Electronic Data Interchange

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of standardized electronic business forms instead of using paper transportation documents, such as a purchase order or freight bill.

What is Electronic Data Interchange?
EDI electronic data interchange allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper. EDI relies on computer-to-computer networks to transfer business documents using standardized formats.
EDI refers to the entire electronic data interchange process, including the transmission, message flow, document format and software used to interpret the documents.

Based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology electronic data interchange definition, “the formatted data representing the documents may be transmitted from the originator to the recipient via telecommunications or physically transported on electronic storage media … by computer only. Human intervention in the processing of a received message is typically intended only for error conditions, for quality review, and for special situations.”

Technical standards for EDI electronic data interchange formats exist to support specific use cases, industries, or regions. EDI refers to this family of standards for automated communications between two business partners. Standards eliminate company-to-company variations of EDI electronic data interchange standards, EDI partners must use the same EDI standard and version.
Characteristics of Electronic Data Interchange
EDI developed as a way to streamline the transfer of business information from system to system by using established standards in place of paper documents.

Characteristics of electronic data interchange that reduce manual activities involved with mass data transfers between businesses include:

  • Call pattern: Asynchronous for batch exchange
  • Data size: Capable of handling mass data.
  • Standards: Set standards vary by industry and region.
  • Security: Supports compliance regulations.
  • Onboarding: New partners onboarded quickly and easily.
  • Common use cases: batch data conversion of bundled information between external trading partners via value-added network (VAN).
Advantages of Electronic Data Interchange in Transportation Management

EDI eliminates the need for the human input of information, reduces error-prone data entry and speeds up the process of exchanging digital business documents between customers and other trading partners.

Electronic data interchange benefits in transportation include:

  • Automated flow of business information between organizations.
  • Integrated information flows between the systems of business partners.
  • Common language among computer systems and data format.
  • Data in a standard and structured format is translated into information that is understood by different systems used by each organization.
Advantages of electronic data interchange over using other business communications in transportation management include:
Reduce Operating Costs with EDI

Eliminating the costs of paper, printing, reproduction, storage, filing, postage, and document retrieval reduces administrative, resource and maintenance costs.

EDI Improve Business Cycle Speed

Automation of information transfers for purchase orders and other documents reduces delay created in manual processing and supports real-time updates for inventory management. EDI in supply chain management ensures accurate, accelerated exchange of information to improve procurement, ship times and cost savings.

Improve Order Accuracy Electronically

Inefficient manual process are often error-prone due to human involvement. Standardized EDI eliminates the need to re-key information. Delayed and lost orders are eliminated through electronic documents.

Enhance Information Security in EDI

Sharing transactions securely across digital networks avoids the risk of data breach.

EDI Supports Business Decisions

Real-time visibility intro transaction status enables faster decisions and improved response to changing market demands.

Environmental EDI Impact

EDI supports sustainability initiatives by replacing paper-based processes with digital alternatives.

EDI in Transportation Management
Supply chain partners rely on electronic data integration in transportation management.
The technology streamlines onboarding for new trading partners, supports customer communications and accelerates load tender and shipment execution.
Using standardized EDI transactions ensure required data inputs, while formatting rules define how and where information in a document is found and utilized.

Some of the standard EDI used in road transportation management include:

  • EDI 106: Motor Carrier Rate Proposal
  • EDI 107: Request for Motor Carrier Rate Proposal
  • EDI 108: Response to a Motor Carrier Rate Proposal
  • EDI 109: Vessel Content Details
  • EDI 160: Transportation Automatic Equipment Identification
  • EDI 163: Transportation Appointment Schedule Information
  • EDI 204: Motor Carrier Load Tender
  • EDI 210: Motor Carrier Freight Details and Invoice
  • EDI 211: Motor Carrier Bill of Lading
  • EDI 212: Motor Carrier Delivery Trailer Manifest
  • EDI 213: Motor Carrier Shipment Status Inquiry
  • EDI 214: Transportation Carrier Ship. Status Message
  • EDI 215: Motor Carrier Pick-up Manifest
  • EDI 216: Motor Carrier Shipment Pick-up Notification
  • EDI 217: Motor Carrier Loading and Route Guide
  • EDI 219: Logistics Service Request
  • EDI 220: Logistics Service Response
  • EDI 223: Consolidators Freight Bill and Invoice
  • EDI 224: Motor Carrier Summary Freight Bill Manifest
  • EDI 227: Trailer Usage Report
  • EDI 228: Equipment Inspection Report
  • EDI 240: Motor Carrier Package Status
  • EDI 250: Purchase Order Shipment Management Document
  • EDI 859: Freight Invoice
  • EDI 920: Loss or Damage Claim: Gen. Commodities
  • EDI 990: Response to a Load Tender
  • EDI 998: Set Cancellation

See how EDI and other electronic integrations are part of a disruption-proof supply chain.

How MercuryGate Supports and Utilizes EDI

Electronic data integrations, application programming interfaces (APIs) and other electronic integrations anchor MercuryGate’s control tower solution.

Carriers use electronic data interchange to transmit information to shippers. Logistics services providers use integrated web-based systems leveraging EDI to manage complex global supply chains.

Aggregating information from those activities, MercuryGate leverages EDI, API and other technology integrations to assemble first-, second- and third- party data to paint a holistic view of the entire supply chain network.

Other MercuryGate TMS benefits achieved using EDI:

  • Diverse carrier base: Access over 10,000 carrier connections via EDI and API.
  • Easy onboarding: Standard EDI formatting accelerates onboarding for new partners – shippers, carriers or LSPs.
  • Speed, security, sustainability: Information is transmitted quickly and securely, with minimal need for manual resources and paper document management.

Even when trading partners operate in disparate systems, MercuryGate TMS’s utilization of EDI standardizes information and its delivery so data is accessible to everyone.

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