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What is EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)?

Understand what EDI is, and why it is beneficial with iTrade’s EDI Overview.

What is EDI?

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. It is a protocol that enables the electronic exchange of Business Documents and transactions such as invoices and POs.

What are the benefits of EDI?

  • Enables a larger volume of transactions
  • Eliminates delays, and increases processing speed
  • Improves the Accuracy of data and information
  • Provides Transaction Transparency

Without EDI…

  • Data is entered into a Computer
  • Printed out and then either faxed, emailed, or physically mailed
  • Hardcopy data is then reentered into the receiving ends computer/system and then processed
  • At each of these points there is opportunity for human error

One-way data Exchange W/Out EDI

As should be apparent, this process has many potential failure points, from a process, technology and people perspective. EDI helps eliminate or reduce most of these failures.

With EDI

  • Document is sent and mapped from a VAN or ERP by a secure connection
  • This connection is either an AS2 or iTradeNetwork’s hosted FTP
  • The file is then received and translated by the other ends VAN or ERP

What is a VAN?

A VAN is a Value Added Network that facilitates EDI. A VAN typically:

  • Maps the transaction data to our specifications o Translates incoming EDIs
  • Provides a secure connection

What are AS2/FTP connections?

  • An AS2 is simply a way to transport data
  • It ensures security through certifications and encryptions
  • File Transport Protocol (FTP) is just another transport method
  • iTradeNetwork hosts their own FTP Server for EDI users

Examples of EDI Documents

The following are examples of the more commonly used EDI documents on iTradeNetwork (all EDI documents have their own number):

  • Purchase Orders – 850
  • PO Acknowledgements – 855
  • ASNs – 856
  • Invoices – 810
  • Functional Acknowledgments – 997

EDI Workflows

A typical EDI workflow would look like this:

  • A buyer sends an 850 (Purchase Order) through iTradeNetwork
  • iTradeNetwork receives the document and it is forwarded to the Supplier’s VAN or ERP system via AS2 connection or the document is picked up on our FTP Server
  • The VAN or ERP quickly and accurately translates the document based on iTradeNetwork’s mapping specifications
  • The Supplier sends back a confirmation of the PO (855) and then later an Invoice (810) that pushes the PO in-transit and sends an Invoice to the buyer
  • A 997 Functional Acknowledgement is sent for all transactions inbound and outbound
  • A 856 Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN) is required by some but not all buyers on iTradeNetwork. The Onboarding Specialist at iTradeNetwork can discuss this with you during the Onboarding process

Pre-Requisites for the Supplier

To set up full integration/EDI with iTradeNetwork, the Supplier needs to:

  • Have a VAN or ERP that can map and receive our EDI documents
  • Have a AS2 connection that we can connect to or use our hosted FTP
  • Map to our EDI specifications. The required document is the 850, 855, 810, and 997
  • Update the Catalog and ensure that the Products (Items in the Catalog) do have a SKU # and 14 digit GTIN or 12 digit UPC

Advantages of EDI

In summary Integrated EDI enables the following:

  • Data to automatically populate into ERP system or other backend system
  • Verifies that all transactions are sent and received
  • Eliminates manual data entry errors
  • Streamlines inventory management
  • Increases productivity and efficiency
860 Purchase Order Change Request – Buyer Initiated
Mar 2023
EDI 856 Ship Notice / Manifest
Jul 2022
997 Segment Specification
Aug 2020