Are you winning your partners right from onboarding?
The process of onboarding a new partner is crucial. The world we live in today – a world where most processes rely heavily on systems to trace and track data – does not go easy on delayed onboarding processes. It is far more expensive and costly than what is initially expected.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to equip oneself with the necessary knowledge regarding the onboarding process in order to optimize and be prepared for any future risks.
What does trading partner mean?
EDI basics define a trading partner as another company or business that you exchange data with. The parties are trading goods utilizing the help of electronic communication, and in this case, it is EDI. Companies in the supply chain industries typically have a network of trading partners. The data transmission via EDI often companies with certain EDI communication protocols or EDI transaction codes.
What does partner onboarding mean?
In the B2B (business to business) world, the procedure of onboarding new partners into your business is known as partner onboarding. Of course, it is not as simple as getting them to sign a document; it is also about ensuring early business engagement, training, and making sure your partners make the most of their time working with you.
EDI onboarding is one of your partner’s first impressions of you. First impressions are crucial in the B2B world. It is also one of the very first interactions they have with you. These first steps are what make or break a strong, long-lasting business partnership.
Imagine you start working with a new company. Their onboarding process is delayed. They constantly keep you waiting. There are consistent technical issues. If the initial impression does not go well, your relationship might start off on a sour note.
What is an EDI onboarding process?
As mentioned earlier, the process of onboarding your EDI trading partner is crucial. But what is this process about?
There are two crucial aspects in the onboarding process, which are validation and execution. EDI partner onboarding typically consists of six smaller steps.
The onboarding starts once the contract is finalized.
First, the EDI provider needs to get an overview of the project’s scope: what is the business’ ecosystem capability? What are the preferred trading methods? Then, a plan will be drafted to identify the partners’ requirements and expectations. This step is also to understand if there are any resource constraints from your partner’s side, when they can get started, and so on. To better understand your partner’s needs and expectations, you can ask them to fill out a questionnaire for you.
Then, an EDI profile is created. This is a crucial step in determining the setup plan. Each partner has their own expectations and restrictions. Thus, the plan to minimize any resource gaps or configuration varies.
Next, after the confirmation and planning of your partner’s needs, it is time to review what you and your business need. Do you need to make any configuration to meet the requirements regarding security, transaction volume, or integration?
After the important pieces of information are confirmed, it is time for EDI testing. This is often one of the most challenging steps. The main reason for this is that it requires partners to work together in the same time frame.
Then, your partner will conduct a number of formal tests with the partner under UAT (User Acceptance Testing). This is when any bugs or flaws are resolved. Updates to the Message Guide and Map are made during this period, too, as necessary. The parties will make respective changes, and decide on a date for production and release.
The final, last step is the deployment phase. It is time to move from the testing environment to production. The features and functions should be working properly. The reports should provide total visibility into the business ecosystem.
Once deployed successfully, the onboarding process is completed.
What is EDI Trading Partner Setup?
EDI trending partner setup involves the setup of your connection for the usage of specific incoming or outgoing mailbox pathways.
Let’s say you are the warehouse manager and want to send out advanced shipping notices to the retailers, you need to set up incoming our outgoing mailboxes regarding ASNs. The retailer would also need to set up a similar, opposite mailbox path.
Other than the configuration in the system, the trading partner set also includes other information such as:
- Partner’s company information – the name, ID, the type of trading partner,
- Billing information
- EDI IDs and qualifiers – VAN partner, test ISA qualifier, production GS ID, etc.
- Set of desired EDI transaction codes and their versions
- Any other special requirements
This information must be checked thoroughly and approved before the trading partner setup process.
Why does a smooth onboarding process matter?
The answer is simple: you will win your partner’s trust and establish an excellent reputation.
In business, first impressions play a major role. Failing to meet your partner’s requirements may result in lost business opportunities, negatively affecting the business’s bottom line. Trading partners may have special demands, e.g. they will only handle EDI documents during a specific time frame during the week, or during set hours in the day. It is important to accommodate the needs timely. The market is increasingly competitive and the last thing can afford is to turn down a customer’s demand.
Fast and efficient EDI systems keep the business running smoothly. Outdated or slow EDI systems do more harm than good to a business, as they actually cost more in the long run when chargebacks pile up. Some want to keep on using the classic EDI system and avoid modernizing it, while modern EDI systems actually save companies a lot of money in the long run. If you are still pondering, opting for an EDI service provider is also a good choice.
EDI partner onboarding process – is there anything you can do to improve?
Being EDI compliant is important, but being EDI capable matters just as much. A modernized, integrated-as-a-service EDI platform enhances your company’s EDI capability significantly – which allows an enterprise to customize the EDI flow as they please (add, remove, or change it). Better EDI capability also means that you gain a stronger reputation for your company by quickly adhering to the new requirements and standards, and timely meeting the customer’s needs.
Are you winning your partners right from onboarding?
It should not take long to onboard a new partner if you have the right onboarding solution. It should not take longer than a few hours for this process.
If you are reading this article and think “Maybe it is time to upgrade my EDI partner onboarding process.”, let SCS Solutions help you. You only need to focus on scaling the business and bringing the customer the best experience. Let us handle the rest. We will make sure your partnerships start off strong and the relationships last long. Contact SCS Solutions via our website https://www.scssolutions.io/, Linkedin, or Facebook.