Monthly Archives: January 2021

EDI: Debunking the myths

Electronic data interchange (EDI) automates procurement, eliminating a lot of manual processes. But there are some myths that make some businesses think twice about implementing it. Here are some of those myths busted.

EDI is costly

There’s an assumption that EDI is too costly and not worth the investment. This myth is often based on outdated technologies. Technology has advanced ignorantly in the last couple of decades though, and EDI service providers can provide a range of cost-effective options for businesses. For businesses looking to comply with retailer requirements, a good option is to use a simple EDI web portal, where you send and receive EDI messages. This can cost the same as a monthly phone plan and many see EDI as a small price to pay to maintain their retailers’ business. EDI integration can work out to be extremely cost-effective too. EDI integration involves the exchange of business information directly between business software. This method can be more expensive than a web portal, but the benefits can definitely justify the investment. EDI integration automates manual processes and sends documents electronically, which creates significant cost savings. Some sources calculate the cost of processing an order manually to be around $38 compared to just $1.35 using EDI.

EDI is complicated to implement

There’s a perception that EDI is complicated to implement, with some believing EDI is difficult to understand and needs expert skills. EDI messages are just another coding language, sometimes even XML or CSV. Once you understand how they’re constructed and what each element means, it’s as easy as pie. There are now even EDI standards, which have simplified this even further. In the end, EDI will make your processes more streamlined and improve your business communications. Plus, if you partner with an experienced EDI provider, they can often hold your hand through the process.

EDI creates errors

Some believe EDI can cause bugs and errors. There are a few reasons why this is wrong. These days there are a range of tests and approvals before a company goes live with EDI. For example, here at MessageXchange, we perform testing between you and us, the EDI provider, as well as end-to-end testing with your trading partners. It’s only once these tests are completed and passed that EDI is moved to production.

EDI slows down business processes

Many worry that moving to EDI will be disruptive to their businesses. It is believed that EDI interferes with business processes which slows down workflows. Overall, EDI can be quick to implement, depending on your goals and solution. If you stage your EDI implementation correctly, and gear your implementation to achieve your biggest objective first, it’s can really improve speed and productivity. This gives staff more time to work on other tasks. It also reduces the risk of errors and therefore the time needed to correct them. Studies show paper orders can take upwards of 10 days to fulfill, while EDI orders can take less than a day.

EDI is used less and less

You might’ve seen comments about EDI’s declining use and its possible replacement by other technology like APIs. APIs are actually used by most current EDI service providers. They shouldn’t be thought of as an opponent to EDI, but as just another connection protocol for EDI, like sFTP or AS2. After all, APIs don’t follow a generic standard, whereas EDI does. That means it’s faster and easier to onboard new trading partners. EDI use is in fact growing around the world. Over 60% of businesses across the United States already use EDI in their daily operations. If you want to learn more about EDI and how it can help your business, request a call back from one of our team.

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What’s the difference between EDI and eInvoicing?

Some of the main issues businesses face include too many manual processes, high supply chain costs and errors in supply chain documents. Electronic data interchange (EDI) has helped a lot of businesses overcome these issues through process automation. But now a new technology called eInvoicing is gaining popularity. We’ve compare the two and show when each should be used.

Comparing eInvoicing and EDI

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Electronic Data Interchange

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Message Types

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  • Invoices
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  • Invoices
  • Purchase Order (PO)
  • Purchases Order Response (PORs)
  • Purchase Order Acknowledgement (POAs)
  • Advance Shipping Notice (ASNs)
  • And more
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  • Separate network providers that send EDI messages in the correct format to recipient.
Multiple standards
  • Common standards include EDIFACT, XML ANSI X12, EANCOM
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  • This is set by the Peppol authority
  • Access Points must comply with security requirements or can have access revoked.
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  • Security is set according to EDI standard used and each company and VAN’s security requirements.
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Connection protocols/message file format

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  • Any connection protocol and file format can be used between you and your Access Point
  • Universal Business Language (UBL) and AS4 is used between Access Points
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  • Any connection protocol and file format – often determined by one party

Which is better for you


This technology has been around for a long time. As a result, it has become the norm in a few different industries. Some of the main industries include retail, groceries and logistics. Businesses that operate in an industry that EDI is commonly used, should consider using EDI. EDI can send more message types compared to eInvoicing. For businesses looking to take their digital technology further and automate their entire supply chain, EDI could also be the choice for you.


eInvoicing is great for businesses looking for a quick way to automate their invoicing processes. If you send and receive a lot of invoices, and aren’t really concerned about other data in the procurement chain, eInvoicing could be the right choice for you. eInvoicing is also useful for businesses that work with government agencies. As more government agencies move to eInvoicing it’s likely they’ll onboard their suppliers too. You can also benefit from 5 day payments for contracts less than $1 million from government agencies that are eInvoicing enabled.Want to learn more about these two technologies? Request a call with one of our eInvoicing or EDI experts today.

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The A-Z of Peppol

What is Peppol?

Peppol is a set of specifications that help make cross-border eProcurement easier. The Peppol interoperability framework is currently used for e-invoicing in Australia and New Zealand.

The network (Peppol eDelivery Network)

The Peppol eDelivery Network connects systems with a set of standardised business processes and technical requirements. This provides an interoperable and secure network connecting all Access Points. All Access Points in the network use the same electronic messaging protocols, formats and digital signature technologies. This helps ensure secure messaging and makes it quick and easy for trading partners to connect and trade.

The document specifications (Peppol Business Interoperability Specifications ‘BIS’)

Peppol developed the Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) to standardise the electronic documents exchanged and validated in the network. It specifies the process within the eDelivery network. The BIS requires the Universal Business language (UBL) to be used for documents within the network.


The Peppol framework is governed, owned and maintained by OpenPEPPOL. OpenPEPPOL is a non-profit international association that looks at ways to enable businesses to easily deal electronically. Peppol Authorities also have the responsibility to govern the eDelivery network and BIS within a defined jurisdiction. They also can approve and remove Access Points in the e-invoicing network.

Where are Peppol standards used?

Peppol is in use in 32 countries with 15 of those using Peppol authorities. Here is a list of the Peppol authorities and the countries where they operate:
  • Agency for Digital Government (DIGG), Sweden
  • Agency for Digital Italy (AGID), Italy
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australia
  • Coordination Office for IT Standards (KoSIT), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen – Germany
  • Danish Business Authority (ERST), Denmark
  • Department of Health and Social Care (NHS), UK
  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Ireland
  • Federal Public Service Policy and Support (BOSA), Belgium
  • Financial Management Authority (FJS), Iceland
  • General Secretariat of Information Systems – Ministry of Digital Governance (GSIS), Greece
  • Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singapore
  • Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), New Zealand
  • Ministry of Economic Development (MR), Poland
  • Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (NPA), Netherlands
  • Norwegian Agency for Public and Financial Management (DFØ), Norway
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eInvoicing around the world

eInvoicing is just starting to build momentum in Australia and New Zealand. In 2019, Australia and New Zealand signed the Trans-Tasman eInvoicing agreement, making it easier for businesses and government to exchange eInvoices, both within and between those two countries. Since then, we’ve seen an increase in government agencies implementing eInvoicing. And the Australian Government has promised to pay eInvoices in 5 days for contracts up to $1 million. They’ve also mandated the use of eInvoicing for all Commonwealth government agencies by the 1st of July 2022. So, eInvoicing in Australia and New Zealand is increasing. But how are other regions faring?

North America

In 2015, the US government mandated eInvoicing for federal government agencies by the end of 2018. The transition to eInvoicing was expected to bring a range of benefits including savings between $150 million and $250 million. Aside from Government, the largest adopters of eInvoicing are large enterprises. Some say a major issue in gaining adoption has been a lack of standards and too few eInvoicing service providers. In order to increase uptake, an eInvoicing framework is being created by the Business Payments Coalition (BPC) – a group of organisations and individuals that promote the adoption of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments.

Latin America

Mexico has been one of the pioneers in eInvoicing globally. They started their eInvoicing journey in 2004, being one of the first in the world. Even though it wasn’t made mandatory, eInvoicing was largely adopted by businesses and government. In 2010, Mexico managed to achieve 100% adoption by businesses. The volume of digital invoices issued between 2011 and 2017 increased from 1.7 billion to 6.5 billion. Mexico’s success has led to other countries implementing eInvoicing. The Latin America region sends 36 trillion eInvoices a year and have achieved some of the highest adoption rates of eInvoicing in the world: Chile has over 88% adoption and Brazil has achieved 100% adoption for B2B transactions. The high adoption in the region is due to the mandating of eInvoicing in both public and private sectors. Many countries who have implemented eInvoicing have seen reduction in fraud and easier tax preparation for businesses. This is in addition to cost reductions from eliminating manual processes.


In 2019, the European Union made it compulsory to send eInvoices between B2G. And if adopted between businesses, it’s expected that eInvoicing in the region will generate savings of €40 billion a year. Many countries have started to mandate its use both in public and private sectors. For example, Finland has used eInvoicing since 2010 for public sector procurement and now uses eInvoices for 100% of its transactions. Most Finnish businesses have also adopted eInvoicing. And in Italy, eInvoicing was made mandatory for both B2B and B2C transactions in 2019. France is joining them by making eInvoicing compulsory for SMEs and microbusinesses from 2020.


Asia is one of the regions where eInvoicing is expected to grow the most in coming years. Singapore made eInvoicing compulsory in 2008 for B2G transactions. It was the first country outside of the EU to use the Peppol framework, chosen in part to facilitate international trade. Singapore is providing grants to cover up to 50% of implementation costs for enterprises and S$200 for SMEs who join the network. One of the reasons countries in the region are adopting eInvoicing is to reduce fraud. In 2016, Indonesia required taxpayers to issue invoices electronically in order to notify the enforcing authority. Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have also implemented eInvoicing to curb the risk of fraud. It’s an exciting time for eInvoicing as we see a lot of countries, particularly in our region, move more and more towards a digital economy. If you’re interested in learning how eInvoicing can help your business, request a call back from our team.

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Four signs you’re outgrowing your EDI solution

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is used in several industries to automate ordering . There are a couple of types of EDI to choose from: EDI webforms (where you do everything from a portal) and integrated EDI (which uses your existing software). It’s not uncommon for businesses to start by using a web portal because all you need is an internet connection (no additional software) and it’s usually pretty affordable. However, as you more orders start to flow in, the more labour it involves. So, what are the signs that it’s time to make a change?

1. More customers are moving to EDI

You’ll start to notice more requests to use EDI when more customers make the move. This can be a sign that it’s time to move to an integrated solution. Manual processing of orders is likely to increase so switching to integrated EDI solution will reduce your team’s manual handling, giving them more time to work on other tasks.

2. You’re getting an increased number of orders

If you’re growing your customer base, introducing new products or just seeing more sales (good on you!), the number of orders you receive is going to increase. As your orders increase though, so will your manual processes. The increased workload can get overwhelming for your team. So how can you tell when your order numbers are getting too high for your current EDI solution? A common sign is having to hire casual staff to help process the orders you’re receiving. This obviously increases costs and resources, without making processes more efficient. Integrated EDI can help to automate manual inputting and reduce the need for more staff as your orders increase. As a rough guide, if you are processing 30 orders a week, you’re likely to benefit more from an integrated EDI solution.

3. Your customers are asking you to send them more information

You can start with very few messages when trading with customers using EDI. It could be as simple as just receiving a purchase order and sending back an invoice. If you’re using a web portal, this might not seem like much work at all. But what if your customers start asking for additional message types? Retailers introduce more message types for a number of reasons – to get more visibility of what can be fulfilled, so get a more accurate picture of when and how stock will arrive, and to have more accurate, real-time information at their fingertips. As they add more EDI documents, like purchase order responses or advanced shipping notices, your workload will increase. This can be a good time to switch to integrated EDI. It removes double-handing and allows the information to be sent automatically.

4. You’re struggling with too much manual processing

Are you struggling to cope with the amount of manual processing required when you receive an order? It might be time to switch to an integrated EDI solution. Integrated EDI significantly reduces the amount of work that your team needs to do. You won’t need to double-handle things – you enter it once and it’s automatically sent to your customer.

How to switch

Before switching to an integrated EDI solution, there are a few things you can do in preparation.

Check your software

You’ll need to find out what your software is capable of. This includes things like:
  • The documents your software supports. For example, if your customer requires an advanced shipping notice and SSCC labels, does your software support that?
  • The file formats it can import and export, like XML or CSV.
  • The connection protocols it’s able to use, like sFTP or API.

Our process

We try to make our process as simple as possible for businesses to switch to integrated EDI:[vc_column width="1/4"]

Let us know what you want to achieve and we'll suggest the best solution

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Start our partnership

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Connect to MessageXchange and test connectivity and messaging

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Go live!

If you’re interested in implementing integrated EDI for your business, request a call back below.

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