Onboarding: 6 steps to get more from EDI

EDI, Partner onboarding

Onboarding: 6 steps to get more from EDI

An average 20-rows-order (or invoice) can take up to 20 minutes to process manually. EDI saves 90% of that time and eliminates errors! Telema is strongly focused on getting that value to its customers. The more electronic documents your business uses, the more value it gets. So onboarding your partners to EDI is crucial to maximize the benefits.


These are the few basic things you can do to improve your EDIfication:

  1. Include EDI in your sales/purchase/delivery contract 
  2. Train your colleagues to demand electronic orders/invoices 
  3. Let Telema advise you who else can be connected
  4. Set automatic replies to invoices/orders sent to email
  5. Use sample onboarding letters
  6. Set EDI deadline for partners


1. Include EDI in your contracts

Some partners of our customers have refused going to EDI, citing as a reason that it is not mentioned in the trade contract. Include EDI as the preferred (or only) way of exchanging orders and invoices and you will have a good basis for moving on with the topic effectively. First, do it with all your new contracts with new partners. Then, always when renewing an old contract. If this is not quick enough, do a massive update of all contracts. 


2. Train your colleagues to demand EDI 

All affected employees should know why electronic data interchange is being implemented, how it works and what are the benefits. It is easy to forget some colleagues, especially when they are diversely located in multiple shops or warehouses. Those people who actually handle the orders, invoices or deliveries should be trained to communicate about EDI towards your trade partners. Then they will be able to demand electronic orders or electronic invoices and handle partners’ questions and concerns properly. Support from all those people in your organisation to the EDI project is a must. 


3. Let Telema advise you who else can be connected

One of the main reasons for the low EDIfication level of companies is not being aware which partners are, in fact, using EDI, but still exchanging documents through email with them. Telema provides free analysis and consultation about customers’ entire partner lists. Based on various parameters (local versus global partner, big versus small volume of documents, etc), your partners can be segmented for suitable next steps. Telema has long-term onboarding experience in co-creating customer-specific onboarding plans.


4. Set automatic replies to emails

To anyone sending orders or invoices to you by email, always respond with an automatic email telling them to send the document through EDI instead. And yes, do it repeatedly, every time they send an email. This way you keep your partners informed about your EDI requirements, and move firmly toward your goals. Consistent communication is half the battle.


5. Use sample onboarding letters to your partners 

Based on our experience and best practice, we have developed the sample onboarding letters for your convenience. So it’s really easy to take one and adjust to your context and you’re ready to inform your business partners about EDI.

Sample letters for buyers

Sample letters for suppliers

The letter should be clear, short and concise, explaining why you are demanding EDI and when. It should also describe how EDI is beneficial to your partner, and what will happen if your partner fails to comply with your conditions.


6. Set EDI deadline for partners

When informing your partners about transfer to EDI, always set a clear but realistic deadline. This is the date when you expect your partners to start EDI with you. Keep in mind that it might take your partners time to set up the connection, even if they already use EDI. And if they are new to EDI, there is more communication and more time needed. On the other hand, do not push it too far into the future, as history shows that the “student syndrome” applies here as well – even with a deadline known well in advance, action is started at the last minute.


More EDI partners, more value, more satisfaction

Our research shows that customers with more EDI partners are more satisfied. They are more satisfied because they get more value from the EDI service. This is logical – when starting to exchange electronic documents with one partner saves time and money, it will save even more time and more money with multiple partners.

Get in touch and start your onboarding your partners!

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