Milestone AV Technologies is the leading global provider of innovative mounting and display solutions for various audiovisual technologies.  Their innovative products, sold principally under the Chief, Sanus, Da-Lite, and Projecta brand names, are sold through numerous channels, including Pro AV dealers, regional home theater dealers, consumer electronics retailers, mass merchants and original equipment manufacturers.  For example, they provide components for connection of an iPad to a large TV for viewing Net Flix. The Company currently serves a broad base of over 4,500 global customers.

Milestone has grown and remains profitable by acquiring carefully selected companies. To set the foundation for improvement and growth Milestone moved to SAP ERP™.  Growth by acquiring companies meant Milestone had to convert the acquired company’s business applications while maintaining key customer satisfaction.  Among the many steps was the conversion of the EDI or B2B document exchange.  Effective, reliable, fast, secure, and economical EDI has been a foundation stone for Milestone.  Milestone chose IBM’s Gentran and Data Communication Solutions (DCS) to thoroughly and promptly convert the acquired companies’ EDI including:

  • Inbound Customer Purchase Orders (X12 850)
  • Outbound P.O. Acknowledgements (Confirmation, 855)
  • Outbound Shipment Notices (ASN, 856)
  • Outbound Invoices (810)
  • And other business documents to support purchasing, transport, and marketing data.

The Challenge and Result

As often happens during an acquisition, the acquired companies’ EDI team did not know SAP or Gentran. Due to DCS’ experience with various systems and customers’ requirement the conversion support we provided ensured no disruption with key customers’ document exchange while converting their systems to Milestone’s.  DCS also assisted in moving some customers from pricey EDI networks to direct, secure connections conforming to the AS2 and FTPS protocols.

The hurdle most often solved was EDI variances among companies’ acquired patterns of EDI for the same customer.  The variations were due to special concessions that evolved over the years.  All were very beneficial needed to be retained.  The capturing of these variations occurred at the discovery and analysis step because DCS used a data analysis tool. For example, a key customer Best Buy has EDI that varies between operations: Best Buy Stores,, Best Buy Canada, and Best Buy Mexico.  Another example is the variances between the parcel carriers FedEx, UPS, and USPS for delivery notices/refusal notices.

The result was greater margin through automatically spotting incorrect prices and discounts.  Second, accurate invoices meant faster payments.  Additional savings included capped headcount and a wider shipping window.  Now, Milestone has the correct components if they decide to move to the cloud.

Are you in the midst of, or considering acquiring a company? DCS is ready to help you!  Contact us to set a Free Assessment and let us assist you in ensuring critical steps are not missed.