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EDI 101 \ How to Proceed?

Form a taskforce with broad company representation. EDI implementation is not simply an Information Technology Group exercise, but affects the entire company. Select people across departmental boundaries to reduce operation gaps and resistance.

Set your taskforce’s goal to determine when, not if, to implement EDI. By setting the goal of when to implement EDI, you are acknowledging that almost every company is using EDI.

If you have a large customer that is coercing you into electronic trading, you can certainly make a business case for doing it now. The threat of loss of your biggest customer can make the rest of the issues moot.

Educate taskforce members on EDI, and the internal operation of the business. Make sure everyone understands that the business is a system and EDI is an important tool.

Determine what form of transport, or third part services are appropriate and select software and service vendors accordingly.

Determine the overall commitment to EDI within the organization. EDI can be implemented as a stand-alone process, where a workstation simply receives electronic orders and prints them on paper. The rest of the process is business as usual.

EDI can also be implemented by integrating it within the overall business operation. The second approach can totally change the way you do business today. Based on your required volume, the integration may not be an option but a must do.

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