5 March 2020

How to Overcome the Challenges of EDI Implementation?


EDI digitally can transform cumbersome processes that are part of supply chain management. It standardizes business transactions by using pre-agreed digital formats. Though EDI ensures uniformity and efficiency throughout the supply chain process, it comes with its challenges. However, you can overcome these roadblocks with thorough planning and implementation.

Here are the best ways to overcome the primary challenges of EDI:

Scaling EDI

With a diverse set of data rules and invoice formats available in the market, it is difficult to determine the scale and scope of EDI software during implementation.

You can scale your EDI program in the following ways:

  • You can make sure that your EDI solution can accommodate numerous sets of document formats and business rules of trading partners. Most trading partners can support up to 100 unique business rules, which include data elements, document fields, and validations (business rule-driven) like shipping address or store numbers

  • A direct ERP integration with EDI transactions is a must if you manage three or more trading partners. If you have two or fewer trading partners, you can employ ‘swivel chair integration,’ which involves manual entry of data into ERP through a stand-alone EDI software

  • EDI outsourcing can also be a viable option if you do not have enough resources to manage an in-house EDI program. A third party can take care of management, testing, and communication with your trading partners

Bad Data

Inconsistent data is one of the leading problems of EDI implementation.

Many bad data issues originate at the order level. Typical data inconsistencies include incorrect prices, out-of-stock or discontinued items, and duplicate orders. These inconsistencies mostly occur while manually entering the orders into the system. The most efficient way to address this issue would be to set up an exception tool, which would notify your team and your trading partners about the bad data before it affects your ERP system.

Speed Issues

In this fast-paced world, it is quite strenuous to keep up your EDI software with the speed of changing technology.

The real-time document processing is the need of the hour. If your document flow is affected due to a processing error, you can switch on notifications and alerts to update you on discrepancies. To provide faster and uninterrupted service to your customers, you can setup mailbox imports or directly forward the documents from the EDI network on a real-time basis.


Complex supply chain processes can make transparency between the partners a challenging task.

Businesses are no more interested in bulk fulfillment. Instead, companies are actively adopting one-to-one models for data transfer between trading partners. Transparency is of high-priority in direct-to-consumer models to ensure seamless data flow between the partners. You can implement new EDI transaction sets to ensure better transparency in the system. Additional EDI transaction sets may include shipment status message, package status, inventory availability, motor carrier tender, and response and bill of lading.


It is difficult to do business with a trading partner who has not implemented EDI.

You can positively persuade your trading partners to adopt EDI. By doing so, you would not only make your job easy but would also add value to your trading partner’s business.  Your partners would be willing to do more business with you as you have their best interests in your mind.

The challenges in the implementation of EDI need not hamper the efficiency of the B2B integration process. With the help of your service provider and a few right tools, you can successfully manage and overcome these challenges.

Look beyond the Problems of EDI Implementation to Transform Your Supply Chain

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Jerry Caous,
Jerry Caous,
Sales Specialist Business Integration

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