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EDI: a tradition of innovation

Electronic Data Interchange, also known as EDI, has been synonymous with optimized processes along the supply chain for almost three decades. The technology has consistently evolved during this time. In today’s business world, EDI is a key technology for innovation-driven companies that believe in efficiently optimizing their processes with a long-term perspective, whether it’s company-wide, between industries or across borders. 

EDITEL Video - EDI-supported supply chain
EDITEL Video - EDI-supported supply chain

More information about EDI

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the exchange of electronic business documents between business partners, which makes it part of e-commerce or e-business activities. The goal of EDI is to reach the highest possible level of process automation via integrated data exchange while avoiding manual and paper-based business transactions. Among others, EDI is used to exchange order information between retail companies and manufacturers. In addition, EDI is also used for invoicing processes, which allows for the electronic transfer of invoices in real time, reviewed immediately and subsequently processed.

Many other business processes can be handled via EDI, including master data management, sending electronic delivery orders to logistics service providers, providing article information sheets or processing payment requests.

Standardized technology is key to allow companies of any size and industry in any country to exchange business data no matter which communication channels, data formats and media they use. This includes, among others, GS1 EANCOM® and/or UN/EDIFACT for data formats as well as identification standards such as GLN, GTIN, SSCC,….

Basic Supply-Chain Process
Basic Supply-Chain Process

Companies will benefit from the following advantages of EDI:

Saves money:

  • No paper for printing and mailing required
  • Makes manual work/data entry obsolete
  • Automated processes
  • Future-proof investment thanks to the use of standardized technology

Increases efficiency:

  • Information is transmitted in real time, which accelerates processing
  • Increased accuracy and no mistakes as could occur with manual data entry
  • All transactions can be traced or supervised
  • No integration gaps

Generally improves corporate processes:

  • Improves collaboration between all business partners in different companies
  • Transparent processes thanks to continuous flow of information
  • High information quality for improved production planning, inventory optimization, swift reaction times, etc.

As international studies have shown, EDI processes, from order processing to invoicing, can translate into savings of up to € 51 per business transaction.

If you have decided to introduce EDI at your company, we recommend following these guidelines for best results.

1. Analyze your corporate processes
During the initial consultation, be sure to address the following questions:

  • Which corporate processes would you like to support with the use of EDI? (e.g. order processes, delivery processes, invoicing processes, etc.)
  • Approximately how many business documents are you planning to exchange with your business partners?
  • Do you have existing ERP systems with available data interfaces?

We recommend that all business partners who plan to exchange business documents among each other sign a so-called “EDI framework agreement” that specifies technical and organizational conditions.

2. Find the right EDI solution for your needs
Several options of using EDI are available, depending on the size of your company, technical infrastructure and amount of documents to be exchanged.

Small- and medium-sized companies with low document volumes typically use an online EDI portal to swiftly introduce EDI while keeping expenses low. EDI solutions that allow for data integration into the existing in-house ERP system are a great choice for large companies or those with a high document volume. For additional information, please visit the EDI Communication and EDI Integration sections on this web site.

The EDITEL team will be happy to help you find the best EDI solution for your company during a no-commitment consultation.

3. Sign up as a user of the eXite® Business Integration Network
More than 15,000 companies around the world use the EDI platform eXite®, which means that virtually all businesses that use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) are connected to the platform.

Go to eXite® registration

4. Synchronize your article data with your business partners
We recommend synchronizing your article data (article numbers/GTINs, partner identification numbers/GLNs) with your business partner in the early stages of your EDI project. It is paramount that both partners use the same data set (article numbers, article descriptions, etc.)

5. Review your messages and start the test phase
Before you start exchanging electronic data with your business partners, we recommend you send your first messages via e-mail to GS1 Austria to have your EDI messages checked for syntactic accuracy. As soon as these messages have been cleared, arrange a test phase with your business partner, during which you will test the communication processes and message processing.

6. Start exchanging data
Once the test phase has been successfully completed, you will be all set for starting live electronic communication processes with your business partners.

Paper order compared to EDIFACT / EANCOM® order
Paper order compared to EDIFACT / EANCOM® order

EDI is widely used for procurement of goods, which includes everything related to ordering processes, delivery processes and invoicing relying on the following EDIFACT / EANCOM® messages:

  • Orders (ORDERS)
  • Despatch advices (DESADV)
  • Receiving advice messages (RECADV)
  • Invoices (INVOIC)

You have the option of adding the following to the basic processes (sales management, inventory management, bank orders, etc.), which will allow you to take the automation level at your company to the next level:

  • Delivery Forecast Message (DELFOR)
  • Instruction to despatch (INSDES)
  • Instruction to transport (IFTMIN)
  • Order response (ORDRSP)
  • Order change (ORDCHG)
  • Inventory report (INVRPT)
  • Sales Report (SLSRPT)
  • Return Announcement  (RETANN)
  • Article master data / price catalogue (PRICAT)
  • Remittance Advice (REMADV)
  • Commercial Dispute Message (COMDIS)
  • Multiple Payment Message (PAYMUL)
  • Multiple Credit Message (CREMUL)
  • Notification Messages
    • Application Error and Acknowledgement (APERAK)
    • Control message (CONTRL)

... and many more