The vital key to successful EDI implementation

15 February 2024 by
Martin Eley
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Implementing EDI to automate your existing business processes, particularly in the accounts payable and procurement areas, can be a challenging process and full of pitfalls. One of which is the quality of your data

Imagine feeding your GPS with inaccurate or inconsistent map data, the navigation will be disastrous. Similarly with EDI, poor quality data leads to errors and unreliable results, potentially causing financial losses and operational delays. 

Having good quality data is therefore a crucial foundation for successful EDI implementation. Teaming up with an experienced EDI provider can help you tackle this challenge and make the implementation process smoother. You can do it yourself too, and here are some best practices to help you get started: 

1.  Define data quality standards. 

Your trading partners could be using GS1’s National Product Catalogue (NPC) standards or standardised identifiers such as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) /Global Location Numbers (GLNs) for their products or entities. Or they could be using a completely unique set of EDI standards relevant to the industry you are both operating in. 

Regardless, you must have a good understanding of the compliance requirements and be able to set clear, specific and measurable standards. This will ensure consistency and completeness across your data set. 

2.  Start with one product or service group. 

Instead of trying to tackle every product and service at once, focus on getting one product group right before applying the rules across the rest. The end game is to ensure each record consistently and accurately meets the data standards and regulations of your industry market. 

3.  Data cleansing, validating and verification. 

To achieve a clean dataset, you will need skilled personnel who have industry knowledge of your product range – make sure you identify the right person for this crucial role. 

You should also consider allocating adequate resources and have the budget for a multi-year program – don’t forget it is not only the initial assembly and cleansing of the data, but also ongoing maintenance. 

4.  Consider implementing a master data management (MDM) system. 

An MDM system is a software solution and set of processes that help link an organisation's essential business/product files to a single master data set, creating a single source of truth. It uses intelligent algorithms to identify and match duplicate records, ensuring only accurate and unique data is retained. 

This system helps to streamline data sharing with your trading partners, improve data quality and user experience. This can also lead to better product recommendations, pricing strategies, and overall business performance fostering stronger business relationships. 

Unlocking growth and outpacing rivals in today's competitive market hinges on one crucial factor – the impeccable quality of your data. Yet, surprisingly, many organisations struggle with inconsistent product information, limiting their ability to reach new markets and optimise supply chains. 

Don't let data hold you back. Applying the above strategies can go a long way toward paving the way for a successful EDI implementation. If you have any questions, feel free contact us, we are here to guide you. 

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