EDI expressed need
Some buyers requested EDI exchange of order and invoicing data. A third party, SPS Commerce, provided EDI translation of EDI data through a web based product (Webforms). This allowed the client-supplier to manually receive EDI orders by entering the relevant information into the ERP system. EDI invoices were issued manually through the Webforms system.
This process lead to inefficiencies, errors, repeat work and stress to meet client order and invoicing deadlines. It became obvious very quickly that an in-house integration of EDI data would resolve many problems.
EDI implementation considerations
At the beginning only one client-buyer requested EDI implementation. There were other clients just about to request EDI. The significant expense of developing in-house EDI integration made the decision to go-ahead difficult. A secondary product provided by SPS turned out to be a major motivator for doing the implementation immediately.
Scan & Pack for EDI
Along with their EDI interface SPS also provided a Scan & Pack solution for the warehouse. SPS already had all the order information which would serve as input into the Scan & Pack process. This system produces picking sheets, manages the packing of orders and produces EDI documents and labels for shipping.
The system also manages cross-dock orders where one large order needs to be packaged for distribution to multiple locations. All EDI documents and labels for shipping are produced for these individual orders as well.
Scan & Pack for non EDI orders
Most orders were non EDI. While these orders did not generate most of the revenue they did generate most of the work. The 80-20 rule applied here. 20% of the orders (by revenue) generated 80% of the work.
The decision was made to integrate these orders into the SPS Scan & Pack system. The in-house integration would need to generate documents which the SPS system could understand. SPS provided specifications for these documents and a transfer system which would make them look like EDI documents. SPS could now allow these extra orders to be folded into the Scan & Pack stream.
The client now had a uniform order processing solution for all orders.