The need to work with EDI companies is almost essential by now. It helps to streamline the entire supply chain, making it significantly more efficient. In fact, research has shown that, when properly implemented, it makes businesses twice as efficient and can significantly reduce costs as well. This demonstrates, however, how important it is that the right EDI system is chosen. This has to be one that can integrate with the full supply chain, which includes both internal and external partners.
Transforming the supply chain is a significant undertaking. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many businesses find themselves quite confused when it comes to choosing the right provider for their needs. EDI has a truly business critical nature, however, which means that the option of not finding a provider simply doesn’t exist. Thankfully, with some knowledge of what to look for, choosing a provider is not as difficult as some may think.
How to Choose EDI Companies to Work with
There are 10 specific questions to ask before deciding whether or not to work with an EDI company. They are:
- Whether existing customers of the EDI system are happy to speak to prospective customers and review their experiences. The business should also be able to provide case studies.
- Whether the solution can be fully integrated with internal and external partners within the existing supply chain. This should be possible regardless of the technical capabilities those partners have, or their back office systems, their data formats, and their connection protocols.
- Whether the solution is fully scalable in terms of its functionality, its volume, and its usage. This is necessary both during periods of growth and periods of contraction.
- Whether the installation and implementation process will be managed for you. If so, then you should also receive a complete project plan with expectations of different milestones.
- What you get with your EDI service. You should look into whether your provider will complete regular and thorough testing and whether they will take responsibility for mapping the system as well.
- What kind of support you will get when you sign up for the system. Find out whether you get 24/7 customer service and whether there are any additional costs associated with customer support.
- Whether the solution has been found to be reliable and stable. A good service level agreement (SLA) should be provided with significant guarantees included.
- How secure and safe the solution is and whether that meets the security standards within your business.
- What the price system is. Some providers have a fixed price, others have a variable one. Look into what is included in the price and whether there are any hidden costs. Make sure you also understand the upfront costs and what those cover.
- Whether you will only get a basic, simple EDI or whether you can choose to add other features and functions. For instance, some of the more advanced systems give you the option of including supplier performance management and business activity monitoring (BAM) as well.