ASN. GS1-128 or UCC-128. POA.

Wow, that doesn’t exactly sound like a fascinating conversation starter. Call it acronym overload.

Truth is, so much of the discussion about EDI focuses on specific documents, data entry, or system integration, it’s easy to forget that even the most powerful software works best when it’s backed by great people. After all, as much as we all strive to automate as many tasks as possible, it often falls to an actual human being when it comes time to solve a problem or create clarity out of confusion.

As much as you need an EDI provider with robust software and seamless integration with your own systems, a solid customer support team should never be overlooked. Is there a customer support line you can count on? Do they check in with you to make sure everything is running smoothly? Can they handle any hiccups quickly and efficiently?

Sure, validation checks and automation will prevent all kinds of EDI errors. But there are times when a hiccup with a Trading Partner just happens, despite the ability of technology to power commerce and automate tasks. Or you need to set up a new Trading Partner and it’s, well, a bit more complicated than it was with your other accounts.  When that happens, there is simply no substitute for people who are not only dedicated to solving your problems, but know the business of EDI inside and out.

Power to the people.

Chances are, you’ve been in business long enough to know there are days when it seems like nothing goes right. That’s when you need EDI experts who are available, responsive, effective — and able to solve problems.

Support should be available at times that work for you and your business. If  you call during off-hours, do you get a call back from the support desk? When you talk to the customer support representative, is it clear they know their way around documents, whether it’s an ASN, a Purchase Order Change, or a 997? Have they handled a complex drop shipping requirements with an especially difficult Trading Partner before? Is there a team in place to help you integrate the EDI software with your existing systems?

Fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of EDI — API, ERP, WMS, validation, automation, drop shipping, batch processing, 3PL — and forget the value of being able to call a number and talk to a person who can help you find solutions. So when you’re choosing an EDI provider, make sure you see the big picture.

Lingo, our powerful order management software, ensures that your EDI transactions and order management are coordinated, efficient and compliant. Chargebacks are reduced, and thanks to our automation, you’ll see a sharp decrease in costly errors. Just as importantly, our people know all the ins and outs of Lingo, and combine that with their extensive knowledge of EDI. No matter who your Trading Partners may be, it’s highly probable that our Customer Support representatives have worked with them in the past.

The EDI you need comes with great people.

The bottom line is that you want to combine a tailored EDI solution with people who can support you every step of the way. Managing EDI, after all,  is about simplifying your operation — not complicating it. When it’s done well, your EDI frees up valuable time and resources so you can focus on growing your business instead of merely sustaining it. You need your EDI software to work hard for you and your company, and having thoughtful, helpful people in customer support is an essential component to make that happen.