What is EDI?
Softzoll answers your most pressing questions related to EDI
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the automated interchange of business data between the user systems of different partners. The merchandise management systems of two business partners interchange data for standard processes without or only with a little manual effort, and use an agreed technical transmission path.
Generally, invoices, delivery notes, and other frequently recurring processes are what is transmitted, but individually agreed information can also be interchanged in a standardized way.
In web EDI, one of the two parties must manually transfer the data in one of the partner’s automated forms, i.e., generally, by entering business process data in an online form. This data is then processed electronically and in an automated way.
You need computer-readable business data and a business partner who would like to interchange EDI data with you. Softzoll deals with the rest for you.
Imagine the following: your partner’s computer speaks English, while your system runs in German. However, you want to interchange automated data that can always be understood and processed at both ends.
This is where Softzoll comes in: as experts in interfaces, we convert the data into the exact language that your opposite party speaks, and we bring your partner’s external data into your data world.
And not only that: if your system is ever not able to issue the data content as your partner requires, then talk to us about it: we can not only change formats, but also contribute AI and enrich your data, so that you are understood at the other end and can save on expensive adjustments to your merchandise management system.
A further benefit for you is that Softzoll has mastered all current communication protocols: you don’t need to worry about whether your partner requires you to transmit your data by e-mail, FTP, AS2, OFTP2, or another path. Thanks to our own tools, we can offer all current types of communication and, of course, take care of the connection to your partners.
The advantages of EDI for your company are multiple: not only that interchange with your business partners becomes more efficient and secure, that you need no other resources to enter files manually for the interchange, and that you reduce document faults to zero, you can also control and plan your logistics processes better by using EDI, meet the needs of your customers and suppliers more efficiently, and organize your processes more transparently.
Everything that you would like to interchange with your customers/suppliers or shipping company in a standardized way in regular or irregular intervals can be transmitted via EDI. Generally, this includes orders, order confirmations, delivery notes, invoices, and more. But individualized data such as CAD drawings and customized catalog data can also be transmitted.
Together with your business partner, you define in advance which processes (orders, delivery notes, etc.)that you want to automate.
Softzoll will be happy to explain which standard formats can be used here. And you can define which data content is used in these formats individually with your partner, or leave it up to Softzoll’s experience: we know the requirements of most of the big trading firms and industry, both nationally and internationally.
EDI is based on technology, and just as every telephone connection and every computer malfunctions, isolated transmission malfunctions with various causes can occur in the complex processing chain.
When you expect data from a partner that does not arrive or your partner has notified you that your data has not arrived, you can first of all use your Internet-based Softzoll Live Monitor to track the processing and the delivery to the transmission. If questions that can be answered by Softzoll are still open after that, contact our service desk by e-mail and ask us. Please give us as much detailed information as possible for this:
- Is it about orders, delivery notes, etc.?
- Who is the sender and who is the recipient?
When was the data sent?
- How many documents does it concern?
- Are you still in the transmission test phase, or is it about active data?
This will allow Softzoll Support to help you efficiently and precisely.
You have an in-house system at your disposal with our converter software or a dedicated system over which you are receiving error messages concerning failed messages and technical disruptions, and don’t know how to begin?
Notify our service desk and get trained to understand the error messages and to be able to rectify errors yourself in many instances!
The Live Monitor shows you the processing status of each individual document that has been processed via EDI by your company or for your company. The Live Monitor is your most important instrument for monitoring your EDI. You can track which messages you receive and send, at what time, to which partner, and much more.
To do this, you get a link and personalized access details from Softzoll, and if your company operates several clients, you will receive several access details with different entitlement levels too.
Do you still have no access, or have you mislaid the password for it?
Ask the service deck if you have any questions on processing and sending actual documents, because by using the Live Monitor you can save costs and waiting times.
We are EDI pros, and can answer many detailed questions for you, and of course, we also talk with your business partners early on, but the more information you give us at the start of a new project, the faster and more cost-effectively we can start adjusting your processes.
When you are a new customer, we have a detailed discussion of the contract with you, in which we want to find out the following:
- By what path can your data reach our data processing center?
- Which merchandise management system does your company use?
With which business partners do you want to interchange data?
- Are these your customers or your suppliers, or another form of partnership?
- Have you already settled all contractual matters with the partner to be able to start EDI?
- Which business processes will you conduct via EDI (order, delivery note, etc.)?
Do you already have an EDI solution that you want to improve with us, or is EDI new territory for you? Have you already agreed on EDI interchange message standards (EDIFACT, VDA, etc.) with your partner?
- Is there a schedule for the project?
- Are other service partners, e.g., your person in charge of the merchandise management system or other stakeholders involved in the project?
We look specifically at your individual needs and will initially ask you much more—and should any questions come up for you in this area, we are there for you!
A new business partner wants to communicate with me via EDI. What information does Softzoll need from me to create an offer?
Do you already know us and are you a customer of ours who interchanges data with one or more business partners?
Great! Because then we already have important information available for interchanges with your partners. However, we still generally have to know more about you (but you already know most of the questions):
What’s your interchange partner’s name?
Is this a supplier or a customer, or another form of partnership?
Which processes do you want to interchange (orders, delivery notes, etc.)?
- Have you already discussed a transmission path with the partner (AS2, X.400, SFTP, etc.)?
- Have you already agreed on a message standard (EDIFACT, VDA, etc.)?
When should the initial active data be interchanged?
Softzoll has been active in the market for more than 10 years. We have several hundred customers and at any given time are constantly implementing many projects simultaneously. There will always be not only one point of contact for you, but in most cases, several—particularly when it concerns complex requests or new equipment.
By using a ticket system, we guarantee that a request—whether in a support case or for new equipment—is never forgotten, even when processing it passes through several different departments or when we are waiting for answers from your partners or your software publisher.
Please respond cohesively to e-mails with a support ticket number in the subject heading, and when making telephone requests, provide us with the ticket number so that your requests can be processed quickly and efficiently.
Our customers present us with many challenges: we receive questions with completely different priorities, general questions about EDI, or detailed questions on segment hierarchies in EDIFACT messages.
We want to react to every one of them quickly, but you’ll agree that some are certainly more important: while a malfunction in active orders, for example, does not allow for any waiting time while processing it, the assessment of a test file can normally wait a bit.
To assess this, we have put professionals at the point where information comes in, be it by telephone or e-mail, who not only pass your information on to the appropriate specialist department, but who use their specialist knowledge and experience to assess the priority of your request.
There is a dedicated e-mail address and a telephone number for this that guarantee that your new requests never go unnoticed even during typical holiday periods and during flu season.