The 3 Steps to EDI

Electronic Data Interchange is an important part of business today. With so many people partnering with other companies across the planet, EDI is crucial to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.  In every Meade Willis edi system there are three steps to sending documents:  Prepare, Translate, and Transmit.

STEP 1: PREPARING THE DOCUMENT YOU ARE SENDING

The first step in an EDI system involves preparing the document. For example, this might entail printing a purchase order, which includes creating an electronic file that holds the necessary and relevant information for building an EDI document.  The sources of the related data and the methods available for the generation of these electronic documents can include:

  • Human data (via computer screens, etc)
  • Exporting PC-based data from a database or a spreadsheet
  • Reformatting an electronic report into data files
  • Enhancing an existing application so that it will automatically create new output files ready for translation
  • The purchase of application software with built-in EDI file interfaces

STEP 2:  TRANSLATING THE DOCUMENT INTO AN EDI FORMAT

One important aspect of EDI is that you can assign documents into something called a “standard format.” There are many of these “standard formats” but the gist is that these are methods of communications within computer networks. When you want to send a document through an EDI, you must first translate that document into a standard format so it will be more easily read and received.  

This process involves specialized mapping expertise. This ensures you are able to appropriately define how your internal data will be “standardized” into the EDI data. You can use translation software for this.  You can also hire an EDI provider to take care of it for you.

STEP 3:  TRANSMITTING THE EDI DOCUMENTS TO THE OTHER PARTY

Now that you have prepared the document and translated it into a standard format, it is ready for transmission.  In order to accomplish this step you must first decide how you plan to connect each of the recipients for the simultaneous transmission.  There are a couple ways to approach this:

  • Direct connection using AS2 or some other secure internet protocol
  • Connect via EDI Network Provider (aka “VAN” provider) through your preferred communications protocol and rely on your network provider to complete the connection
  • Some combination of both of the previous options depending, of course, on several variables and whatever you agree upon with your partners.