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What is EDI?

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. In retail, EDI is used to automate orders, invoices and dispatch notes. EDI replaces order processes, transactions and communication that were previously done on paper or per fax machine. Simply put, EDI makes sure that all company systems of trading partners speak the same language so they can easily and quickly communicate with each other with a limited number of errors.

EDI consists of two main components: translation and communication. During the translation, a company document is changed into a standardized EDI format, such as EDIFACT, S@les in construction, HRXML, TEA{{S, SimplerInvoicing, RosettaNet or the standard Onetrail XML. Each trading partner has its own collection of EDI standards and specifications. The translated information is then safely sent to the receiver.

There are several required communication standards and protocols in order to do EDI with large trading partners. Due to the complexity, security risk and highly technical character of EDI, many trading partners choose to outsource these activities to a specialised EDI provider.

How does EDI work?

When a buyer wants to place an order with a supplier, he creates a digital purchase order. EDI software then turns this purchase order into an EDI standard version and sends it to the supplier.

The supplier returns an order confirmation via EDI, stating the order was received. When the order is ready to be dispatched, a digital packing slip (a DESADV) can be sent to the buyer . As soon as the order has been delivered, the supplier sends the buyer an invoice via EDI.

It is likely that the supplier uses different technology than the buyer, yet his system can receive the information because the message was translated into a universal standard format. There are many different types of EDI transactions. Because EDI is a standard data format, there are specifications for every type of transaction. Specifications and EDI requirements can vary per trading partner and industry.

Why do trading partners need EDI?

By using a standard data format, EDI compatible companies can exchange electronic information without human interference. This way, EDI offers a technical basis for automation.

From an operational point of view, this is logical because it reduces human error and streamlines the order process. Trading partners are able to process orders more quickly, more affordably, and with less mistakes.

How does EDI work at Onetrail?

Onetrail builds a specific EDI connection for customers that can be used to digitally send messages directly from a company system to the Onetrail Trading Partner Network. It does not matter which message format is used: EDI, XML or flat file, each format is accepted. In addition, Onetrail has special solutions for PDF and Excel.

Onetrail translates the incoming messages into the Onetrail XML standard. The Onetrail XML standard is a universal format that can be transformed into and from all other standard formats. This way, messages can be exchanged with all trading partners that are connected to the Onetrail Trading Partner Network.