Successful EDI implementations must begin with the development and employment of proper naming conventions and best practices. Too often a company will make hasty decisions in an effort to implement an EDI customer quickly only to find that good practices were not put to use and the bad habits are then continued for all remaining EDI implementations.
When mapping, it is important to develop and standardize in-house naming conventions that can be used for all maps. This will help to identify maps and keep them organized. One recommendation is to use some variation or reference to the trading partner the map will be used for. Other suggestions may include using the document type, version, or division references in conjunction with the trading partner name. By using some of these methods in your map naming you will make it easier to identify the purpose of the map.
For example, consider if doing business with Acme Corporation they require the 850 Purchase Order (sent) and 810 Invoice (received) using version 4010. Map names might consist of “810_ACME4010S” and “850_ACME4010R.” Maintaining such consistency will be crucial for any EDI implementation, particularly if consisting of dozens of trading partners and document types.
There are many ways to use maps in conjunction with your trading partner setups. The most typical setup is one map, per document type, for each trading partner. This makes it possible to configure trading partner specific modifications to each map without the concern of how it might affect other trading partners who are sending or receiving the same data with you.
Should the organization or trading partner(s) have multiple divisions, another consideration is to use multiple maps. This involves creating multiple maps for one document type, for one trading partner. This application is excellent if each division requires strategically different mapping setups or if they have varying requirements (such as different EDI versions of the same document type). Despite this not being a common scenario, it can be accomplished but might require a unique setup for the trading partner.
It is also a viable option to use one map, for one document, but shared by multiple trading partners. This is ideal if you are “calling the shots” or telling your trading partners how you would like them to setup their maps for doing business with you. This is one of the luxuries a buyer might have by using a common format for all vendors.
These are just a few examples that illustrate how you can increase the efficiency and organization of any EDI system. Efficiency and organization are key factors to the optimization of any system.