What is EDI?

CVS Corporation is committed to the continuous improvement of all its business processes. This dedication has resulted in an initiative toward electronic communications both within the company and with business-to-business relationships. Such electronic communications with our suppliers and trading partners are accomplished via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Put simply, EDI is about doing business and carrying out transactions with your trading partners electronically. EDI covers most things that are done using paper based communication, for example placing orders with suppliers and carrying out financial transactions. This is why the term `paperless trading' is often used to describe EDI. More formally EDI is described as the interchange of structured data according to agreed message standards between computer systems, by electronic means. Structured data equates to an unambiguous method of presenting the data content of a document, be it an invoice, order or any other document type. The method of ensuring the correct interpretation of the information by the computer system is defined by the standard. Electronic exchange of information in the context of pure EDI effectively means without human intervention. EDI may seem difficult to distinguish from electronic mail (e-mail) as both involve the transmission of electronic messages between computer systems. What differentiates EDI from e-mail is the internal structure and content of the data message. The content of an e-mail message is not intended to be processed in any way by the receiving system, whereas EDI messages are intended for and are therefore structured for automatic processing.

EDI provides a flexible and industry-recognized standard for transmitting an extensive selection of electronic commerce documents. This benefits all parties involved by reducing the high operational costs of paper driven processes and systems. Today, all purchase orders and invoices related to Merchandising are transmitted through the EDI systems, and new potential suppliers must have EDI capabilities prior to conducting business with CVS. Other departments currently benefiting from EDI processes include Pharmacy, Accounts Payable and Imports.

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