Case Study: Atkore Navigates EDI System Transition with Precision

Ensuring Business Continuity with Smooth Migration

Leading electrical solutions provider, Atkore Inc., transitions to IDEA Exchange’s EDI Value-Added Network (VAN) platform, supporting the industry, achieving savings, and amplifying efficiency and reliability in critical B2B communications.

Building Better Together

Atkore Inc. is a leading manufacturer of electrical products for commercial, industrial, data center, telecommunications, and solar applications. With 5,600 employees and $3.5B in sales in fiscal year 2023, Atkore delivers sustainable solutions to meet the growing demands of electrification and digital transformation. To learn more, please visit

Case Study Highlights

  • Company: Atkore Inc.
  • Sectors: Electrical, Safety, and infrastructure global manufacturing
  • Solution Provider: IDEA Exchange EDI VAN
  • Key Strategy: Implementing an industry-supported and reliable EDI solution to enhance B2B communications and operations.
  • Seamless EDI system migration with minimal operational impact.
  • Uninterrupted, efficient communications with trading partners.
  • Boost transaction efficiency and data accuracy.
  • Smooth and disruption-free IDEA Exchange platform launch.
  • Enhanced traceability and reliability in supply chain communications.
  • Robust data protection and security measures.
  • Improved service levels via enhanced EDI monitoring and management.
  • Operational excellence with automation and cost savings.
  • Meeting evolving industry and customer demands.

Key Takeaways

Atkore’s switch to the IDEA Exchange EDI VAN platform included a phased migration plan and robust risk management strategies. Guided by IT manager Cherry Conroy, the company’s detailed planning and careful assessment of its operational environment ensured continuous business operations during this crucial transition.

The migration to IDEA Exchange improved Atkore’s operations. With enhanced capabilities to monitor transaction statuses and a searchable archive feature, Atkore was able to elevate its service level.

Atkore’s move to IDEA Exchange reflects its commitment to improving service and supporting the industry’s evolving needs. IDEA Exchange’s robust reliability and security features ensure enhanced data protection and business continuity.


EDI: The Backbone of B2B Communications

At the heart of B2B communications lies Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). It’s the system that companies rely on to electronically exchange business documents, from orders to invoices. EDI streamlines operations, reduces human error, and ensures businesses can talk to one another.

The power of EDI lies in its widespread use and consistency. While its workings might be invisible in daily operations, its presence is indispensable. A glitch in the EDI system can disrupt supply chains and delay essential transactions.

When Atkore’s IT Team considered switching their EDI VAN, they understood that the stakes are high. According to Cherry Conroy, IT Manager at Atkore, the migration of this pivotal system must be seamless and transparent. It must be 100% successful.

“EDI is a fundamental and mission-critical part of our system. Our customers communicate with us via EDI. This is how we electronically exchange data with our customers,” said Conroy. “It was imperative that the migration be successful and with no business downtime.”

After considerable deliberation, Atkore chose to transition to IDEA Exchange. For Atkore’s IT team, the decision to migrate to the IDEA Exchange VAN included:

  • Industry experience
  • Expert support
  • Cost savings
  • Reliability

As Atkore proceeded with implementing IDEA Exchange, the company needed to manage scheduling and strategic decisions about the migration approach. More importantly, Conroy wanted to ensure zero disruptions to operations and customer relations.


Addressing the EDI Migration Challenge: Atkore’s Approach

With its large network of trading partners, Atkore was focused on completing the migration to IDEA Exchange’s VAN while mitigating any risk. Atkore’s EDI team decided to do a phased migration, based on EDI IDs, each tied to specific divisions.

Cherry Conroy, Atkore’s IT manager, stressed the importance of a robust project plan. “A well-defined project plan gives you confidence during migration,” Conroy added. “It’s important to evaluate your environment to determine whether to take a total migration or phased approach.”

Though every company’s EDI migration is tailored to its specific requirements, industry best practices provide a valuable roadmap. These guidelines, provided by EDI standards organizations IDEA and X12, can be a helpful tool in planning. 


Get the full picture by listing all EDI transactions, trading partners, and associated VANs in the organization.

Planning & Analysis

Document findings from the discovery phase and outline future steps. Then, make strategic choices on the migration process.

  • Total Migration Method: Also known as flash migration, this transitions trading partners all at once. It’s quick, efficient, and is often preferred due to the interconnected nature of VAN traffic.
  • Phased Migration Method: This divides the migration into segments, often based on EDI IDs or divisions. It can allow for more control, however, it can also prolong migration. 


Successful implementation includes clear communication and timing with all parties. During the hypercare phase, IDEA monitors traffic to avoid issues with routing or missing documents. With excellent support, migration can be seamless with minor issues resolved quickly.

—Cherry Conroy, IT Manager at Atkore


From Hesitation to Triumph: Atkore’s EDI VAN Journey with IDEA Exchange

Transitioning a mission-critical function like an EDI VAN is a big step for any manufacturer or distributor, yet Atkore’s team was confident that the potential benefits outweighed the concerns. 

  • Improved Traceability: Atkore now has enhanced capabilities to monitor transaction statuses, elevating their service level.
  • Searchable Archive: This feature is beneficial for document management, especially for the company’s power users.
  • Consistent Reliability: As a Tier 1 VAN, IDEA Exchange has provided a dependable experience, ensuring seamless EDI operations. IDEA Exchange has 99% uptime. 
  • Top-Notch Service: Atkore’s Conroy noted excellent support during and post-migration, reflecting IDEA’s reputation for premium service.
  • Efficient Automation: With IDEA Exchange’s industry ownership and experience, Atkore has had seamless automation of the Quote-to-Cash process, realizing cost savings and continued efficiency. 

“The IDEA Exchange system is stable and reliable. The document search feature stands out. The application runs smoothly and has been helpful to our IT team and power users,” said Cherry Conroy, Atkore’s IT Manager.

  • Proactive Operations: Advanced tracking and search functions offer faster issue management, improving EDI efficiencies.
  • Swift Migration: 95% of installations are finalized in just a few days.
  • Flexible Document Handling: The capability to handle a variety of document types ensures uninterrupted transactions.
  • Enhanced Data Accuracy: Leveraging IDEA’s sophisticated product data enables faster and more accurate transactions.
  • Transparent Pricing: Pay only by the kilo-character. No fees for partner onboarding, unlimited connections to major VANs, archiving, restoration, and beyond.
  • Redundancy: IDEA Exchange’s state-of-the-art technology and fully redundant data centers ensure business continuity, even in the face of potential disasters.
  • Robust Security: IDEA’s commitment to data protection is evident with protection measures such as firewalls and encryption.

Atkore’s decision to transition its VAN provider, though approached with caution, has set the company on a path of enhanced efficiency and reliability. Atkore is now seeing the rewards of the IDEA Exchange EDI VAN platform.

—Cherry Conroy, IT Manager at Atkore

IDEA Exchange Retains 98% of Customers for Good Reason

IDEA has extensive experience in eBusiness. It’s our mission to make it easy for manufacturers to expand product content, EDI automation, and become more competitive.

  • 20+ Years of Experience
  • EDI VAN & Managed Services
  • Professional Services Team
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  • Best in Class Customer Service
  • Distribution and Manufacturing Experience

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