eInvoicing with MessageXchange in a nutshell

If you’re just starting out with eInvoicing, or looking for an eInvoicing provider, the process can be pretty daunting and confusing. The good news is, this blog is just for you. Keep reading to find out the A to Z of eInvoicing with MessageXchange.

What is eInvoicing?

For those really new to eInvoicing, have a look at this whitepaper that explains in layman’s terms what eInvoicing is, how it’s used, its benefits and more.Ok, now you’re all up to speed with the basics…

It doesn’t matter what software you use for invoicing

The good news with our eInvoicing service is that it doesn’t matter what invoicing software you use. Our service is software-agnostic, which means we can connect to any software. In the diagram above, your software will be corners 1 or 4. We’ll handle all the nitty gritty between corners 1 and 3 (for sending invoices) and corners 4 and 2 (for receiving invoices) so you don’t have to worry about any added stress of finding new software. After all, we all know what a process and investment changing software can be.

Your software doesn’t support UBL files? No worries

Now that you’re all up-to-date with eInvoicing, you’ll know that UBL is the file format used between Access Points (corners 2 and 3) to exchange eInvoices. In reality, many software packages don’t support this file format. And this is something we’ve catered for. We can take your software’s native file format and translate, or map, this to and from the eInvoicing UBL file. For those non-technical people reading this – usually a software package exports an imports one specific file format, like XML or JSON.

MessageXchange provides both Access Point and SMP services

The introduction to eInvoicing whitepaper describes how the eInvoicing process works. When an eInvoice is received at the sender’s Access Point, it looks up where to send the eInvoice to. This lookup is done in an SMP, or service metadata publisher. So, when you register to receive eInvoices, you’ll need to register your ABN, NZBN or whatever identifier you use, in an SMP. MessageXchange provides this service for free for all its eInvoicing customers so it’s one less thing you need to worry about.

Options to suit every business

We offer a couple of different eInvoicing options, which should suit most, if not all businesses out there.

eInvoicing Connect

This is the perfect option if you want to get up and running quickly and cost-effectively. This product can be used for sending and receiving eInvoices, or just one or the other. It also caters for business response messages, which is sent from a recipient of an eInvoice to a sender to update them on the status of the eInvoice, for example, whether it’s been accepted, rejected, paid and more. We’ve got an existing integration with TechnologyOne CiAnywhere, but if you’re not using that software, you can connect to MessageXchange via SFTP or our AS2 to exchange UBL, XML or CSV files. We have a message implementation guide for our XML and CSV files so you can familiarise yourself with the structure. When it comes to pricing, get setup for as little as $950, which includes registration of one ABN or NZBN. Then it’s just $50 per annum (this covers the subscription to our Access Point) and $50 for a pack of 1,000 credits. One credit covers 1MB of data or part thereof of a single message, including attachments. eInvoicing Connect users get access to a portal, which allows you to view a log of the invoices you’ve sent and received and you can see your credit balance too. Find out more about eInvoicing Connect here.

eInvoicing Gateway

If you’re going to be an eInvoicing power user, or are looking at eInvoicing more strategically, our eInvoicing Gateway is for you. It’s got much more flexibility in that we can connect to any software using any secure connection protocol to exchange any file format (MessageXchange configures maps to translate your format to/from the UBL format). Plus, it’s got additional functionality. Our Gateways allow you to implement business rule validation, which can do things like reject an invoice if it doesn’t have the data you need. It can also enrich invoice data, like adding an internal vendor number based on the ABN it’s sent from, to make sure the invoice data your software receives is what you need. The data enrichment can also cater for outgoing invoices. This helps if your software doesn’t populate all the mandatory eInvoicing information, or the information that your customers require from you. Another benefit of our eInvoicing Gateways is it’s reporting and analytics functionality. Get access to custom reports based on any data in the invoices and even call on data from other sources. One case we’ve seen is top-level reporting on multiple business units. The functionality is all there, but how you use it is really up to your imagination and your business’ needs. Find out more about our eInvoicing Gateways here.

Onboarding suppliers

Yes, getting setup for eInvoicing is the thing we think about first, but onboarding your trading partners is what you’ll turn your attention to once that’s done. With our 20+ years in supply chain trading, we’ve got a few tips at the ready. We’ve developed a guide to help you engage and onboard your supply chain. Plus, we’ve got no- and low-cost solutions for your trading partners to send and receive eInvoices. Just ask us more.

Security is a top priority

We know invoice data is commercially sensitive and that’s why we do everything within our power to keep it secure. We’re ISO27001 accredited, we use encryption in transit and encryption at rest plus a range of other security, DR and BCP processes. Have a look here for more info.Ready to find out more? Have a chat with one of our eInvoicing experts.

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EDI best practices

EDI can be a big commitment, and following best practice from the get-go can save you time, money and hassles down the line. We’re pretty experienced helping customers implement EDI, so here are some pointers on how to get things right the first time.

Establish clear procedures

It’s important to have clear contact point for your trading partners to get in touch with you about EDI-related issues they may have. The last thing you want is a colleague who knows little or nothing about EDI being asked EDI questions and not knowing where to direct the question. Work out who will take care of EDI questions from suppliers and educate your team so they understand where to direct these enquiries. Another thing to think about having is a contingency plan if something goes wrong with your EDI. You need processes in place to be able to keep operating in the unlikely scenario of an issue.

Test, test, test

There’s nothing worse than sending EDI messages to your suppliers only for them to not receive it. Or even having suppliers sending you messages incorrectly. This can lead to stock not being on shelves and invoices not getting paid. Testing before going live can make the transition to EDI much more seamless. Organise a time to send and receive test EDI messages to and from your suppliers to ensure that you don’t run into any issues when you go live. If this sounds a bit too manual, you can use our message compliance testing (MCT) service on Colladium to automatically ensure the EDI messages you’ll receive follow the correct syntax and use the right fields.

Automate as many processes as possible

Before getting started with EDI, think about all the things you want automated – an EDI automation wish list so to speak. Think about all the areas that take up too much manual processing or add significant costs, for example not knowing if an order can be fulfilled, or not knowing when it’s going to be delivered. You can even look at the invoice payment process, which is often time consuming for your accounts team. EDI can automate matching purchase orders and other EDI documents with your invoices to ensure they are accurate and legitimate.

Be picky when choosing an EDI provider

It’ll come as no surprise that it’s important to have a list of things you expect from your ideal EDI provider. Have a think with your team about what you want in your provider. Think about:
  • if they meet your technical requirements
  • if their business aligns with yours
  • if they have the right experience
  • if their support model works for your business
  • if their pricing model suits you.
Need more help getting ready for EDI? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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Using EDI to improve supply chain efficiency

Improving efficiency is one way for businesses to help battle rising costs and inflation. One efficiency improvement businesses are turning to is EDI.

Reduce costs and errors

The big efficiency with EDI is there’s no need for emailing or paper, which has some obvious benefits. As your number of orders grow, so does manual processing and hence, the need for more hands on deck. EDI does a lot of the heavy lifting for you through automating a lot of your processes. Studies have shown EDI can reduce the cost of a financial transaction by up to 90% and exchanging an invoice through EDI can even cost less than a cent. Automation from EDI can stop those awkward moments where your customer asks why your invoice numbers are wrong or if a supplier delivers the wrong products. EDI can result in a reduction in transactions errors by up to 40%.

Faster delivery times from suppliers

For any businesses, one of their biggest nightmares is not receiving goods when they need it. Any way to make the procure-to-pay cycle shorter is always a benefit. EDI sends trade documents directly between your software and your partners’. No more emails and manual inputting. EDI automation can speed up business cycles by 61%.

Better supply chain visibility

The best way keep track of all processes in the supply chain is through data. Businesses using EDI can find out whether a supplier can complete a purchase order. If you use advanced shipping notices (ASNs) with your suppliers, you can find out what a supplier is sending you and how they’re sending it. This can help your warehouse teams plan ahead for deliveries, so you can save time and resources. In fact, using ASNs can reduce receiving costs by up to 40%. Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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What rules the roost – EDI process or business- and software-process?

We often get companies come to us when they want to implement EDI. And one of the points of confusion is often around where EDI fits in with their business processes and software. They ask what comes first – is EDI the cart or the horse, the chicken or the egg?As a general rule, we say EDI should support your business processes, not rule them. We suggest companies map out their process, whether it be existing or what they want them to be, then insert EDI at points that it can help. For example, if you want to scan inventory in when it arrives, you’ll probably choose to use an advanced shipping notice to get the data into your software ahead of time and have your suppliers attach scannable SSCC labels to their shipments. If your software conducts two-, three- or four-way matching, you’ll need to make sure you exchange the relevant messages that are used in those checks.

The other thing is, you don’t want to make your project bigger than Ben Hur – it’s ok to phase in different stages. Start with where it’s simple to bring EDI into the process. Then if there are other pain points down the track that can be resolved with EDI, then add them into the mix. A key reason for why projects can go awry is biting off more than one can chew.

Different industries, and even different businesses or different software all operate in their own ways. And there’s good reason for that. It’s important that you get your processes in a place that suit your business needs. EDI should ideally be used to bring in automation and to reduce your team’s workload.

Here at MessageXchange, our software can help with the EDI portion, but our powerful business process management layer can help fill gaps between EDI and your processes and software. MessageXchange is flexible enough, and smart enough, to cater to processes regardless of their complexity. For example, two-way matching can be conducted within MessageXchange itself by taking the EDI order and invoice and reconciling them against each other, then sending the result on. It can do the same with three-way matching by including the shipping notice too. It can even enhance the data in your message. For example, if you find it’s difficult for you or your suppliers to include a supplier number or GLN, MessageXchange can insert that into messages for you.

Looking for more information on this topic? Get in touch with us below.

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Things to keep in mind when onboarding large amounts of suppliers

Onboarding suppliers to EDI can be costly and time consuming. A typical onboarding process will involve these steps:
  1. Engaging suppliers Letting them know you’ll be onboarding them to EDI.
  2. Getting them familiar with requirements (MIGs) All requirements are normally shared via a message implementation guide (MIG)
  3. Schedule in testing Set up a time and deadline for testing of messages to start
  4. Test Send and receive EDI messages from your suppliers to ensure they are sending the correct data.
  5. Go live!
If you’re onboarding large amounts of suppliers it’s important to keep things efficient. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing is the most time-consuming process

Testing is time consuming because it requires a lot of back and forth checking and communication with your suppliers. This takes time and puts more pressure on you to keep things moving along. A more efficient solution is to use a message compliance testing tool (MCT), like Colladium. It allows suppliers to test their EDI files, often through an online portal, without your team needing to check them. This means you don't have to wait for your EDI team to match up availability with theirs. In fact, your resources don’t need to be involved at all. This also allows the supplier to fix up any issues with their mapping or EDI file generation so that when they go live, you're not scrambling to resolve issues.

Make templates for your communications

This makes it easy for anyone in your team to communicate with suppliers consistently and accurately. The templates should include who your suppliers should contact, the expectations and requirements to onboard and their scheduled time for testing. Just be aware it is pretty normal for these templates to evolve over time as you and your suppliers learn. These templates can also be tailored to the supplier’s knowledge and readiness for EDI.

Communicate internally

It’s key that everyone within your business is on the same page when it comes to onboarding. A step by step process should be finalised and communicated to your EDI team. This process should establish the roles for each part of the process and who to contact. Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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EDI mapping explained

In most industries, there’s an EDI standard – whether it be EDIFACT, GS1 XML, ANSI X12 or something else. While standards are fantastic because they make it easier for companies to trade with each other (because they don’t need to setup different messaging standards with each trading partner), ERP software generally doesn’t export the standards out of the box, if at all. Typically, software exports an XML or CSV document. So this is where mapping comes in.

What is mapping?

A mapping translates a file from one format to another. For example, if your software exports an XML file but your customer requires an EDIFACT message, the mapping process transforms the XML to EDIFACT. The way MessageXchange work allows the mapping process to also incorporate business rules. For example, it can be used to enrich data, perform calculations and more. This is particularly helpful for those companies whose software doesn’t export all the information that a customer requires. A mapping is setup once and then it just runs. There’s no intervention needed when a new message comes in, the whole process of mapping a file is automated.

When would I use it?

As I mentioned above, mapping is typically used when software isn’t able to export the file format required by a company’s trading partners. It’s the way to mediate between your software and that of your trading partners. It can even cater for your trading partners who have different requirements – logic can be setup to use certain mappings for certain customers. Mapping cover all message types too – so if you receive an order, the purchase order can be mapped from XML to EDIFACT, but the POR, ASN and INV can be mapped from EDIFACT to XML, for example.

What are the benefits of mapping?

It allows a company to easily comply with their trading partners’ requirements

There’s no changing your software or investing in additional staff or other resources to manage this.

It automates processes

It’s ‘set and forget’. It just runs.

It’s scalable

There’s no extra work to do if your message volumes increase. Once the mapping is setup, any new messages that are exchanged automatically go through this process. If you're needing help with your mapping get in touch with our EDI experts by filling in the form below.

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The art of writing MIGs

When you onboard suppliers it’s important for them to understand what the requirements are for the messages they need. A Message Implementation Guideline (MIG) refines a generic EDI standard such as UN/EDIFACT and details how it will be used for your company. In simple terms, it tells your suppliers what messages they need to send, what information the messages contain and how they’re formatted.Here are important things you need to know…

Choosing an EDI standard

There are different EDI message standards used around the world. Once you choose a standard it will be used as the base for your MIG. Here are a few of the common ones and where they’re most used:
UN/EDIFACT Standard coined by the United Nations and the most commonly used worldwide, and heavily used in the Australian retail supply chain industry.
ANSI X.12 Commonly used in North America
EANCOM Commonly used in the European retail industry
ODETTE Commonly used in the European automotive industry
EbXML Global standard developed by United Nations body for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Information Standards (UN/CEFACT) and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS ).
TRADACOMS Commonly used in the UK retail industry
HIPAAhow Commonly used in the North American Healthcare industry
SWIFT Commonly used by financial institutions worldwide.
 

Choose the message types you want to use with your suppliers

This comes down to what your objectives are as a business. Here are some of the common messages and what they do:
  • Purchase order Sent from buyer to supplier to order goods or services
  • Purchase order change Sent from buyer to supplier if the original purchase order has changed
  • Purchase order acknowledgement Sent from the supplier to the buyer to acknowledge receipt of the order
  • Purchase order response Sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know how much of the order can be fulfilled, and any discrepancies from the original order
  • Advance shipping notice (or despatch advice) Sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know when and how the goods will be shipped
  • Invoice Sent from the buyer to the supplier for payment of the goods or services
  • Recipient created tax invoice (RCTI) Sent from the supplier to the buyer for payment of the goods or services
  • Remittance advice Sent from the buyer to the supplier to confirm payment
  • Price/sales catalogue Sent from the supplier to the buyer with up-to-date product and pricing information
  • Product activity data Sent from buyer to the supplier with the number of units sold and units on hand
  • Transport instruction Sent from a buyer to a transport supplier (and related parties) to communicate transport arrangements
  • Transport response Sent from a transport provider to confirm instructions
  • Functional acknowledgement An automated response sent from a receiver of an EDI message to confirm receipt of the message.

Find out what data your ERP system requires to process your message types

This is important because it’ll determine what fields and values you need from your partners. This includes things like:
  • character limits
  • whether only integers are allowed
  • if it needs to be number
  • how many decimal places
  • whether the field is dependent on another field (conditional)
  • whether a field is used for particular use cases only
  • how calculations are made.
From here you can provide a list of values that can be used, If not, all values in your chosen EDI standard. We have a range of MIGs from various companies you can check out here.

Putting your MIGs together

This is where you take everything from the previous steps and document it. Writing MIGs can involve a bit of work and so you can get an external party to help. This where an EDI provider, like MessageXchange, comes in. We can assist or lead the MIG writing process, developing it from scratch or upgrading your MIG. Find out more here. Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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EDI documents explained: The retail industry

The retail industry has been using EDI for decades. It’s been proven to give retailers more visibility, better accuracy and truckloads of savings. And there are even benefits for suppliers too, especially those who fulfill large volumes of orders. The use of EDI is mature in the retail industry and covers basically all use cases of the procurement process. Let’s have a look at the different EDI message types that are used in the retail industry and why.

Purchase order

This is sent from a buyer (retailer) to its supplier. It will tell the supplier exactly what they want supplied. It will tell the supplier where to ship the goods to, and it might even tell them when the retailer expects the goods by. A purchase order typically starts the procurement process. In the EDI world, you might see a purchase order referred to as ORDERS (EDIFACT) or 850 (ANSI X12).

Purchase order response

A purchase order response is sent from the supplier to the buyer (retailer) to let them know whether or not they can fulfill what’s been requested on the order. Typically, there are three scenarios – the supplier accepts the order in full (if they can fulfill everything as requested), the supplier rejects the order in full (if they won’t fulfill any of the order), or the supplier proposes changes to the order. Changes on the order response are typically changes to the quantity, the price or the delivery date. In the EDI world, a purchase order response can be called ORDRSP (EDIFACT) or 855 (ANSI X12).

Purchase order change

A purchase order change comes after a purchase order or purchase order response. It’s sent from the buyer (retailer) to the supplier. As the name suggests, it can be used to make changes to the original purchase order. Or if the supplier sends a purchase order response, some retailers send a purchase order change to confirm the supplier’s changes (response).

Advanced shipping notice

This can sometimes be referred to as a despatch advice. It’s sent from the supplier to the buyer to let them know what’s being shipped and when. There are a couple of ways that retailers use a despatch advice. The first is a relatively simple one – it basically tells them how many of each product is being shipped, to where and when. It just gives retailers a bit of visibility. The second one is much more detailed. The retailer requires the supplier to tell them exactly what’s being shipped, how, to where and when. These ASNs have SSCC, or serial shipping container code, details on them. SSCCs are unique numbers that identify a unit. This can be a pallet, carton or something else. The supplier tells the retailer how many of each product are going into each pallet, for example, and what the corresponding SSCC number is. The retailer may also require the supplier to tell them the batch number, best before and expiry dates of the products in that pallet. The supplier then prints labels, with the SSCC number represented as a barcode and sticks it onto the pallet they’re sending. This information is sent to the retailer on the ASN ahead of the goods being sent. When the retailer receives the goods, they can scan the barcode to know exactly what’s on the pallet. In the EDI world, this message is called DESADV (EDIFACT) or 856 (ANSI X12).

Invoice

An invoice is sent from a supplier to a buyer to let them know what to pay them for the goods or services they’ve supplied. Unlike invoices that you might send and receive by email, EDI invoices don’t typically have bank details on them, because these are usually agreed on as part of the supplier agreement. The EDI invoices generally just outlines the total to be paid, the breakdown of what’s to be paid and sometimes the payment terms, although these can also form part of the supplier agreement. In the EDI world, you might see the invoice referred to as INVOIC (EDIFACT) or 810 (ANSI X12).

Product catalog

A product catalog gives the retailer details of the products you’ll be supplying to them. It can be as simple as supplying them with the GTIN or item number, product description and unit price. In the EDI world, this is called a PRICAT (EDIFACT) or 832 (ANSI X12).

Functional acknowledgement

Unlike the other message types we’ve discussed here, functional acknowledgements aren’t your typical procurement messages. These are usually handled behind the scenes. They tell the sender of the message whether it’s been received and if it’s A-OK or why it might have been rejected. In the EDI world, these are called CONTRL (EDIFACT) or 997 (ANSI X12).If you have any questions or need help getting started, just get in touch!

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Tips for writing a tender document to find an eInvoicing provider

Many organisations are starting to go through the process of finding an eInvoicing provider. Some, particularly larger, organisations need to go through a formal procurement process to find a supplier. Given eInvoicing is a new area for a lot of people, here are some tips to help you write your tender document.

Get to know the ins and outs of eInvoicing

The last thing you want is to be unprepared. Getting to know the basics of eInvoicing makes this process much easier. Make sure you get to know what eInvoicing is and how it works. Learn about the use cases, the benefits, what it will mean for each of your teams (like accounts payable, accounts receivable, IT and others), what it will mean for your customers and suppliers, find out how others have used it as a start.

Get to know what eInvoicing providers provide beyond just eInvoicing

Just like most industries, there are some eInvoicing providers who merely pass the invoice from A to B. But there are others who have capability to do much more. Here at MessageXchange, our powerful software can insert missing information, check the information you require is on the invoice and perform complex lookups, workflows, rules and more. This functionality is particularly useful for organisations who have complex business rules, automated payments and integrations with multiple systems.

Have a clear view of how eInvoicing will fit into your architecture and processes

For smaller organisations, it can be as simple as eInvoices coming in and out of your software. Even in this simple case, you’ll need to know how they will come in and out – through an API, can it drop and pickup files from an SFTP folder or does it need to use another method – and what format they will come in and out in – will it be an XML format, a CSV or something else? For larger organisations, accounts receivable invoices may come out of one system and accounts payable invoices may go into another. You may have a single integration point for any data coming from the outside world, rather than connect to your systems directly. Be very clear on what this process will look like for your company. On the accounts payable side, many organisations have automated matching against an order, or checking the vendor number or ABN or other data. Make sure you know how eInvoices will fit into this process.

Get familiar with your company’s IT policies for external vendors

Some companies require IT vendors to have backup, redundancy and service SLAs. Make sure you’re familiar with what your company requires so you can be clear about this in your tender.

Start writing!

  • Document your setup and key information like:
    • The software you use (and go into detail if your setup isn’t straightforward, for example if you have multiple systems)
    • Whether you want to send and/or receive eInvoices
    • How many eInvoices you expect to send and/or receive
  • Break it down into sections. Example:
    • Company information
    • Technical requirements
    • Business process requirements
    • Procurement requirements
    • Contract
    • Pricing
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Top 5 EDI questions answered

There are some questions that seem to come up in most calls. Have a look below to find out the answers to the most frequent EDI questions we receive.

1. What types of EDI solutions are available for me?

There are two main types of EDI that are available:

Integrated EDI (EDI Gateway)

An integrated solution allows you to exchange EDI messages directly from your software. When an order is sent to you, it’ll go to your VAN (value added network) then straight into your software. There’s no need to re-key it or anything. Then when you create the order confirmation, despatch advice or invoice, it will go directly from your software to your VAN and onto your customer. This option has the least impact on your current process and requires minimal manual processing.

Web portal/EDI Webforms

The simplest solution for EDI compliance is a webform solution. This allows you to logon to a web portal to view purchase orders and respond by sending back the required information such as purchase order responses, advance shipping notices and invoices. The information input into the web portal is sent directly to your customers’ software.

2. How much does EDI cost?

The cost will depend on the product you go with:

EDI Gateway

The price to setup an EDI Gateway is determined on a few factors, including how many customers you trade with, your customers’ testing requirements, the complexity of your setup and more. After implementation, our pricing is based on your data consumption (file size) so you only pay for what you use.

EDI Webforms

There’s no setup fee to use our EDI Webforms (which we sometimes call FormXchange). You can get started from just $99 a month, which allows you to exchange as many messages as you like with one of your customers. Plus you can add an additional trading partner for just $49 a month.

3. How long does it take to implement EDI?

The implementation time varies with every solution.

EDI Gateway

The implementation time varies depending on your requirements, complexities, the amount of testing you require, the amount of testing your trading partners require, your availability and more. It can take anywhere from a day or two, through to a month or more to get started.

EDI Webforms

For EDI Webforms, you simply register on the platform and you’re good to go. Some retailers require you to go through a testing and accreditation process, but our team are here to help you through that.

4. What does my customer mean by ‘accreditation testing’?

Accreditation requires you to test your EDI messages before they’re sent to your retailers’ production systems. This just makes it more likely that you won’t have issues when you’re sending and receiving EDI messages. The testing checks your files and ensures fields are correctly formatted.

5. Do l have to make changes to my ERP system to get the EDI message?

No, you shouldn’t need to – as long as your software can export and import files, your EDI provider will do a lot of the work connecting to your ERP system and mapping, or translating, the files to EDI messages. However, if your ERP software doesn’t handle certain EDI messages, like advanced shipping notices, you might need to use another bit of software to do that. We provide our EDI portal, Colladium, to our customers to help them send and receive EDI messages that might not be compatible with their ERP system.Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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How leading organisations are managing the transition to eInvoicing

The Government mandate for commonwealth agencies to be eInvoicing enabled was introduced a year ago now. Since then, as an Access Point provider, we’ve seen agencies scramble to get on board and businesses are starting to follow suit. For many, it’s a completely new concept. Their people have needed to get up to speed, their invoicing software hasn’t always been ready, and they’ve had to engage their customers and suppliers to get onboarded. As an Access Point provider, we’ve been privy to how leading organisations have managed the transition to eInvoicing. Here’s how.

Educating themselves about eInvoicing

Getting your head around eInvoicing – what it is and what it means for your business – is one of the most important steps. It’s a new concept for a lot of people, but there are some fantastic resources out there. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), as the Peppol authorities, have some great information aimed at businesses and Government explaining eInvoicing and its benefits: Plus, companies who provide eInvoicing services, like us, generally have information available to help you through the process. Here are a couple of our resources: We’ve found that the organisations who educate themselves well on the concept of eInvoicing and what it means to their business, are better-equipped to implement eInvoicing as seamlessly as possible.

Getting internal teams on board

You might be the one in charge of implementing eInvoicing, but there’s no doubt that it involves a number of teams from IT to accounts payable and accounts receivable and beyond. It’s important you get all the relevant teams involved to make sure their needs are met, so they know how it will impact them and so they can answer any questions they get from others internally or even customers and suppliers. Here are a couple of resources that might help:

Integrating eInvoicing into their invoicing software

The first adopters of eInvoicing here in Australia has been Government agencies. With the mandate in place and a fast-approaching deadline, we’ve seen a number of approaches to get themselves up and running.

Taking a staged approach to implementing eInvoicing

Many of the successful organisations have taken a staged approach to eInvoicing. Some examples we’ve seen are: governments implementing eInvoicing with one agency first then rolling it out to others, starting with a pilot group of suppliers first then rolling out to others, and we’ve even seen some have their MessageXchange Gateway transform eInvoices to suit their software’s current abilities until their software is upgraded.

Using an eInvoicing portal

Another approach when eInvoicing is time-critical is to start with a web portal separate to your eInvoicing software. This is often a good interim step for when you’re only dealing with a small number of eInvoices. Our partner, Colladium, allows organisations to get setup in just minutes and supports both the sending and receiving of eInvoices. Check it out today.

Onboarding their suppliers and customers

Even the most advanced organisations have struggled when it comes to onboarding customers and suppliers. The main reason is that eInvoicing was still in its infancy. We’ve come a long way since then though. Now there are a number of software packages that have eInvoicing built into them. Xero and MYOB, who cover a majority of Australian and New Zealand SMEs, allow their customers to send eInvoices free or at a low cost. The most successful organisations who’ve onboarded their suppliers have been very clear with how the supplier can get eInvoicing ready. They hold webinars, send instructions and make it as easy as possible for suppliers. Many also offer incentives, like five-day payment terms, which is a sweetener for suppliers to get on board. We’re lucky to have been chosen as the eInvoicing Access Point for a large number of organisations and we’ve been privy to how they’ve gone about implementing eInvoicing. If you’re looking to get ready for eInvoicing, have a chat to our team today using the form below.

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Retailers: Use your EDI gateway for more

EDI is often implemented to exchange purchases orders (POs), advanced shipping notices (ASNs) and invoices then forgotten about. But there are so many other ways to benefit from it. Here are some really simple ways so get the most from your EDI investment.

Capture non-fulfillment of orders earlier

Sending an order to a supplier and not receiving the goods in time can really impact a business’ reputation and lead to loss of customers. If only there was a way to receive an EDI message of what a supplier can fulfill in an order and even when it’ll be fulfilled. There is – it’s a purchase order response (POR). The great thing is that you can easily add PORs to the EDI messages you receive through your existing EDI gateway.

Get more visibility of your order

Want to know what goods are being delivered and when? This is exactly what advanced shipping notices (ASNs) do. If you add serial shipping container code (SSCC) labels to your ASNs, you can even have suppliers tell you what’s in individual packing units. All this can improve visibility, reduce warehouse costs, reduce manual data entry and improve customer service.

More data = better decisions

EDI captures a lot of data that can be used for more informed decision making. For example, you can work out your top suppliers by getting access to supplier volumes and values. Knowing your top suppliers can help work out your key relationships. EDI can also get your access to supplier performance by showing how long each supplier takes to deliver goods. Use this to identify relationships that need attention. Another use is to track failed orders per supplier. Using this data can help put realistic KPIs and expectations on your suppliers.

Implement a web portal

Getting all your suppliers sending and receiving your EDI messages is critical. Some of your suppliers might not be too keen to set themselves up for EDI. The good thing is you can set up these suppliers using an inexpensive (even free with Colladium!) and simple to use web portal. The web portal connects directly into your EDI gateway and allows your suppliers to send and receive EDI messages using a web browser. This makes it easy to onboard your smaller suppliers to EDI and allows you to automate more of your procurement processes.Want to learn more about implementing any of the topics in our blog? Request a call from one of our EDI team below.

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