What is EDI Mapping?

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the electronic transmission of business documents between companies in a standard format. EDI is a system that enables the conversion of paper-based and manually issued documents such as purchase orders, invoices into electronic form. It is used in today’s business world to exchange documents between industries. For example, industries can easily share many different types of documents such as purchase orders, requests for quotations, invoices, etc., thanks to the EDI integration. Prior to the use of EDI, such communication was carried out on paper. There are various technical standards for EDI to facilitate batch processing.

In its most general definition, EDI Mapping is the process of placing data items in the source document to the place of the target document. It changes the data types and data item names and converts them to their final form if it’s necessary. In order to do this, an output alternative that corresponds to every possible type of source file should be considered and programmed. The recording and tracking of errors and incompatibilities that may occur during these conversion processes are also indispensable for this mapping software.

EDI mapping refers to a process in which EDI data is translated into a format that makes it easy to use in new and different environments. During an EDI mapping process, data structures are converted from an EDI standard format(EDIFACT, OFTP2, ANSI X12, etc.) to a special file that can be easily imported into the back-end system (SAP IDOC, txt, Flat File, CSV format, or another ERP specific format). The main goal in mapping is to avoid the need for special interfaces as much as possible. Therefore, the more standardized data formats are, the better the system performance and the less need for specific programming.

If you want to see how EDI works in a specific area, you can read our blog post Electronic Data Interchange in Transportation and Logistics“.

Importance of EDI Mapping for Business

EDI Mapping can be defined as the process of converting data from one format to another for the electronic exchange of business documents between trading partners. EDI Mapping is essential for eliminating manual business processes, meeting the expectations of trading partners, and facilitating the migration of data from front-end to back-end systems. This facilitates business processes by ensuring timely and accurate data exchange with trading partners. It also increases efficiency, reduces costs and improves compliance.

How is EDI Mapping Works?

All of your company’s information details such as purchasing, inventory levels, invoicing and invoicing, shipping, etc. are stored in your ERP system. With EDI solutions, it accesses the information needed to create the documents you need to run your business processes with your trading partners and integrates them with ERP systems.

Both suppliers and customers have specific requirements on how they do their job: shipping addresses, quotations, etc. which are determined when an agreement is made and should be taken into account when transactions take place, pricing. These are data used by EDI solutions to facilitate trade between businesses.

EDI uses the data standard (ANSI X12, EDIFACT, etc.) to ensure that incoming order requests are compatible with the supplier’s information system. It supports especially suppliers – such as retailers and distributors who can consistently meet their customers’ requirements and companies that do business with each other.

All of these are edited during the implementation of the EDI software when the fields are matched to each other to use the relevant data. When a request is received, the data is transformed to fit the recipient’s system and important information is used for the transaction to create all incoming and outgoing documents.

What are the EDI Mapping Application Steps?

  • Identifying trading partners

The first step is to identify the business partners with whom the business will exchange data. Once the partners have been identified, it is necessary to identify the types of data that need to be exchanged.

  • Selection of mapping tool

There are multiple mapping tools. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the tool that best suits the needs of the business.

  • Creating a mapping file

The most critical step of the EDI mapping process is creating the mapping file. It is very important that the mapping file is correct and complete. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to test the file after it is created to make sure it works correctly.

  • Testing the mapping file

It is possible to test the mapping file by sending a test message to a trading partner and verifying that the data is being exchanged correctly.

  • Apply the mapping file

After passing through the testing phase, electronic data exchange with commercial partners is started by moving to the implementation phase across the enterprise.

What are the Advantages of EDI Mapping?

EDI’s integration with the ERP system provides many benefits to business processes as it will map and automate other business processes. We can list the advantages of EDI to your business as follows:

Time Savings and Business Improvements

It allows information to flow quickly in EDI systems. Orders that come with an EDI solution are created automatically without the need for user input or taking the time of the employees.  EDI uses a standard format that all trading partners can understand. Therefore, employees do not need to be familiar with the terms in the document. At the same time, the time difference loses its importance, thanks to the ability to exchange documents between trading partners regardless of the time zone. Since documents or messages are transmitted electronically, the need for fax machines or paper is also eliminated.

Elimination and Correction of Errors by Human Intervention

EDI Solution maintains the reliability of information exchanged between businesses. Companies discerned that errors were reduced by eliminating manual and duplicate data entry. The error rate drops with the use of EDI, while relationships with trading partners improve; costly refunds, late deliveries or wrong item prices are minimized.

Security and Simplicity

Standardization of the data in our systems will help your IT staff and employees know where to find it. Automatic generation of sales orders, invoices, shipping reports, etc. will make the job even easier for sales and warehouse personnel.

Comparing EDI Mapping Software

There are many factors to consider when comparing different EDI mapping solutions. When comparing mapping software from different EDI mapping service providers, there are some important questions to ask them.

1. Does EDI Mapping Software provide sufficient flexibility for the future while being easy to use?

It is often difficult to upgrade easy-to-use EDI Mapping software in the future. You should check that your EDI service provider has special configuration capabilities to upgrade your existing EDI tool.

2. Is EDI Mapping Software affordable?

It is important to set an overall budget for your EDI mapping project. The cost of EDI mapping software should only be between 20% and 30% of the total cost of the EDI mapping project.

3. Is EDI Mapping Software easy to use?

It is important that the EDI mapping software you choose is easy to use for employees and can be adapted to employee needs. Most firms are unaware that EDI mapping projects need to be coordinated with internal processes to ensure mapping is successful. It is also important for the EDI mapping process that employees have minimal training to get used to it.

4. Does the EDI Mapping service provider offer strong support?

Your EDI integration service provider must provide regular support for mapping software.

5. Is EDI Mapping Software company experienced?

Many service providers claim to offer EDI mapping software and EDI mapping services, but have they done this successfully? EDI mapping software is only as good as the company behind it.

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