Electronic data interchange is a fast and secure way to exchange information. With the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency, companies can optimize profitability when they incorporate EDI software into their operations. However, choosing the best EDI provider is crucial to success. To find out how to choose the right provider for your needs, take a look at these 5 factors to take into account:
1. Type of EDI
Transferring data via EDI enables two entities, such as a customer and business, to communicate in a universal language, but there are different types of EDIs. Web EDI might be ideal for smaller businesses as it can be used on a standard internet browser at a relatively low cost, for example. Alternatively, enterprise-level companies might want to set up direct or point-to-point EDIs with specific suppliers or business partners. Evaluating how you plan to use EDI will help you to determine which type is best for your business. You can then select an EDI provider that offers the exact type of electronic data interchange you need.
2. Ability to Scale
As your business grows over time, it’s essential that your systems can evolve with you. Choosing an EDI platform that can be scaled as your business grows is one way to ensure long-term success. If you’re currently drop-shipping, for example, you might want to choose an EDI provider that can facilitate this, but that can also provide EDI services for shipping to distribution centers and stores.
3. Pricing and Cost
Of course, the cost of EDI services is going to be a major factor when determining which EDI provider is right for your business. Some providers charge fees based on the amount of data that’s transferred, or the frequency of transmissions, whereas others charge a flat monthly fee for access to their service. While it’s important to keep your expenditure as low as possible, combining quality with cost-effectiveness is essential, so shop around to find the best deal.
4. ERP Integrations
If you only use EDI sporadically, you may not feel the need to integrate it into your in-house systems. However, choosing an EDI provider that offers ERP integrations will ensure that you can incorporate EDI into your systems in the future, if you choose to. When data from your EDI platform can be accessed via your ERP system in real-time, it can increase automation within your business and maximize efficiency, so it’s well worth taking this into account when assessing which EDI provider is right for you.
5. Access to Support
Although most EDI platforms work seamlessly, there might be times when you need to access a little extra help. If so, it’s useful to have access to 24/7 support so that you can implement instant solutions and minimize downtime.
Incorporating EDI into Your Business
There’s no doubt that electronic data interchanges can transform the way businesses operate, but the commercial success of the technology depends on the service, software or provider you choose. By evaluating your company’s needs and assessing EDI firms based on the above criteria, you can narrow down your search and find the best EDI provider for your business.