistics to help pick the right EDI helps to save time, money, and improve the process of integration.


The Top 5 EDI Integration Mistakes

When a company opts to take on this task on its own, it’s quite common for some hindsight after the fact to occur. However, in some cases, these afterthoughts can cost the company a lot of money, lead to poor integration, and having to backtrack the process to correct the issues. 

These five items are the most common ‘would-a, could-a, should-a’ EDI integration errors made by logistics companies. 


Failure to Integrate when It Makes Sense

You can lead a horse to water, but eventually, they’ll have to lean down to take the drink. Such is the case with EDI integration. The biggest mistake that several logistics companies make with EDI integration is not taking the leap. They typically are on the fence and find ways of leaning towards the, “we’ll do it next year” philosophy. 

Here is a simple solution if you’re in this boat. If your company handles more than 20 to 25 transactions or document interactions per day, an EDI integration should happen. 


Focusing on Price

It’s a major mistake to purchase EDI’s simply based on the lowest cost option. There are several introductory EDI’s that appear cheap on the surface. In the end, though, these platforms will cost you more money as many are based on an a la carte model.

It’s always best to consult with a 3PL before investing in an EDI to ensure you purchase a platform that offers value over microtransactions. Sure, it may be a bit more expensive to get started, but constantly being nickeled and dimed isn't very beneficial. 


Not Using Automated Alerts

Chargebacks cost supply chain businesses a lot of money. However, by integrating the EDI to include automated alerts, you can quickly make corrections to avoid costly chargebacks.


Too Many Bells and Whistles

There are some EDI’s that are packed with bells and whistles. However, most of the time, it is overkill for most smaller logistics operations.

When searching for an EDI platform, it should include tools, apps, and features that are practical for your operation. 


Taking on the Process

Successful logistics operations generally involve multiple tasks and many moving parts. Determining which EDI platform is best for the business on top of it all is a bit daunting for most people.

Save yourself some of the stress and outsource the new EDI integration process to a qualified 3PL!

Not only does a 3PL provider understand the ins and outs of EDI integration, but they also have a wide understanding of every platform, tool, app, and feature that helps logistics companies improve document control. 

If you’d like to learn more about EDI integration, contact the leaders at Redwood Logistics today.