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What is EDI? EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is the application-to-application exchange of formatted data between enterprises via a communications link. EDI is also how we communicate all customer and vendor sales processing to and from our back-end EPICOR ERP. So, we might connect with trading partners, using Flat Files, HL7, EDIFACT, etc., but for processing through our back-end servers, our E-Commerce servers parse and map those communications to ANSI-X12 EDI v4010 files and from ANSI-X12 EDI v4010 files, back to our trading partners' communications protocol.
  • An application is a computer program. Materials Management, Purchasing and ERP systems are examples of applications.
  • Application-to-application exchange means that data goes from one program to the other automatically, untouched by human hands.
  • Formatted data is information arranged so that a computer program can read it.
  • Between enterprises usually means between businesses, such as nursing homes sending orders to First Choice Medical Supply. Government agencies or divisions of the same company can also be enterprises.
  • A Communications Link is typically the Internet, possibly using a secure tunnel, but can also be a direct connection.
Every document in the sales cycle has an EDI equivalent. EDI documents are known by their numbers. The standard EDI documents that First Choice Medical Supply uses are:
  • Price/Sales Catalog (832)
  • Purchase Order (850)
  • PO Confirmation (855)
  • Advance Ship Notice (856)
  • Invoice (810)
  • Acknowledgment (997)
  • Sales Tracing/Rebate Request (867)
  • Payment Advice (820)

Q. How do I know if my customer is capable of doing EDI?
A. Ask the customer, "Are you doing EDI with other vendors?" and "Is your Materials Management or Purchasing System connected to your EDI software?" If both answers are yes, your customer is EDI-capable. If the answer to the second question is no, your customer will be better off placing orders on our

Q. Who will need to be involved with EDI setup at the customer?
A. Materials Management or Purchasing usually handles the day to day operations, but the customer's IS/IT department will need to be involved in the initial setup.

Q. Will my customer's EDI software work with First Choice Medical Supply?
A. Probably. EDI is a standard, so software that's capable of producing EDI documents for one vendor will probably work with others. Ask the customer is the software can be configured to connect to more than one vendor. If so, it will probably work with us.

Q. How long does it take to get set up?
A. Setup and testing usually take around 5-10 days, but can be as quick as less than a day.

Q. What kind of turnaround can I expect for confirmations?
A. Confirms take, on average, about two hours to go out.

Q. Who should the customer call if problems come up?
A. Most questions are about an order itself, not the way it was placed. So the customer should call our EDI Customer Service (866-903-9938).

Setup & Testing
  1. Have your EDI hardware & software installed & tested.
  2. Talk to First Choice Medical Supply's EDI Team to decide which transaction sets you need & tell them your basic EDI information (ISA Qualifer, ISA ID, GS ID, VAN, etc.)
  3. Test your communications capability by sending a Purchase Order (850) to First Choice Medical Supply. That PO should be for a single item, one that you order frequently.
  4. First Choice Medical Supply will post your PO to its system to make sure that the data and formats are correct (the order should not ship). If changes are needed, your EDI contact will discuss them with you.
  5. First Choice Medical Supply will send a PO Confirmation (855) to confirm your test PO. You should process this confirmation in your system to make sure your setup is correct and that the 855 gives you the information you need. If all is well, you're ready to send live orders.
  6. First Choice Medical Supply will test EDI Invoices (810s) after the first few POs & Confirmations have been successfully processed. First Choice Medical Supply will send test 810s that duplicate the paper invoices until we both agree that the invoice data is complete and correct. Paper invoices will then be discontinued.
We want EDI to be a tool to increase sales and improve customer relationships. So please call our EDI team at 866-903-9938 with any questions that come up. We welcome calls from both sales reps and customers.

Questions about orders should be directed to Customer Service when all transactions are tested and running.
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