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Streamlining EDI: Advantages of Modern Data Management Platforms

Electronic data interchange (EDI) has a long history in the electronics industry, and its importance has only grown in recent years as more distributors, component manufacturers, electronics manufacturing services (EMS), and original equipment manufacturing (OEM) companies increasingly rely on digital data transport and management.

The advantages of modern data platforms can help streamline EDI complexity, allowing businesses in the industry to continue to benefit from the proven value of EDI while simultaneously enjoying the advantages of using modern data management and transport solutions. 

Companies can streamline their EDI processes using an optimized data management platform based on their situation and needs, improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing data quality. 

This article will discuss the steps in evaluating technology and implementing a data management platform to streamline a company’s EDI processes.

EDI and its common uses in the Electronics Industry

EDI is a standardized protocol allowing businesses to exchange data with one another electronically. It allows companies to optimize complex processes and reduce costs by eliminating manual data entry errors. By streamlining the exchange of business documents between trading partners, EDI facilitates faster, more accurate, and more reliable transactions, resulting in improved efficiency and cost savings. 

EDI transaction sets are the documents that organizations use to conduct business digitally, including purchasing, inventory, invoices, and payment collection. EDI transaction sets most commonly used in the electronics industry include the 850 (purchase order), 855 (invoice notification), 856 (shipment advance notice), 860 (purchase order acknowledgment), and 865 (order change/cancellation).

Despite its potentially high set-up cost, EDI yields significant business benefits in terms of savings, efficiency, and productivity, making it worth the investment for many organizations.  

How EDI impacts businesses in the Electronics Industry – the good and the bad

As the electronics industry continues to grow at a breakneck pace, the number of transactions and data shared between business partners continues to grow exponentially. This accelerated growth has made  EDI challenging to work with, at times,  due to the complexities of managing countless variations of documents and formats and how the transaction sets are built and implemented. EDI is often complex to implement and challenging to maintain, a phenomenon that combines the concepts of cacophony and entropy into one chaotic system. 

EDI implementations can significantly impact businesses, both positively and negatively. 

Positive effects include

  • Increased efficiency: Automating manual processes, such as ordering or invoicing, reduces the time and effort required to complete tasks.
  • Improved accuracy: Reducing the risk of errors associated with manual data entry leads to increased data transmission and processing accuracy.
  • Enhanced data security:  Providing a safe and reliable way to exchange sensitive information between organizations enhances security.
  • Improved supply chain management: Timely tracking orders, inventory, and shipments allows businesses to manage their supply chain better and improve customer service.

 Negative impacts include:

  • High implementation costs: Implementing EDI can be expensive, requiring significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and staff training.
  • Integration difficulties: Integration with existing or new systems can be challenging and time-consuming, requiring significant technical expertise.
  • Lack of standardization: Although there have been efforts to standardize, a lack of consistency persists in how different organizations in the industry implement and use EDI, leading to confusion and interoperability challenges, as there may be variances in the interpretation of data transmitted between trading partners
  • Latency:  The exchange of documents and transactions occurs asynchronously, lacking the depth and richness of modern machine-to-machine protocols. 

Given EDI’s significant impact on operations in the industry, it’s essential for organizations to carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before deciding how to manage, maintain, and improve their EDI implementations. 

Get started:  Streamlining your EDI implementation with a data management platform.

Modern data management solutions are highly beneficial for streamlining EDI processes. Data management platforms augment efficiency through automation and real-time translations that can, in turn, improve accuracy and reduce errors. Additionally, best-in-class data management platforms offer flexibility that allows organizations to adhere to industry standards and adapt whenever changes are required. 

Modern data management platforms offer several useful features that help streamline EDI implementations, among them:

  • Data normalization: Ensuring that data conforms to a standard format makes it easier to compare and analyze.
  • Document translation and reconciliation: The conversion of data between different formats and verifying and adjusting discrepancies.
  • Information quality assurance: Identify and correct data errors and inconsistencies using automation.
  • Automated workflow processes: Automation of repetitive tasks and processes, reducing the need for manual intervention
  • Partner portals: Online platforms that allow trading partners to exchange data and collaborate on transactions securely and efficiently.
  • Multiple systems integration: The ability to integrate EDI processes with other systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or warehouse management systems (WMS), creating a more seamless and integrated workflow.

The first step in streamlining EDI processes using a data management platform is to complete an in-depth assessment of existing systems, the processes involved, the data being exchanged, and the people responsible for managing the EDI processes. This assessment will help identify frequent pain points and areas for improvement.

After evaluating the current EDI processes, the next step is defining the business and technical requirements for the data management platform and determining the specific features and capabilities needed to improve EDI processes, such as data mapping, validation, and data translation. Additionally, it is important to consider the integration requirements with the organization’s existing systems –such as the ERP.

Once you’ve defined your precise requirements, the next step is to evaluate data management platforms that meet them. Research and compare various data management platforms available in the market, considering factors such as cost, scalability, industry experience, reliability, and support. By doing so, you can identify the best platform that meets your specific needs.

After selecting the data management platform, the next step involves collaborating with the platform provider to define and configure the solution that meets the specific requirements, integrating it with the existing systems, and training the personnel responsible for managing the EDI processes. It is essential to thoroughly test the data management platform before going live to ensure it is working as expected.


EDI is a necessary, widely used protocol for the electronics industry, yet, if not managed well, the complexity of the implementations can create pain and waste value. Enhancing your EDI implementation with a modern data management solution can significantly streamline operations and minimize errors.  A modern data management solution can convert data from multiple sources and formats into a unified format suitable for EDI. Simplifying the data exchange process improves overall efficiency, ultimately helping to achieve better outcomes. With this approach, businesses can continue to benefit from EDI while minimizing the associated cons. 

To learn more about how to get started streamlining your own company’s EDI process, contact Orbweaver today. Our seasoned, experienced team of professionals who share the above considerations for EDI implementation will answer all your technical questions and simplify your increasingly complex digital journey.

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