Speed, clarity, and optimum performance are on the minds of executives planning to invest in a new EDI system or upgrade an existing one. And, although they will benefit from these advantages, nothing will be more valuable than taking the time in advance to prepare for what’s to come. I call it “doing the groundwork”—taking the steps that will ensure a smoother ride when it comes time to implement an EDI strategy.

How to avoid common missteps

  1. Establish a network of players. The bigger the company, the more critical it is to have a team trained and in place before taking the first step toward implementing EDI. Ensure that the importance of a joint effort is emphasized and that all players know their respective roles. Make the effort to connect the integrator, system provider, and the 3rd party EDI provider, or your EDI strategy could be doomed.
  2. Find a reliable software platform. Far too often companies have an in-house IT person or persons who want to program an interface for the transactions instead of investing in existing software. Why does this scenario usually backfire? Problems occur because that IT person hasn’t accounted for the reality that every implementation unfolds differently. It just doesn’t fit a mold, and the outcome—an inflated budget and/or a code that was constructed haphazardly—cannot be predicted. For this reason, under most circumstances, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel with a customized EDI platform.
  3. Be flexible and consider scalability. Don’t plan an EDI system based on the status of the company’s operation at the time of the implementation. Rather, factor in growth and create a system that adapts to the way your company does business, and do not choose a system to which the company must adapt.

By engaging in planning upfront and using these guidelines to avoid missteps, your new EDI system will likely increase the speed and accuracy of your operations.