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EDI 101
A Simple Guide to Electronic Data Interchange
Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, is

Setting the Standard

application and, in turn, the right data is

one of those terms that most of us have

While the EDI requirements for each

written to the outbound files.

heard, some of us know we need, and

individual trading partner will vary, most

few of us understand.

trading partners use the ANSI standard

Mapping software can do some tricks,

file formats for each document type.

such as cross referencing UPC codes

Fortunately, the technology and

to your inventory codes. They also can

surrounding tools have advanced to

ANSI is the acronym for American

house turnaround data - data not used by

the place where its not necessary to

National Standards Institute, which is the

you, but required by your trading partner.

fully understand the behind-the-scenes

organization that acts as coordinator and

operation of EDI in order to use it.

clearing house for information on national

How Does EDI Work?

standards, including EDI. Outside of the

Heres an example of how a typical EDI

For those of us with a keen sense of

USA, EDIFACT is the international EDI

relationship between you and your trading

curiosity, though, or for those who want

standard developed under the United

partner, Big Company, might work.

to sound informed when asked, we offer


this EDI primer your guide to the basics

Big Company initiates an 850 Purchase

What Kind of Data Gets


Order and uploads the order to its Value

What Is EDI?

The standard file format for each

your electronic mailbox. Note that some

EDI is the computer to computer

document type typically contains

companies no longer use VANs, favoring

exchange of standard business

thousands of data elements. In most

the newer AS2 protocol to send EDI

documents, such as purchase orders

trading relationships, only a small subset


and invoices, in electronic format. A

of these data elements is necessary.

standard file format is established for

The data that is communicated is the

Your EDI translation software validates

each kind of document (although they

data required to generate a sales order

that the file is in the proper format and

often get tweaked!) in order to facilitate

or initiate a shipment things like item

sends an acknowledgement transaction

the exchange of data across a variety of

numbers, quantitiess and shipping

(997) back to Big Company over the VAN.

platforms and programs.


of EDI.

Added Network (VAN), which delivers it to

Your mapping software (MAPADOC)

EDI joins manufacturers, distributors, and retailers

together in a world-wide business to business

2011 SWK Technologies, Inc.

Navigating the Maps

verifies that the data elements it is

Mapping software is crucial for integrating

expecting are contained in the file, and

EDI into your accounting application.

then writes the data from the file into

Maps interpret the data according to

your Sage ERP MAS 90, MAS 200, or

rules you and/or your trading partner

MAS 500 sales order module, creating

have established. Maps also ensure the

one or more new orders.

right data gets passed to your accounting

Benefits of EDI
Data can move between computer
systems with little or no delay, resulting
in better cash flow, faster buy-cell cycle
time, shorter order lead times, and even
reduced inventories.


About SWK Technologies, Inc.

SWK Technologies, Inc. is a
unique IT consulting company
providing strategies and solutions
to meet its clients information and
business management needs.
As a Sage Software Partner,
SWK Technologies offers best of
breed solutions for accounting and
business management, human
resources and payroll, customer
relationship management (CRM),
job management, and warehouse
Specializing in collaborative
commerce, or the communication
and cooperation between
suppliers and customers,
SWK Technologies publishes
MAPADOC, an embedded EDI
solution for Sage ERP MAS 90,
Sage ERP MAS 200 and Sage
used successfully by companies
in dozens of industries trading
with hundreds of different trading
SWK Technologies, Inc.
520 Regent Street
Suite 520
Livingston, New Jersey 07039
(866) MAPADOC or (866) 627-2362
(973) 758-6120 fax

As you generate the invoices for those

Errors are reduced due to the elimination

orders, the mapping software constructs

of manual and duplicate data entry. This

an 810 Invoice file in the format Big

boosts overall efficiency and minimizes

Company wants, and then hands that file

the risk of costly charge backs, leading to

to the translation software that uploads it

improved trading partner relationships.

to the VAN for delivery to Big Company.

EDI Benefits to You

EDI standards specify how data will be

While many businesses may feel that EDI

formatted and where it can be found,

is a necessary requirement imposed on

minimizing any burden on your IT staff.

them by a trading partner, there can be

distinct benefits for your organization.

EDI can be accessed only by authorized

With EDI, you can eliminate much of the

users, and audit trails and archives add to

paper pushing associated with processing

security. Electronic confirmations ensure

sales orders and invoices. Since these

receipt no chance of something getting

documents are received and sent

lost in the mail. EDI data cannot be

electronically, you can save the overhead

easily changed by unauthorized users and

associated with filing and postage.

is not susceptible to viruses.

Integrating EDI with your Sage ERP

MAS90, MAS 200 or MAS 500
system eliminates much of your data
entry burden. Incoming orders are
created automatically with minimal user
intervention. Since these orders are often
coming from larger customers, they
may contain dozens or even hundreds
of line items, so the time savings can be

Commonly Transmitted
EDI Documents
850 Purchase Orders
810 Invoices
812 Credit / Debit Memos
846 On Hand Inventory Data

By eliminating the paper routing and

940 Fulfillment Orders

manual data entry, most companies

855 PO Acknowledgements

enjoy increased order accuracy. Routine

870 Order Status Reports

data entry and processing errors are

816 Store Lists

eliminated improving customer

852 Product Activity Reports

satisfaction and minimizing the possibility

of charge backs from your trading

754 Shipping Logistics Instructions

856 Shipment Notices

2011 SWK Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. MAPADOC and the MAPADOC product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of SWK
Technologies, Inc. The Sage logo and the Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc., or its affiliated entities. All
other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.