Self-Serve EDI reads and organizes data sent via EDI, allowing Transfix to onboard shippers in a matter of days
EDI – electronic data interchange – is a file format, like txt or doc, that shippers use to communicate back and forth with brokers and carriers. While EDI is the industry standard in logistics and healthcare, other industries use API (application programming interface) to communicate, which provides a more real-time data exchange. You might think of EDI like snail mail in that the sender doesn’t know exactly when the data has been delivered.
But everyone knows that data shared between shippers and carriers – such as the BOL number, pick up times, delivery locations, notification of tender acceptance, and/or shipment status – must be communicated perfectly and quickly in order for the shipment to move on time and in full.
What has historically been difficult and time-consuming for shippers is integrating their TMS with various carrier systems to accurately and quickly exchange information via EDI.
“So few people actually understand what happens to the files during this transaction,” said Jonathan Salama, Co-founder and CTO of Transfix. “We wanted to make sure we don’t take a month of an engineer’s time or push a shipper to hire an IT person. How do we offer some flexibility to shippers to better understand their own EDI?”
Ashwin Kommajesula, Manager of Software Engineering at Transfix, has been directing his team to build Transfix Self-Serve EDI, a tool that reads and organizes the data sent via EDI and allows Transfix to onboard shippers in a matter of days – and it’s only getting faster. Also instrumental in building this revolutionary tool are Integration Engineer Alex Dean and Senior Integration Specialist Scott Deffke.
“In the past, to onboard one shipper, we had to dedicate one engineer for two to four weeks. Because each shipper’s EDI files look different, we were not able to use the same code to parse these files. But now, with the Self-Serve EDI, we have been able to significantly cut the time needed to develop these systems so we can integrate more shippers faster,” Kommajesula said.
Essentially, Transfix is combining antiquated tech (EDI) with very cutting-edge tech (AI), meanwhile improving shippers’ current integration technology without them having to lift a finger.
“We’re not going to change the fact that our industry still uses EDI instead of API, but this is the first gate we’re opening to a whole set of new opportunities,” Salama continued. “In the future, you might see us integrating AI and ChatGPT and other systems to completely automate the work without human intervention.”
Self-Serve EDI is a win for both Transfix and shippers. For logistics managers eager to move shipments more efficiently, Transfix is now able to help them save weeks-worth of time as well as provide easier access to freight-matching services and experts. Meanwhile, Transfix engineers doing the onboarding and the account managers manually creating shipments are able to allocate their time and creativity to a wider range of shippers and projects.
“Going forward, account managers will not need to know or understand code to onboard shippers,” said Dean. “It’s all self-serve and it will take a fraction of the time – ideally two to three days.”
Shippers in queue for an EDI integration with Transfix will be onboarded more quickly, with less time in the queue, and once integrated, shippers enjoy faster response and resolution of any EDI problems arising out of such things as out-of-date documentation. Shippers looking to automate communication with brokers and carriers – and trust that their cargo is in good hands – click here for more information.
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