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Everything You Need to Know About Value-Added Networks and the Benefits of Outsourcing EDI

Communication is crucial for businesses, and in the modern age, 99% of B2B communication is electronic.

Companies of all sizes send and receive massive amounts of data every day. A value-added network (VAN) is a medium for fast, secure communication between businesses.

If you’re considering using EDI in your business, you will most likely need to use a VAN to be compliant with your trading partners. This article will explain what a VAN is and how you can benefit from it.

What is a Value-Added Network?

A VAN, or value-added network, is a private network that businesses contract for electronic data interchange (EDI). In addition to EDI, VANs are also used to facilitate other network services.

VANs have been in use for decades – well before the internet revolutionized the way people and businesses communicate. VANs use technology that doesn’t require an internet connection, allowing consistent communication to areas of the world where internet service isn’t reliable.

However, many VAN providers today offer a hybrid solution of web-based EDI, EDI via AS2, and other standard methods. Most companies using EDI will end up exchanging EDI data over a variety of channels, depending on the requirements from their trading partners.

You might be surprised, but most EDI is still exchanged through a VAN.

A typical VAN service includes:

  • Mailbox for retrieving EDI data
  • Authentication of EDI messages to ensure validity
  • Stored archives of past EDI transactions
  • Custom notifications to alert you when new EDI messages are received

At BOLD VAN, we offer even more value by providing:

  • Automatic backups of EDI data
  • EDI compliance
  • Access to EDI data from any device through our web portal, BOLD Manager

Now that you know the basics of a VAN, let’s look at why thousands of businesses use them.

Why Should Your Business Use an EDI VAN?

There’s a lot to love about using a VAN – from saving time and money to enhancing business relationships.

VANs Optimize Business Operations

Manual document processing is a chore that wastes time and labor. Using a VAN dramatically speeds up the process.

Rather than mailing paper documents and waiting days (or weeks) for your business partners to receive them, you can send an electronic version of the document in seconds.

What does that mean for your business?

Faster supply chain operations and shorter cash-to-order cycles!

While saving money and getting paid quicker are both nice, the other benefit is improved business relationships. One slow vendor can cause delays throughout an entire supply chain. No one wants to be that slow vendor!

Improved Communication

The other major issue with manual data entry is the amount of room for human errors. Of course, you can never fully eliminate human errors when humans are involved on some level. However, you can drastically lower them by electronically automating your processes.

VANs make it easier to send documents with accurate data and to ensure they’re correctly converted to the appropriate format, without losing quality (Learn more about EDI Protocols).

A VAN also allows you and your trading partners monitor EDI transactions in real-time, ensuring everyone is up-to-date and on the same page.

Outsourcing is Cost-Effective

Between the chunk of capital required to get setup and the hassles of ongoing maintenance and upgrades – building a VAN isn’t cost-effective for small and medium-sized businesses.

On the other hand, outsourcing to a VAN provider is very affordable, especially if you partner with the right VAN.

Companies that switch to BOLD VAN (from another EDI VAN provider) save up to 80% on their monthly EDI costs – thanks to our Trading Partner Pricing.

Plus, our cloud-based service scales with your business. Our service is cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.

Ongoing EDI Support

EDI is a simple technology with many complex components. As a BOLD VAN customer, you’d never know it because we handle all of the technical things for you.

However, the ongoing maintenance, upgrades, and general tech support required to keep your EDI transactions smoothly flowing isn’t something that excites stakeholders.

Signing up to use our VAN is more than a service to exchange EDI – you get ongoing support from a team of EDI experts who have been doing this for nearly three decades. We spend significant time optimizing our value-added network and staying updated on new compliance requirements, so you can focus on running your business.

If your business needs a VAN, or you’re tired of overpaying for your current service, let our team take over so you can get back to the areas of your business that matter most.