We had our leading expert and CEO, Jan Poehland, answer some common EDI questions our team has encountered.

Your customers or vendors are providing Web portals to enter orders or invoices. Can we automate that with P21? 
Yes, many systems today provide options to interface. We define EDI as anything that allows sending data back and forth electronically. So, Excel spreadsheets, CSV files, XML files and many other data formats can be seen as EDI. Many of the Web portals also have APIs that allow retrieving data electronically and thus processing it automatically and vice versa. Examples are Amazon, eBay, Channel Advisors, Ariba and many others. The best of it all is that most of those systems allow connecting directly so there is no other third party or transaction fee involved.
What is a VAN and do we need VANs when doing EDI with P21?
VAN stands for value added network which essentially acts as a mailbox between different trading partners. In many cases today VANs are no longer needed because we can connect companies directly. However, customers or vendors sometimes require their trading partners to communicate with them through a VAN as a single point of contact. In such cases VANs are required and we can work with whichever one has been chosen by your trading partner. Most VANs have so-called interconnects which essentially relays information between different trading partners from VAN to VAN until transactions reach their final destination.
We would like to provide the availability of stock to distributors. Can we do that with EDI via P21?
Yes, there standard transactions for this type of information that can be sent to distributors (customers) or vendors. The data format typically varies between different trading partners but as long as customers or vendors can receive these transactions electronically this is very doable and part of our system.
What is a PO Acknowledgement and how does it work?
PO Acknowledgments are really order confirmations. Every time a new sales order gets approved in P21 then we can send out a confirmation to your customer to indicate order dates, expected delivery dates, back order status, changed prices or quantities, etc. Such a transaction is typically called an 855. PO Acknowledgments (855) are not to be mistaken with regular acknowledgements (997) which only indicate the receipt of a transaction but no further detail.
In Comparatio’s EDI system do ASNs and invoices get sent in batches or individually or combined?
ASNs and invoices are typically based on existing, unpaid invoices in P21. Such transactions get sent as soon as they have been created and marked as done. However, we do have the ability to combine multiple ASNs into a single transaction in case customers require to send a single ASN either per shipment or a single ASN per day.
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