Onboarding suppliers to EDI can be costly and time consuming. A typical onboarding process will involve these steps:
- Engaging suppliers
Letting them know you’ll be onboarding them to EDI.
- Getting them familiar with requirements (MIGs)
All requirements are normally shared via a message implementation guide (MIG)
- Schedule in testing
Set up a time and deadline for testing of messages to start
Send and receive EDI messages from your suppliers to ensure they are sending the correct data.
- 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.
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.
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