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The EDI Dilemma

Executive summary: Motor carriers that use new cloud-based EDI platforms, such as WIRE™ from Motorcity Systems, are able to quickly onboard trading partners and exchange messages, data, and documents more efficiently than ever before.

Electronic data interchange (EDI) simplifies B2B data communication, but setting up the technology inside a business is a challenge for many carriers. 

For EDI to work, trading partners must share the same information in the same format. However, every carrier or freight broker creates and uses their data differently. Transportation management systems (TMS) also read and write data in unique ways. The information is there, but it’s not easy for every trading partner to “speak the same language.” 

Further complicating things is that EDI is not a true standard. Trading partners often want to receive unique messages, like a shipper who wants a “214” load status update every hour and have unique codes for pickup or receiving locations, among other idiosyncrasies. In the EDI setup process, carriers must account for the individual data demands of customers.

What is EDI?

EDI is a defined set of standards for data communicated between businesses. The technology works by exchanging information among trading partners electronically instead of with paper documents. The digitization applies to a range of activities including purchase orders, invoices, or load tenders. Learn more about EDI HERE.

Data Mapping: Only a Short-term Solution 

Businesses solve the problem of converting information from their systems to EDI messages by mapping the data. This process takes existing information, formats it to EDI’s required standards, and accounts for the recipient’s specialized requirements. Mapping must occur for every department, every data type, and every trading partner. 

The process requires significant time and resources. 

Few businesses have the internal technical expertise for EDI setups and long-term maintenance. Trading partners traditionally turned to VANs, or value-added networks, for support. While this move solves the know-how problem, other challenges persist. 

Establishing and maintaining the EDI connection for each trading partner is slow. VANs also often use batch processing which prevents real-time data sharing. Using a VAN requires that carriers and brokers give up some control over their data. Plus, the cost is expensive—and gets higher the more information a company exchanges.

These limitations prompted technology companies to do what they do best—innovate. 

Making EDI Accessible

To keep EDI accessible for companies big and small, the technology needed to evolve. Companies needed the same information delivered through a different model with quicker setups, easier integrations, and better internal controls.

This paved the way for integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) providers and EDI cloud solutions.

iPaaS solutions accelerate digital transformation goals by integrating on-premise and cloud-based systems to create better connectivity for a seamless information exchange. Rather than simply serving as an alternative to VANs, an iPaaS transforms how the process works.

Goodbye VAN Operator

Traditional VANs still set up EDI connections manually, but service outages are common, and visibility is limited.

Think of VANs as dialing an operator to patch through a call. That is an unnecessary step when you can dial someone’s number directly. Using this analogy, the VAN also requires extra time to connect and charges by the word rather than the call.

For companies still using pen and paper, iPaaS technology cuts out the extra step allowing a business to connect directly with any trading partner supporting an interfacing protocol for messages, data, and documents. New cloud-based EDI solutions make adopting the technology easier than ever.

Modern iPaaS technology for EDI:

  • Takes onboarding new partners from weeks to minutes using a simple, accessible interface. 
  • Avoids a transaction-based cost structure making the price predictable every month. 
  • Supports all protocol formats and communication standards to make data mapping simple.
  • Integrates with any back-end system including an ERP, TMS, or accounting platform.
  • Makes scaling easy by automating manual processes, data validation, and processing logic. 

For businesses using legacy EDI systems, the approach modernizes the technology and introduces better scalability and affordability. Plus, the technology makes way for API connections, which are increasingly used to transmit information and must work with existing EDI setups.


This cloud-based approach is ideal for businesses with limited in-house EDI expertise who are working with trading partners lacking EDI skills. Moving to the cloud simplifies EDI management throughout the supply chain and makes the technology more flexible to accommodate different business needs. 


Ultimately, iPaaS and EDI cloud solutions make transmitting accurate data and onboarding partners faster and more efficient—with or without IT support. 


Meet the Motorcity Systems EDI Solution


Motorcity Systems offers WIRE™, a cloud-based EDI solution that seamlessly integrates with partners and internal systems. Rather than a third-party VAN manually managing the work, WIRE™ applies its leading-edge EDI technology to:

  • Digitally map data for end-to-end integrations across every business.
  • Automate manual tasks to accelerate the speed and quality of the information exchanged.
  • Simplify trading partner onboarding with a user-friendly interface requiring a few keystrokes, not lines of code and hours of testing.

Motorcity’s integration platform also leverages TORQUE Integration Network, a middleware integration platform that standardizes the flow of information between different systems. Once a business joins the network, connecting to them is easy. Trading partners avoid the hassle of the traditional customized point-to-point integration. 

One platform. One solution. Unlimited partners and possibilities. WIRE™ offers an innovative approach to EDI implementation, management, and onboarding. 


For more information about WIRE™ or to schedule a demo, visit https://motorcity.systems/solutions/modern-edi/

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