Planning for implementation is one of the most important factors in EDI success. The better the planning, the more likely you will receive full value in your EDI investment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before initiating any EDI programme.
- Is the ability to better satisfy supplier, customer and/or vendor requirements important to your business?
- Are an increasing number of your trading partners deploying EDI? Are they pressuring you to become EDI-capable?
- Is your business under pressure to improve business performance while controlling costs?
- Would being EDI-enabled help you improve and shorten your time to market or increase your ability to enter new markets?
- Would being EDI-enabled make you a more attractive proposition to new customers in existing or new markets, geographies, industry sectors? Level the playing field with bigger competitors?
- Would more efficient Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables positively affect your cash performance and the way you work with customers and suppliers?
- Is sustainability and corporate social responsibility a growing issue for your business? Is a reduction in the amount of printing undertaken and paper used an area of focus for you?
About your business transactions
- Which are your most paper-intensive business transactions?
- Which of your business transactions involve the most trading partners?
- Which of your business transactions are most time-intensive or time-sensitive?
- Which of your business transactions would most easily become EDI capable?
About your partners
- Which of your trading partners have the highest volume of transactions?
- Which trading partners do you want to have a long-term relationship with?
- Which of your trading partners already use EDI? If they do, which EDI solution/network do they use?
- Do your trading partners have the right technical prerequisites for EDI?
- If they are overseas, is the communications environment robust enough?
About implementing EDI
- Do you have senior management buy-in for EDI?
- Can you create a multi-discipline EDI Steering Committee?
- Do you have the correct level of technical and business analysis experience in-house?
- Will you develop your EDI system in-house or select a third-party EDI provider/VAN?
- Which type of EDI is right for your business?
- Will you need to train and support your trading partners through the implementation process?
- Do you have a chosen trading partner to pilot the EDI implementation with?
- Does the VAN provider have a global reach?
- Are a number of your business partners already using the same VAN provider?
- Does the VAN provider offer a range of value-added services, such as business partner onboarding or advanced management information services?
- Does it offer support and training options for you and your partners?
- Is it a member of EDI industry organisations or international standards bodies?
- Will the VAN provider give you a roadmap to show how it will remain at the technological forefront?
- Can it offer flexible pricing models that best meet your business requirements?