IQMS Blog for Manufacturing ERP Expertise

Is EDI On Your Horizon? Here are Seven Items to Consider.

Posted by John Asi on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

Farm Hill EDI resized 600The eCommerce module within the EnterpriseIQ suite of ERP & MES software is a very powerful and versatile tool that includes integrated inbound/outbound EDI processing, standard and customizable business logic, messaging and, ultimately, automation of the supply chain.

EDI integration into the EnterpriseIQ software suite brings a number of advantages over bolt-on options. One of the largest advantages is related to the data management side of the process. All necessary data is consistently available across the system and managed in one place only. There is no need to enter shipping locations, customer numbers, item numbers, etc. into multiple systems or provide some form of translation between the data in multiple systems. In addition, the ability to apply specific business logic to the data becomes more uniform in usage and flexible in terms of overall system function.

Since the integrated parser has access to all the data within the system, it is possible to make more meaningful decisions on how data is handled. A good example of this can be seen in the use of the AfterParse script. This script is executed after the parser has brought the raw EDI data into the system and populated the necessary EDI tables. The script contains logic to evaluate and manipulate the base data as need for specific requirements. This can include evaluating item pricing, validity of customer information, recording of notes/warnings/errors, the update of shipping requirements and modifying item and order matching rules (just to name a few possible uses of the script).

Outbound data also benefits from the ability to directly access within the database. The most obvious benefit is that when certain actions occur within the system, such as shipments or invoicing, the eCommerce module has complete access to the data and can generate outbound documents without any other input required. In addition, if there is need to apply any specific business logic to the data, it is easily handled within the transaction template without affecting the data in the database.

Another powerful extension that is available within the eCommerce suite is the eServer monitor application. This tool allows for scheduling of specific actions to occur in an automated fashion. These actions can occur on a regular timed interval, on a daily or monthly basis or at the end of a GL period. There are a number of available events that can be processed through eServer, ranging from processing of data to monitoring of files on the file system. Some of the most commonly used events are processing reports, error alerts, automation of inbound and outbound EDI data and scheduling of scripted tasks. When fully configured, the eServer application can create a completely hands-off environment for processing EDI transactions within the corporate environment.

As with any enterprise level application, there is preparation required to get the most of out the system. Several items to consider are:

No. 1: Do your trading partners have EDI capabilities and is there enough business to justify switching?

No. 2: What types of transactions will your trading partners be using?

No. 3: Do I have the necessary EDI contact information for each trading partner?

No. 4: What are your trading partners' expectations after enabling EDI? For example, response times for transactions, last minute changes to orders, special order situations, etc.

No. 5: Who on my staff will I assign to be trained to understand the ins and outs of the module and who understands the business requirements of the trading partners?

No. 6: Do I have a clear plan on how to manually process data for the trading partner through the system? If this can be done, then processing the data through EDI will not be an issue.

No. 7: Have I explored other markets that might open up because I am enabling EDI within the system?

If EDI is on the horizon or has been a bit of a mystery, now might be a good time to open up the EDI toolbox and start exploring the possibilities and benefits of using EnterpriseIQ eCommerce to help streamline your business capabilities. The IQMS eCommerce team has provided implementation services and support for hundreds of clients, allowing them to connect with almost 500 different trading partners (including new trading partners added regularly).

   

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Tags: EnterpriseIQ, eCommerce/EDI, Implementation, Automation