5 Tips to Consider When Setting Up EDI Trading Partners

Setting Up EDI Trading Partners“Hello, Acme Home Construction, how can I help you?”

“I see you have been building houses for quite some time. I found a floor plan I really like. Can you build one for me?”

“Absolutely, we would be happy to help. Can you please let me know what floor plan you are referring to?”

“Well, it was a house with walls, some bedrooms and a garage.”

“OK, that fits the description of most of the houses we build. How about you tell me where you saw it and we can look up the plans for you.”

“Oh, you need more details. OK, let me get the information for you. You can have the house built for me by next week, right?”

“Excuse me; I must have misheard you, what was that last statement?”

“You can have the house built for me by next week, right?”

“I am sorry, but we don’t even know what the house looks like yet and you would like to have us complete the project by next week?”

“Sure. You have built these houses before, it should be easy. Besides, our current house is scheduled for demolition the week after, so we need the new one built ASAP.”

“Sir, I am sorry, but your request in not possible in the time frame you are asking for.”

“But you said you can build a house and I have seen them and it should be easy with the amount of experience you have at doing this. Besides, it is an emergency…”

At this point anyone reading this should be crying, laughing, or doing a little of both. The situation above seems very unreasonable, full of assumptions and destined to have some very unhappy results. Unfortunately, this conversation is not as uncommon as one would think.

For example, change the home contractor into an electronic data interchange (EDI) or integrated eCommerce solution provider like IQMS and the home buyer into a vendor looking to set up EDI with its trading partners. If you look at the list of trading partners that IQMS has developed transaction sets against, the list is extensive. When potential clients decide it is time to use the eCommerce module and they find out their trading partners are ones that IQMS has worked with, all too often the discussion ends up much like the exchange above.

Add to that some situations in which a client is being forced to migrate away from a system because of an imposed contract termination or other requirement and tensions can get a little bit high. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning and cooperation, many of these situations can be averted. Knowing what to expect from both the eCommerce provider and the trading partner can go a long way. With EnterpriseIQ, some things that need to be considered to help streamline the process are when setting up new EDI trading partners:

  • Is there a clear understanding of the full list of the transactions that the trading partner is going to be sending and is expecting back?
  • Has a client representative communicated with the eCommerce support team to understand what timelines look like for deliverables?
  • Are the specifications for the transaction sets that are expected available? Yes, an 830 is an 830, but is it really? There have been some interesting liberties taken with some transaction sets that may not quite adhere to the “standard.”
  • Is the system ready to process data that the trading partner is going to be sending and can that data be manually processed for key transactions for the trading partner?
  • Once the transactions are delivered and the trading partner is configured, is there some time built into the implementation to perform adequate testing for the eCommerce process?

Just taking these few things into account can save quite a bit of frustration and confusion and lead to a happier outcome. The key is communication and understanding of the process from beginning to end.

John Asi, IQMS Director of Data Services, oversees IQMS' EDI and internal IT departments. In addition to nearly a decade of ERP experience prior to joining IQMS, John holds a bachelor's degree in parallel computing from California Polytechnic State University and has a fluent understanding of Arabic.