Software pulled EDI out of the fax era. Now automation is optimizing it, helping businesses drive more productivity and revenue while mitigating risks and costs.
But here’s the thing: Just as EDI software felt like a daunting departure from faxing, the mere mention of the word “automation” sometimes makes people sweat. How do I even get started? What’s the time investment? How will this impact my retailer relationships?
So let’s break EDI automation down and walk through some manageable best practices, pro tips and what you can expect to get out of it.
Automate the Small Stuff
Within your business’ existing EDI workflows, there are undoubtedly steps and tasks that are tedious and time-consuming but absolutely necessary. 810/880 invoice creation. 810/880 invoice transmission. 855 purchase order acknowledgements. 940 warehouse orders. The list goes on.
On eZCom’s EDI platform, Lingo, you can automate all of those documents and tasks—and more—by completing a few system and trading partner settings. And our on-staff support team is always ready to help, should you need.
You can also pre-set values for specific, recurring or predictable orders.
For example, you can pre-establish item weights within Lingo’s Settings so that they auto-populate when an order comes in. This is particularly useful for items that are shipped on a consistent basis.
Pro Tip: One of the most common automations we see in Lingo involves the invoice 810 document. Once a retailer sends a purchase order, the seller sends the ASN, informing the retailer what was shipped. Lingo can then automate the invoice based on the ASN. If you’re doing a high volume of orders, that one automation alone will save you massive amounts of time and ensure that there’s no chance of human error.
Automate Drop Shipping
Drop ship orders through retailers are challenging for suppliers. Instead of shipping a bulk quantity of items to a single location, drop shipping requires suppliers to send a single item, directly to the consumer. It’s a time consuming process that exposes companies to error-related risks.
Some simple automation, however, makes drop shipping a breeze.
By pre-defining order information, such as shipping weights, Lingo can automatically send the necessary information to the shipping provider as soon as the order comes in via EDI 850 and accept labels and tracking information in return.
If necessary, Lingo can automatically generate retailer-branded packing slips and labels too, for transmission to the warehouse/3PL for the pick, pack, and ship.
Connecting EDI to Your Shipping Providers and Your Accounting System
We probably get a little too excited about this integration, but to be honest, it’s pretty awesome.
Here’s how it works.
A retailer places an order via EDI 850 and is pushed to Lingo.
Because order information has already been defined, Lingo can automatically send the necessary information to the shipping provider, and labels and tracking information are returned. (It’s important to point out that with this automation, you do not need to log into another portal.)
At the same time, order information automatically flows into your accounting software. Your accounting software then generates an invoice number and sends it back into Lingo.
Finally, Lingo automatically sends the ASN (EDI 856) to the retailer. That ASN automatically generates an invoice.
Automating eCommerce Orders
A customer buys something from you online, via an online marketplace like Amazon or your own eCommerce site. What would be a high-touch, labor-intensive process is totally seamless, thanks to automation.
After the customer checks out, the purchase flows into Lingo just like a traditional EDI transaction from a retail trading partner or if you use an ERP, Lingo will push it through and receive receipt confirmation.
Lingo then sends the warehouse shipping order (EDI 940) to your distribution center or 3PL, along with all the labels necessary to complete the pick-and-pack process. Once that’s done, the warehouse shipping advice (EDI 945) goes back to Lingo—and into your ERP—to provide confirmation.
Pro Tip: If your sales channel requires it, Lingo can automatically submit order confirmation, once the order is picked up.
Finally, after the shipment is made, Lingo automatically sends shipping information to the sales channel, which relays it to the customer via email.
Automation for the win.
At the End of the Day, EDI Automation Strengthens Your Retailer Relationships
EDI automation accelerates processes. It reduces risk and increases efficiency. Its primary benefits to sellers are clear. But EDI automation has a halo effect, making life easier for retail partners. As you build automations into your EDI workflows, keep that in mind.