Electronic Data Interchange for Wholesalers Guide

By Nick Spooner
CEO at Salesorder.com | Software and expertise for wholesaler optimization

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) enables seamless communication and data exchange between wholesalers and trading partners. It replaces the traditional paper-based communication methods with a more efficient digital system.

Looking to get started with EDI wholesale but are feeling unsure? This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of EDI.

electronic data interchange

What is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)?

EDI is the digital exchange of business documents between trading partners in a standardized format. For wholesalers, trading partners can include retailers, logistics, or suppliers.

EDI replaces paper-based communication, such as faxes or mail, with an automated system. EDI allows for the secure transfer of various business documents directly between computer systems. This can include orders, invoices, shipping notices, and more.

EDI Automation vs Web-based EDI

EDI operates in either an automated or manual format.

We explore the differences between these two formats:

EDI Automation

EDI automation involves the use of technology to automate the exchange of data and documents between trading partners’ back-office applications.

Here are the key aspects of EDI automation:

Integration with Business Systems

EDI automation involves integrating the EDI system with existing business systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This integration enables seamless data exchange and automation of business processes.

Streamlined Workflows

EDI automation optimizes workflows by eliminating manual tasks and automating routine processes. It allows for direct data integration, automatic document processing, and real-time updates. This streamlines operations, improves efficiency, and reduces manual errors.

Scalability and Handling Large Volumes

EDI automation can handle high volumes of transactions. It can scale to accommodate increasing transaction volumes, making it suitable for large-scale wholesalers.

System-to-System Communication

EDI automation relies on direct system-to-system communication between trading partners. It follows standardized formats and protocols for data exchange. This ensures compatibility and efficient processing.

Web-based EDI

Web-based EDI uses a web portal interface for the exchange of business documents between trading partners. This eliminates the need for specialized software or infrastructure.

Here are the key aspects of web-based EDI:

Web Portal Interface

Web-based EDI provides a user-friendly web portal interface for accessing and managing transactions. It eliminates the need for specialized software and allows users to access EDI functionalities through a web browser.

Accessibility and Collaboration

Web-based EDI offers accessibility from any location with an internet connection. It facilitates collaboration with trading partners, allowing them to access the web portal to exchange documents and respond to transaction requests.

Cost-Effectiveness and Easy Implementation

Web-based EDI eliminates the need for businesses to invest in specialized EDI software or infrastructure. It is often provided as a subscription-based service, making it cost-effective and easy to install.

Flexibility and Remote Work

Web-based EDI allows users to access EDI transactions from any device with internet connectivity. It offers flexibility and convenience for businesses with distributed teams or multi-site operations.

Security and Compliance

Web-based EDI systems have robust security measures to protect data transmitted over the internet. This includes encryption, user authentication, and compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Why Wholesalers Need EDI

There are many advantages of Electronic Data Interchange that make it essential for wholesalers to adopt this technology. Here are some key reasons why wholesalers need EDI:

Streamlined Operations

EDI eliminates the manual handling of documents, such as orders, invoices, and shipping notices. By automating these processes, EDI streamlines operations, reduces errors, and accelerates order fulfillment. This efficiency translates into faster order processing and enhanced customer service.

Improved Accuracy

Manual data entry is prone to errors, which can lead to costly mistakes, such as incorrect orders or inaccurate invoices. EDI ensures accurate data transmission, reducing the risk of errors. This accuracy fosters stronger relationships with trading partners.

Faster Order Processing

With EDI, wholesalers can receive and process orders in real time. Orders are automatically entered into the system, eliminating the need for manual data entry. This results in quicker order confirmations, faster order fulfillment, and timely shipment notifications.

Cost Savings

EDI allows wholesalers to save costs. They can reduce the expenses of manual data entry and paper-based document handling. EDI eliminates the need for printing, postage, and document storage space, resulting in savings. The reduction in errors minimizes the risk of chargebacks and penalties, reducing expenses.

Enhanced Collaboration

EDI promotes seamless collaboration between wholesalers and trading partners. By standardizing the format of electronic documents, EDI ensures compatibility and easier integration with partners’ systems. This enables a faster and more accurate exchange of information, such as product details, pricing, and inventory levels.

Implementing EDI for Wholesale Operations

We provide the steps to install an EDI in your wholesale operations.

Assess Your Business Needs

Determine the specific challenges and opportunities in your wholesale operations. Identify the business processes that could benefit the most from EDI automation.

Select an EDI Provider

Research and select an experienced EDI provider that understands the unique requirements of wholesalers. Look for a provider that offers robust features, scalability, and excellent customer support. They should be able to integrate with your existing systems, such as your ERP software.

Plan and Prepare

Create a detailed implementation plan, including timelines, resource allocation, and training requirements. Collaborate with your EDI provider to ensure a smooth transition. Establish clear communication channels with your trading partners.


Before going live, test your EDI implementation to confirm the data exchange, document formatting, and system integration. Identify and resolve any issues or discrepancies to ensure a seamless experience for all parties involved.

Train Your Team

Provide comprehensive training to your employees on how to use the EDI system effectively. This includes understanding the various document types, using the EDI software, and troubleshooting common issues. Ensure that your team is well-equipped to leverage the full potential of EDI and maximize its benefits.

Establish Trading Partner Connections

Collaborate with your trading partners to establish EDI connections. Ensure that they have the necessary technology and capabilities to engage in electronic data interchange. Work with them to set up the required communication protocols, data formats, and security measures.


Once your EDI system is up and running, watch its performance and identify areas for improvement. Review transaction logs, error reports, and feedback from trading partners to address any issues.

Stay Updated with Industry Standards

As EDI standards and technologies evolve, stay informed about the latest developments and updates. This ensures that your wholesale operations remain in compliance with industry standards and allows you to leverage new features and capabilities offered by EDI.

Streamline Operations with Salesorder ERP Software

Salesorder offers a comprehensive ERP for wholesalers. Our ERP software eliminates sales effort, manages inventory accuracy, and delivers the best possible business intelligence (BI).

Zenbridge, our partner company, manages connectivity to EDI. Zenbridge offers a high-quality EDI that is affordable. The onboarding process is simple, allowing you to go live with ease.

Get in touch to discuss our ERP software and EDI connectivity.

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