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Mandating EDI Compliance

Topics: Benefits of EDI

EDI compliance Electronic Data Interchange. Computer keyboard and office supplies on a white desk.Unfortunately, there are a handful of EDI providers today that subscribe to the belief that you MUST use their service, or by golly you’re not going to do EDI.  And on top of mandating EDI compliance, they then also charge you outrageous fees for that lack of choice. Today’s world demands choice.  For example, once upon a time if you wanted a pair of jeans, you’d go to the store and purchase BLUE jeans in the only STYLE offered. Now you have an almost unlimited selection of colors and styles to choose from, because that is the expectation. 

But all of these EDI providers have a business model whereby they partner with large retailers to support their EDI processes, then they ram that service down the throats of suppliers – if you want to do business with, you must use EDI and you must use OUR EDI.  Where is the choice?

Mandating EDI compliance is nothing new, and in fact, it’s a bit like your mother telling you to take your vitamins – you don’t want to do it, but the benefits are many.  On the other hand, mandating that you MUST USE A SPECIFIC EDI PROVIDER as YOUR provider verges on monopolistic business practices. Supplier enablement, which should be a good thing, now leaves negative connotations in its wake.

What You Need for EDI Compliance


To be EDI compliant, you merely need to:

  • Pickup/drop-off data at the required location and via the appropriate data transport
  • Adhere to the data formats and structure of your trading partners
  • Ensure that each data element with the transaction conforms to the trading partner’s requirements
  • Meet the SLAs defined by each trading partner. 

 In case you think I missed something, I purposely did not say that you MUST use the same EDI provider as your trading partner because well, that’s false.

Think about it: You’re a supplier to ten major retailers within your industry.  Each of them uses a different EDI provider, and each of those providers demand that you use their EDI service.  The result: you’ve now paid ten different EDI providers to set up EDI, and you now pay ten different EDI providers on a recurring basis.  This additional overhead has probably eaten into your already slim margins, and now you’re assessing whether doing business with each of these retailers makes fiscal sense, and perhaps you’d be better served by finding other retailers who embrace choice and would love to carry your products.

I don’t know whether these EDI providers created this business model or whether certain large, well-known retailers thought it would be a good idea to micro-manage their suppliers, but regardless, these monopolistic scenarios are occurring every day, and the large retailers keep turning a blind eye, which in my book makes them complicit.

Demand choice, push back on mandates that limit your technology partner choices and cost you more money, and let your voice be heard by both the larger retailers AND the predatory EDI providers. 

Do you still have questions about the wide world of EDI? Find the answers in our free eBook: EDI Implementation Made Simple

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