As a supplier, it’s not uncommon to end up working with multiple EDI providers as your company grows. When new trading partners are added, it’s easy to default to using the EDI provider that is either recommended by a specific retailer or used for pre-production testing. But it’s not always the best choice—there are many benefits derived from working on a single software platform, and at least five reasons to use one EDI provider for all your accounts.
Many suppliers don’t even realize they have options when they expand their sales to more brick-and-mortar chains or online marketplaces, but there is no obligation to add another EDI provider because you are entering a new retailer relationship.
Let’s start by tackling this testing issue. Many retailers will use one EDI provider to complete testing before you can move to production—using the same company keeps their own process simpler. This doesn’t, however, mean that a supplier is required to use the same EDI provider that completed the testing once there is approval and a move to production has begun.
The bottom line on testing is simple: no company is obligated to work with the provider that completed it.
Here at eZCom, we complete testing for many suppliers when they begin working with a new customer. We are also a preferred provider for many major stores, and our users are often able to bypass testing altogether because we have established relationships with hundreds of retailers.
Quite honestly, we don’t want business just because we handled testing—we aim to earn and retain customers because of the work we do to make their EDI process efficient, easy, and error-free.
So, can a supplier use one software platform to trade with one retailer, while using others to complete EDI transactions with other stores or other online marketplaces?
The simple answer: yes. It’s certainly possible, and many companies do.
No company is wedded to a single EDI provider for all their business. Some may like the flexibility offered by having multiple providers, or will want to test out a number of different software platforms before settling on the one they find most beneficial.
There are, however, plenty of good reasons to use the same EDI provider—obviously one that is providing a level of service and expert advice that has proven valuable—across all your trading partner relationships.
Here are five reasons to use one EDI provider.
1) A single point of contact for EDI support.
Knowing you can count on a reliable staff of customer support experts is a vital part of your relationship with an EDI provider. Issues will undoubtedly surface, and having a team that is available to quickly resolve them—real, helpful humans just a phone call away—makes all the difference.
Any comprehensive, full-service EDI provider will have established relationships with hundreds of different retailers. Once you have gained trust in the people behind a software platform, being able to work with them across all your sales channels becomes a major advantage, and their knowledge of your overall business will be invaluable.
One EDI provider means one number to call when you have issues and one dedicated team to quickly resolve issues. It’s a benefit that compounds when it is extended across every trading partner relationship you maintain.
2) Faster EDI setups when you add trading partners.
When demand for your brand and your products is growing, more stores or online channels will want to offer it. Before long, your company has an expanded list of trading partners.
When you add a new retailer, there is a setup process to ensure that you are meeting their EDI compliance standards. If you’re working with one EDI provider, they will both understand your workflow and have extensive knowledge of the practices of your new customer.
What does that translate into? Less time spent in setup. A more efficient process once production begins. And a revenue stream that starts sooner rather than later.
3) Easier integration of EDI with the system that powers your business.
Whether it’s an ERP like NetSuite, accounting software like QuickBooks, WMS, or your Third-Party Logistics provider, integrating EDI with the system that powers your business will generate efficiency in your supply chain
Obviously, trying to integrate multiple EDI platforms adds layers of complexity. When you work with one provider and a team that understands your established workflow, integrations become seamless.
At eZCom, we have an experienced team of in-house developers. When we build an integration for an existing client, our group comes to the work with an extensive understanding of the needs of the supplier. And if it’s a new customer, we start with a Discovery Phase to gain a thorough understanding of the workflow.
Companies that rely on us for all their EDI needs can tackle the integration process with confidence. It’s an important benefit of using the same EDI provider across all trading partner relationships.
4) A reduced learning curve for your team.
When your staff is working with one software platform, they gain a level of comfort that is extremely valuable. Our Lingo software is intuitive, and built to automate many high-touch, time-consuming tasks. By eliminating manual entry and copy-and-paste actions, EDI documents can be exchanged in less time and without errors.
By using one platform, staff isn’t forced to learn a new system when a new trading partner is added. They will have an established comfort level with the software, and bringing on more retailers is much simpler.
5) More visibility into your EDI process.
Creating efficiency throughout your supply chain should be an ongoing process. There are always areas that can be improved.
By working with a single EDI provider, you can quickly gain insight into transactions with all your retail trading partners. Spot inefficiency, see the holes, and resolve problems before they become major issues.
With one provider, when a retailer updates their mapping, you’ll always know who is responsible for ensuring that your company is meeting new compliance standards. There are no questions about accountability.
Five reasons to use one EDI provider. And one reason not to.
The benefits of using one EDI provider are extensive.
But all those benefits will quickly evaporate if the people and the software are not delivering the level of service you expect. So while we know that using a single provider creates efficiency and makes EDI less time-consuming, you need to be confident in the capabilities of the one you choose. Don’t settle.
Interested in learning more about how our platform and our team can help you transform EDI from a tedious requirement into a true competitive advantage? Call us at 877-765-3564 or send an email to [email protected] for a no-pressure conversation.