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Posts Tagged ‘EDI’

Electronic Data Interchange

Below is part eight of a continuing series on our blog regarding the key elements to successful e-commerce book fulfillment titled “Electronic Data Interchange”. At Ware-Pak, we make it a point to aid in understanding some rudimentary terms and addressing the complexities of e-commerce fulfillment.

Knowing what’s important to the e-retailer from a warehousing and fulfillment perspective is critical. Products need to be made available across multiple channels and e-commerce is one of the best ways to make your business accessible to your customers.

Electronic Data Interchange

In making a selection of a fulfillment center, double check to make sure they can support your electronic data interchange (EDI) initiatives.  The fulfillment center must be able to generate the SSCC-18 Carton License Plate and affix the label to the carton.  From there, the fulfillment house must send you a data set to meet your customers’ ASN requirements.  To identify this file, know that it will contain the SSCC-18 license number and the contents of that specific carton.  This completes the information required for the ASN.  Finally, the fulfillment warehouse will generate the UCC-128 label to be affixed to the cartons completing the ASN transaction.

Electronic Data Interchange Terms Publishers Should Know

Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, is computer-to-computer communication of business documents, in a standardized format, between two companies. Even though publishers are being put under pressure by big distributors to implement EDI transactions, there is much confusion about what an EDI transaction really is.

Electronic data interchange has created a vocabulary of specific terms that publishers will need to be familiar with. Below is an English version of some of those technical terms.

You can now download the “Guide to EDI for Publishers,” which includes the full glossary of terms, from the white paper library on the Ware-Pak website, along with any of our other white papers. To do so, please click here.

Purchase Order Acknowledgements:
A POA tells the bookstore the status of their Purchase Order: what books were shipped, back-ordered, canceled, the list price, and discount.

Transaction Set:
A transaction set is the EDI term for a business document. Each transaction set has a standard three-digit numerical code that identifies it.

The four most common sets are: 850: Purchase Order (PO); 855: Purchase Order Acknowledgement (POA); 856: Advance Ship Notice (ASN); 810: Invoice

Important Note: Your first two EDI transaction sets must be Purchase Orders and Purchase Order Acknowledgements. Future transaction sets are your choice.

ANSI X12:
This cryptic term refers to the overall set of standards governing the use of EDI documents by all industries in the U.S. It is the protocol that makes sure all items on a document land in the right spaces. Usually called “X12.”

Translation Software:
The program that takes an EDI standardized X12 document and converts, or translates it, into a format that your Order Processing computer can recognize.

Communication Software:
The program that allows you to connect to your EDI mailbox.

Descriptions of EDI Mailbox, VAN, EDI Provider and several additional terms can be found in the white paper “A Guide to EDI for Publishers” in the Ware-Pak White Paper Library. If you’d like to request a PDF of any of the white papers in our library, please contact me directly. I can be reached at (708) 587-4116 or kshay@ware-pak.com

A Guide To EDI For Publishers

Publishers are being put under a great deal of pressure by the big distributors, such as Amazon, Baker & Taylor and Border’s, to implement EDI transactions. There is a lot of confusion about what an EDI transaction is. I decided to put together this blog post to help explain some of these technical terms.

EDI: What does it stand for and what exactly is it?

EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is a computer-to-computer of business documents, in a standardized format, between two companies.

Although it has a technical-sounding name, EDI is fundamentally a business initiative that has been developed over the past 30 years. It was pioneered by the transportation, retail and grocery industries in an effort to increase quality and customer service, and offer long-term cost benefits. EDI also represents a major step in creating a paperless office.

By replacing paper documents, such as purchase orders or invoices, with their EDI “equivalent” (a computer-readable EDI document), four key benefits are realized:

  1. Accuracy is increased because human intervention (the acts of entering and re-keying data) is eliminated.
  2. Timeliness is increased (the electronic transmission of forms eliminates the delays inherent in conventional mail, or even Fax).
  3. Customer service process is automated.
  4. Bottom line costs are reduced for the trading partners.

The Definition of EDI Explained:

“Computer-to-computer” means that the data you send or receive from a bookstore (the most common examples are invoices or purchase orders) is communicated via electronic transmission, without human intervention or interpretation.

“Business documents” means that EDI will be used for the exchange of specific documents only, such as purchase orders or invoices.

“Standardized format” is at the heart of EDI and causes much confusion among publishers. EDI requires you to follow standards that define the format and content of your business documents. When you start using EDI, PO’s and invoices will be converted by the EDI translation software program into the exact same format as those used by all the other publishers using EDI. (The publishing industry EDI standards have been set by the BISAC – recently renamed BASIC – committee of the Book Industry Study Group.) This means that each purchase order, invoice, or pack slip will be completely readable by any computer used by any bookseller using EDI.

In Summary:

When you do business via EDI, you send business documents directly from one computer to another, the documents are in a machine-processable format, the exchange is limited to documents, and the document exchange is governed by standards.

EDI has also created a vocabulary of terms that publishers should know. These terms will be posted in a separate entry later this week. The terms, as well as this guide to EDI for publishers, will be available in whitepaper form on our website, in our Whitepaper Library, shortly. Stay tuned! If you’d like to request a PDF of any of the whitepapers in our library, please contact me directly. I can be reached at (708) 587-4116 or kshay@ware-pak.com

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