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    Typical EDI Setup Sequence

    Step Task
    1. Identify the trading partner
    A trading partner (ie. KMART) will probably contact you, and indicate you will be required to receive their orders (850's) via EDI, and may even request the corresponding invoice (810) be returned. You will then need an 'Implementation Guide' from them in order to begin.
    2. Select Communication Method (VAN) - Value Added Network
    Arrange with a communications provider, such as Sterling, AT&T or IBM, to get an electronic mailbox that will be used to receive and send information through. This is done to eliminate any direct computer to computer communications which can present difficulties and high costs. The mailbox usually is accessed as a local call or the same as using something like o2 mobile phones and can facilitate various modem speeds and 24 hour access times. Often, your trading partner will suggest their preference.
    3. Select Software to Facilitate;
    (1) Communication - the electronic communications (most translators include this ability)
    (2) Translator - the translation of the EDI document standards
    (3) Integration - the printing or integration of the EDI transaction into your accounting software.
    4. Criteria for Software Selection:
    Choosing the right solution, translator and integration software is extremely important. Separate translators with mapping capabilities provide for future expansion.
    Integration of EDI directly into your accounting software is necessary to realize any benefits of electronic commerce.
    Pre-programmed solutions are often ineffective for companies that will be adding more than two trading partners. They may be easier to implement at the start but in the long run, rigid code, pre-definitions, and no end user mapping (power) may result in frustration, delays and continuous fees.
    Using EDI-PAC with a proven translator provides significant advantages and unlimited growth potential, that can be managed effectively by a local consultant or the user themselves.
    5. Set up your Trading Partner:
    You will need to establish tables of information such as inventory items, ship-to addresses, tax codes etc., as well as basic profile information. These allow for cross referencing of information that is sent from the trading partner (ie. their item part numbers) and converted to your layout (ie. your part numbers). You can set this up in the translator or integration software, depending on the system requirements.
    6. Trading Partner Mapping:
    Each trading partner has to be programmed or mapped into the translation software. Even if it only prints the documents on the receiving side, separate set ups for each trading partner are required. This is due to a number of factors;
      a. Different T/Ps use different versions of the EDI standard.
      b. Each company may be using different EDI standards.
      c. Each company has a unique implementation of the particular transaction set. For example, not all fields in the transaction are being sent and they may also be in a different sequences.
    Common transaction sets include;
    810 - Invoice
    850 - Purchase Order
    855 - Purchase Order Acknowledgement
    856 - Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN)
    997 - Functional Acknowledgement
    7. Testing the Setup:
    Test the software, the communications scripts, and modem with the VAN and mailbox. Arrange to have test transactions sent to your mailbox from the trading partner. The tests will involve translating all item numbers, ship-to destinations as well as each of the transaction record segments being processed. This may involve several tests and adjustments to your mapping. Sending back acknowledgements (997) signifying to the trading partner you have received the transaction set, is then required.
    8. Start Live Testing:
    Make procedural changes and move to live transaction processing. Monitor process and make any necessary adjustments.

When it comes to EDI, think...


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