In my experience I've noticed that once an EDI system is implemented, management believes its work is over. Managers, owners, crew, and staff all expect it to just sort of "work", just like it was advertised and intended to work. Sometimes that happens, but more often than not, it just doesn't. What most management doesn't realize is that there are small tweaks and changes that often need to be made nearly every day for specific business uses. EDI, contrary to popular belief, is rarely a "one size fits all" solution.
Another thing that most business owners fail to take into consideration is the fact that with EDI, you can't necessarily come at it from a business standpoint. EDI really needs to be tackled from the perspective of your customers. It's those things that they need, and the things that will make implementing your EDI system easier on them. The main thing to remember is that just because your business has and EDI system in place, doesn't mean you are done. Far from it. Successful EDI implementation and management takes work, and is something that you should be constantly improving upon.
So, what are my conclusions from these EDI horror stories? We have learned that EDI is not a "fix it and forget it" kind of solution for businesses. None of the businesses that we profiled in our "horror stories" were bad businesses. They were all successful, growing companies with educated, forward-thinking executives who genuinely thought they were making the best decisions for their companies. What happened to throw them so far off course?
They simply didn't have the right knowledge, or the right tools to make their EDI systems work the way they should. With a little oversight, and firsthand knowledge of how to make EDI succeed for each individual company, business owners can create workable plans for success. There just has to be a plan made by using the right tools to not only please the customer, but provide for the success of the business as well. These tools are available, you just have to know where to find them.