Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the ability of computers to talk to each other. Different computers cannot talk to each other unless they use the same formats and standards. EDI standards are developed and maintained by the Accredited Standards Committee – the standard used in the United States is ANSI ASC X12. Most large businesses strive to be EDI compliant because of the many advantages of being able to communicate directly computer-to-computer with customers and other businesses.
An EDI compliant company can have customer data on standardized forms sent directly from the customer into their in-house system. The customer can easily obtain automatic updates on the progress of the load. Invoices can be sent back to the customer. Fewer errors, faster information processing- what’s not to like?
The electronic documents exchanged between two EDI compliant trading partners aren’t all that different than the paper documents that used to be exchanged. Purchase orders, invoices, shipping orders and other similar documents are exchanged. EDI standardized forms specific to the trucking industry are:
- 204 – Motor Carrier Load Tender. This is the form the customer sends out initiating the transport process. It contains information about pickup and delivery. The trucking company sends back a 997, acknowledgement that they received the 204.
- 990 – Response to a Load Tender. This is the form the trucking company sends back to the customer accepting or declining the load.
- 214 – Shipment Status Report. These are sent off to inform the customer that the load has been picked up and delivered.
- 210 – Invoice. This is sent by the trucking company to the customer, asking for payment for the transport.
The biggest barriers to EDI compliance are usually “change” pains. Many companies are reluctant to change business processes that have served them well for years. Others are reluctant to spend the time and money on changing computer systems and training staff. Some companies that trade with relatively few EDI-compliant partners may opt to outsource their EDI data processing to special “EDI bureaus” that take care of that aspect of the business.
Customers used to exchanging standardized documents and forms with EDI-compliant trading partners, securely and in real-time, are often taken aback when encountering businesses that use idiosyncratic business forms or that continue to send invoices and shipping order forms by fax or through the mail. EDI-compliance helps the trucking company and the customer communicate more efficiently.
CCC Transportation is fully EDI compliant and is ready to receive your 204.