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Too Many Cooks in the EDI Kitchen

Topics: EDI, EDI considerations, EDI Implementation, EDI provider, EDI Technology
Photo appears courtesy of Les Roches Global Hospitality Education.

We have spent many years implementing and supporting EDI solutions from Liaison Technologies with both private and public companies, including the military.

There is often a “the more the merrier” philosophy when it comes to getting people involved in conference calls concerning EDI implementation.  It is not unusual for us to join a conference call regarding an EDI project, such as adding a new EDI trading partner, that includes up to 20 people.  Many of these folks have no idea why they were asked to participate, or even know what “EDI” stands for.

We’ve all been there, on conference calls with too many people – trying to explain what you do and why.  Usually, it goes a little something like this:

  • Opinions are expressed but we do not recognize the voice expressing them.
  • Irrelevant questions are asked because the speaker is out of touch with the purpose of the call.
  • Meeting notes and process updates are then emailed to all participants (“reply all”) throughout the length of the process, including the myriad “out of office” messages that everyone receives and deletes.
  • In the end, very few of those on the original call will remember what the purpose of the project was.

This often complicates and slows down the process, not to mention overloading email inboxes.  So, depending on the nature of the EDI process, think carefully about who should be involved in the meetings and conference calls.

EDI implementations consist of both business and technical considerations.  In advance of the conference call, the EDI project manager should meet with the various department heads (A/P, A/R, Sales, Customer Service, etc.) and determine any business issues that might affect the EDI implementation.  For example, in addition to the usual EDI transactions, purchase orders (EDI 850), invoices (EDI 810), etc., does the new EDI trading partner require any special or unique information?  Does Sales need to be notified when a PO comes in?  Once these business issues are determined, there should be no need for these individuals to be continually involved in the implementation conference calls.

At this point, conference calls need only involve the project manager and technical people who will be handling the technical side of the EDI implementation.  This might at times also involve technical people representing the trading partner, ERP vendor, etc.  Reducing the “number of cooks” will greatly simplify the process and free up those business folks to do what they best – sell, market, manage, etc.

Need more information on how an ideal EDI implementation should go?  You can always look for guidance from the EDI consultants at GraceBlood.  We love to help.

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