The definition of EDI is Electronic Data Interchange.  But what does this really mean?  To answer this question fully, we need to go back to Heathrow Airport, London in 1971.  As air travel was becoming cheaper, air freight was on the rise, which forced the problem of unloading goods once they had arrived to get the planes back in the air again.

The Definition of EDI

Even with 1970’s hardware, the concept of using a computer mainframe to book goods in and out through customs became an absolute necessity and thus the first iteration of EDI was born, DTI (Direct Trader Input).

This method was so successful that it was rolled out across other ports and airports over the next decade.


From there, the next progression was implementing compatible systems into warehouses.  These systems were more advanced, handling stock management and allocation.

The Rise of Retail

The continuous rise of the retail giants forced the next big shift in EDI.  Standards had to be set, but with this being global enterprise, different continents had differing ideas about what this should be.  The solution?  3 different standards.  None of which are compatible with each other.

Not a great start as far as standardisation goes, but we won’t let that stand in the way of progress.  In the UK, the Article Number Association (now known as GS1) developed TRADACOMS.  The UN developed EDIFACT used predominantly in Europe and the US have ANSI X12.   These standards are flexible enough for almost any kind of business document, which is why manufacturing, medical and airline sectors have also adopted these standards.

Computer to computer communication has its obvious benefits.  Paper based orders and invoices are prone to mistakes, no matter how careful the accounts team are.  Especially when these types of documents are being faxed or scanned and emailed.  Converting an electronic order into an invoice removes any inconsistency and, in a perfect supply chain, can be completely automated.


The Definition of EDI


The future of EDI

This brings us to today.  Wait…  What happened to the last 30 years?  Well, to be honest, not a lot.  The standards, largely unaltered,  still exist to this day and traditional EDI software hasn’t really made huge strides either.  That is until now.

The XEDI platform has truly reshaped what EDI can do for businesses around the world.  Using a cloud-based approach effectively creates a hub of trading partners, all using the latest proprietary technology to integrate with their existing ERP and accounting systems.  Simplicity is the key to the success of this platform. Gone are the days where an EDI consultant would spend weeks mapping a file or months simply connecting to your trading partners.

A centralised approach has streamlined the onboarding and testing phases to just a few clicks, revolutionising the concept of EDI. Connecting to your existing infrastructure is just as simple.  Just connect, map the fields with the simple mapping tool and you’re done.  In modern computing terms, that’s just the way things work nowadays.

XEDI has brought EDI technology up to speed and beyond.  Backed by leading global server infrastructure, XEDI is a solid platform leading the way in EDI today and into the future.


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