When faced with setting up electronic data interchange, or EDI – most often at the request of a future trading partner – suppliers have an immediate decision to make: handle it in-house or outsource it to a full-service provider.
Can you handle EDI in-house? Sure. Whether you should, though, is a different story. Many brands that decide to manage their EDI internally end up feeling overwhelmed by its details and nuances.
Let’s look at the advantages of handling EDI in-house.
Advantages of Handling EDI In-House
The reality is this: there’s only really one advantage of handling EDI in-house and that’s total control. (Consequently, many suppliers consider this a drawback. Total control means you are singularly in control!)
Disadvantages of Handling EDI In-House
As a full-service EDI provider, we acknowledge our bias towards in-house EDI. (There, we said it.) But for most suppliers, the costs and required level of expertise are just too high. Infrastructure, including servers to host data and translators to parse it, will run you anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000. Then you need to resource it by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. (Don’t forget to establish oversight. You’ll be in a pinch if your “all things EDI” person leaves.)
But perhaps the biggest challenge of handling EDI in-house? Duplicative, manual data entry. If your EDI setup doesn’t integrate seamlessly with your warehouse management system (WMS) or your ERP, you're syncing that data yourself. And humans are notoriously bad at that, making errors that upset trading partners and result in chargebacks.
As a leader of a brand, the urge to control every aspect of the business is real – but EDI is one thing that you really should let go.
As previously disclosed, this is what we do. Full-service EDI, powered by our proprietary, easy-to-use platform, Lingo, and supported by our U.S.-based onboarding, development, integration and customer success teams.
Let’s take an honest look at the advantages and disadvantages of full-service EDI.
Advantages of Full-Service EDI
Decades of knowledge and experience building and maintaining EDI for all sorts of suppliers. Established and always-up-to-date mapping with hundreds of trading partners – from Amazon to Zulily. Custom integration development and support so that data syncs across your accounting system, your ERP, your WMS and more. Data accuracy to reduce chargeback and keep trading partners happy. System maintenance. Testing. Real humans that pick up the phone to help you when you need it. Software updates, licenses, WAN/AS2 fees.
You get the idea.
Disadvantages of Full-Service EDI
Candidly, there aren’t many reasons why a supplier wouldn’t go with full-service EDI. You could point to the fact that you still should have someone in-house responsible for EDI. Or you could point to the costs. But both of those things still exist if you handle EDI in-house.
Making a Decision
If you’re a supplier that comes from the EDI world and feel comfortable handling it yourself, we support you. If you’re a business owner looking to grow your brand and know to delegate what you don’t know, we’re here for you.
Give us a call at 201-731-1800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.