What is the EDI Generator

The EDI Generator is an ‘EDI as a Service’ solution falling into the Software as a Service (SaaS) category. It allows small and medium businesses to receive, interpret and create EDI documents through an intuitive web based user interface, without purchasing and installing software, and paying low monthly fees based only on the actual usage. The EDI Generator works in tandem with the MFTGateway, which performs the actual exchange of EDI files with trading partners, using the AS2 protocol for encryption and digital signatures.

The EDI Generator currently support EDI X12, with limited support for EDIFACT. Full support for EDIFACT and other formats are in the pipeline and will be implemented in the future. The common EDI transactions targeting suppliers, that are supported in the EDI Generator includes:

  • Receipt of a Purchase Order (EDI 850)
  • Creation of a Purchase Order acknowledgement (optional) (EDI 855)
  • Creation of an Advance Ship Notification (ASN) (EDI 856) and printing of Shipping Labels
  • Creation of an Invoice (EDI 810)

In addition, the EDI Generator will process standard transactions such as Text Messages (EDI 864), Application Advices (EDI 824) and Organizational Relationships (EDI 816) etc.

The typical use case of a supplier

Typically a Small and Medium Business (SMB) who wants to supply to a larger organization will be asked to have an EDI capability. An example is a supplier for Walmart, who needs to receive Purchase Orders (PO) from Walmart. However Walmart will only send the PO’s as EDI X12 format messages which cannot be read by a human easily. In addition Walmart will require the supplier to received the PO’s through a secured channel called an AS2 connection. The supplier is then required to prepare the shipment, and send an Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN) about the shipment at the time of leaving the supplier. This ASN needs to contain exactly what is shipped, the quantities and how it is shipped, such as Pallet and Pack information. The Pallets and Packs will also be required to have a Walmart authorized Shipping Label pasted so that as the shipment is received at Walmart, simply scanning the shipping label barcode will allow Walmart to understand the contents and quantities etc. Afterwards the supplier is expected to send the invoice to Walmart for payment.

For all of the above, the communication will be using EDI X12 transactions, and typically over a secured AS2 connection. While a supplier will need to purchase, setup and maintain an AS2 software server and run it 24x7x365 to receive PO’s as they are sent by Walmart, and to respond back, they will also need to purchase and maintain specialized EDI software to interpret the received EDI messages, and to create messages that needs to be sent back. In addition the generation of Shipping Labels will also require the generation of unique barcodes called SSCC-18 barcodes, which are available through yet other purchased software utilities.