Integration and Management
A California flower and plant vendor to Home Depot needed ultra-reliable EDI due to the seasonality of its business. As the SAP and Sterling B2B Integrator installation was completed, concern focused upon the daily operation of Sterling B2B Integrator. The goal was to meet Home Depot’s and users’ needs and also to reduce cost.
The key concerns were:
- No customer Purchase Order delays
- All Shipment Notices (ASN) sent within an hour of shipment
A managed service approach meant that Sterling B2B Integrator would be monitored twice daily and priority error messages acted upon immediately.
These challenges were difficult to meet because previously, mid-sized vendors were not held to the rigorous reliability standard. Now due to leaner staffing, performance standards are higher. This surprised the plant vendor as they thought themselves to be exempt from the higher performance standard due to the seasonality and consignment basis of their product.
Fortunately, the three foundation stones for Daily EDI Management were already in place:
- SAP Interchange Documents™ (IDocs™) were used for process automation. These standard interfaces mean that the learning time is short.
- Sterling B2B Integrator EDI maps are comprehensive, yet need customization for customers.
- Uniform Code Council interpretation of the ANSI X12 Transaction Sets such as the PO 850, ASN 856, and Invoice 810, not custom documents, are required by Home Depot.
This standardization means that reliability is highest and the array of support widest.
The vendor’s first step was to ask DCS for a remote assessment.
- During it the other customers and their documents were reviewed for troublesome uniquenesses.
- Manual steps that could be automated were listed.
- Data transmission to secure Internet data exchange (according to the EDI INT AS2 protocol) was confirmed.
- Most important, the key challenges and requests of users were analyzed.
The assessment showed that some business processes were not properly coded, causing users to avoid solving EDI related problems. Second, the cost of not solving problems to Home Depot’s satisfaction surprised managers. Process automation, essential to growing plants and flowers, needed to be extended to order processing, but fixed margins prohibited spending.
The result was an implementation plan that included about two weeks of process change and then 1.0 hours of daily support (about 0.5 hour in the morning for inbound PO’s and 0.5 in the afternoon for outbound ASN’s and other documents). Approximately once monthly, 4 to 8 hours are needed to react to customer changes.
Today, EDI operations are smooth and silent. However, when a problem arises such as a hung ASN an error message is automatically generated that is sent to both the I.T. manager and DCS. The messages are prioritized (production down, documents failed, etc). This prioritization prompts DCS to connect and repair quickly.
DCS’ operation of the Sterling B2B Integrator EDI system brings reliable performance and quick repair. Staff now has time to scrutinize orders and implement other SAP modules. Their average weekly cost of monitoring the daily processes is around $500 per week and provides them with cost effective expertise to solve arising issues.
For more information contact us for your Free Assessment.