How to simplify EDI with Dynamics NAV
Willie Fitzgerald - Guest Contributor
EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange and quite often the first time you hear of this is when one of your customers or suppliers tells you they want to cut down on the amount of paperwork involved in dealing with you!
EDI is unusual in the IT world in that it has been around pretty much as long as computers themselves and is still today the industry standard document interchange method between business partners.
So up to now when you have been sending an invoice or a shipping confirmation to your clients you have been happily emailing or posting these out as part of your batch routine, oblivious to the amount of work this might be generating to your customer who will be receiving other similar documents from their countless suppliers.
So what does EDI do?
Put simply instead of emailing or posting documents such as sales or purchase invoices and have your business partner re-key these into their system EDI enables you to send these documents from your ERP/accounts system directly into your business partner’s system.
This saves time by removing the need to re-type data but most importantly, it reduces errors and increases efficiencies by taking out the manual steps previously needed.
To secure this EDI transaction business partners will typically engage a VAN (Value Added Network) to manage the data exchange, the VAN effectively provides a mailbox where the customer and supplier can each talk to and send/receive messages to and from their systems.
In addition to making the transaction more secure this VAN also has other benefits, such as;
- Validate the messages and senders
- Provide an open visible audit trail of messages, so there can be no dispute between partners
- Notifications of messages between partners
- Full mailbox services
So how does this impact your Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system?
As standard NAV doesn’t have the facility to talk directly to your EDI VANs and send/receive messages.
You really don’t want to be keying in documents manually to the EDI VAN because this will just have shifted the workload from your customer or supplier to yourself.
Simply Dynamics have developed a Microsoft certified add-on to Dynamics NAV which facilitates the automatic handling of this data exchange.
We have implemented this EDI add-on in many NAV sites including Carty Meats, where we worked with Celtrino who provide the EDI VAN.
Celtrino are an Irish based EDI network and have worked with Simply Dymamics in many of our customer sites.