A major challenge most small companies come across when they finally get through the door of a buyer at a major retailer is that they don’t have the IT systems in place to comply with the retailers data integration requirements.  All retailers use EDI systems to communicate directly with their suppliers, so the old school paper based systems for ordering and invoicing are eliminated and the turn around of orders is much faster.  So as a small supplier can web EDI software provide the solution you need to comply with these suppliers?

What is Web EDI Software?

First of all its worth understanding that there are two main types of EDI software, first of all internet-based EDI, and second is Web EDI.  Yes the two names make them sound like they are the same thing but actually there is a big difference between them.  Internet based EDI requires that you have your own hardware, servers, and EDI software installed on those servers.  Your system then uses standard internet protocols such as HTTPS or FTP to send data packets across the internet to your retail partner.  You are already adding up the expense in your head, I can see that, but don’t worry there is another option which has a lot cheaper start up cost!

Wed EDI software is very different in that you continuing using the same hardware you have now, and you adopt a web-based EDI software solution.  The software is hosted on the software provider’s servers and you log in via a browser and transmit data through their servers to your retail partner.  Theirs is no upfront software cost, but it is paid monthly as a subscription base don how many users you have and how much data you’re sending.

Will Your Web EDI Software Comply?

The challenge with working with different retailer customers is that they will all have slightly different EDI solutions and compliance requests.  Also these may change over time as they adopt new software or newer versions of their software.  With an internet EDI system you have to keep upgrading your software to ensure that it is compliant with and will integrate with the EDI systems that your customers are using.  Whereas with a Web EDI software system your software supplier has to keep updating the software to ensure it connects with all other major EDI systems and is updated to comply with most requirements.

When selecting your Web EDI software supplier be sure to check that they support all of the EDI partner systems that your retail customers use so that you won’t have any problem with complying with their requirements.

Some of the requirements you may need to check your Web EDI software provider includes are: ship to distribution center, drop shipping, cross dock, ship to store, vendor managed inventory, Inventory volume visibility, and scanned-based trading.

A good Web EDI software system should set you up to stay ahead of the curve on eCommerce and Retailer compliance so you can quickly grow your business.