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Off-Shore Conversion Eliminated Costly Errors

ENI-JR286, an importer and distributor of consumer products sold through mass merchants uses Oracle’s E-Business Suite™ (E-BS). They approached Data Communication Solutions (DCS) to convert its B2B document exchange to use the EDI and XML Gateway (IBM Gentran:Server™ for Microsoft Windows Server 201x™).  Previously, they used a custom extract-transfer-load (ETL) process written by an overseas company that did not know E-BS.  They were database specialists (not E-BS specialists) who underestimated the complexity required by mass merchants.

The Problem

A custom ETL is ineffective due to the number of fields in a B2B document (about 75) and the custom codes for each field (about 10). There is no way to trim these counts because B2B is with key customers that are very large companies and not at all flexible.

Additionally, the off-shore team did not attach importance to meeting the exacting customer requirements on-time, consistently. This cultural difference meant that improvement from a partially functioning process was difficult.

The ETL was supported by several manual steps in the order, shipment notice, and invoice processes. This added to numerous errors and delays. More discrepancies included:

  • New stores were not set in Oracle before the orders arrived
  • Testing done on a laptop was inaccurate (testing must be done on the server)
  • WS_FTP license expired (unnoticed)
  • Illegal control characters were embedded when customer service Control-Copy/Paste to set-up new items
  • Mailbox explicitly named a server, rather than a local pointer

The Challenge

A key challenge was the realization that improved B2B processes, though costly when the fashion item sold poorly, had a great pay-off when the product was hot. An effective and reliable B2B document exchange meant more time to produce. It also meant lower operating cost.

ENI’s biggest challenge was eliminating all the manual changes to the orders that were being done by the off-shore team. Each order was handled differently with various scripts. Some were run partially, some with wrong data, etc.  There was no consistency.

The second challenge was eliminating orders that were lost or not processed immediately. ENI was getting numerous chargebacks due to shipments arriving without the proper Bill of Lading.

DCS Solution
ENI chose DCS’ PROMPT™ Remote Support because no monthly minimum was required.  To meet the budget, 20 hours of weekly support was chosen. Our DCS EDI Specialist assisted ENI to bring their off-shore work in-house, working closely with their I.T. team to manage numerous EDI tasks with weekly status meetings.

Gentran:Server has the ability to do a lot of processes automatically, however ENI was not utilizing its full capability. To solve the challenge of eliminating manual changes DCS evaluated all manual changes and output in order to consolidate the various processes. From this evaluation a script was then created to run automatically without human intervention.  Now orders happen immediately, going out within 15 minutes.

Previously, processes were manually copied from the Oracle server to the Gentran server. DCS eliminated the need for a person to do this by setting up a FTP between the two servers and set it up to talk to the VAN to pull the files and put into Gentran. Gentran’s automation scheduler is now working 24/7 offering a faster response time, eliminating human error.

Due to automating their processes, ENI is now getting alerts of any issues with the server or as errors occurs, allowing ENI’s management teams to handle any issues immediately.

The result? Reliably went way up, lost orders were reduced, and chargebacks decreased.

Companies using E-BS get more productivity and profit by using the EDI and XML gateways.  These make sales order management, shipping notices, and very accurate invoices more effective and reliable.

What is your experience with these gateways?  What merchant ordered changes are you grappling with?

DCS’ EDI Specialists are experts in helping companies get the most out of their EDI gateways. Contact us at info@dcsedi.com to learn more on how you can reduce your costs.