WebEDI Add-On Tools Improve Productivity

DataTrans WebEDI is a great productivity tool for companies requiring a simple EDI solution that complies with trading partner requirements.  However, there’s more to the solution than meets the eye. Over the years we have added many enhancements to make the EDI process more efficient for our customers. Features such as Auto-Pack, Document Associations, Smart Filters and Document Defaults are designed to reduce the number of steps required to process EDI messages.  These improvements provide a more useful data management tool.

In addition to these capabilities, DataTrans has developed a set of optional “Add-ons” which provide even more functionality in certain areas.  The WebEDI QuickBooks Integration creates a link between your QuickBooks and WebEDI allowing integration of information between your accounting system and WebEDI. Thus, purchase orders can be imported into QuickBooks and invoices can be exported from QuickBooks to WebEDI to be validated and sent.  This allows for integration with WebEDI without the need for expensive EDI software.

DataTrans also can provide a Web Services link to UPS and FedEx to allow you to import shipping information into your ASN’s. Each is a separate utility (one for FedEx and one for UPS), but this solution saves the time of rekeying vital shipping information and expedites the process of creating accurate Advance Ship Notices. One more step to bringing the whole process together in one cohesive e-commerce management tool.

These Add-ons provide tremendous benefits in further automation and integration.  We are constantly working on features and improvements to make our customers more efficient. If you would like to learn more about WebEDI or these Add-on’s, contact DataTrans at sales@datatrans-inc.com.

Compliance Networks and DataTrans Solutions Partnership Offers Improved Supply Chain Performance

EDI Solutions Integration to Drive Cost Efficiency in the Extended Supply Chain

Sugar Land & The Woodlands TX (PRWEB) February 27, 2013

Compliance Networks, the leading provider of vendor performance optimization solutions and DataTrans Solutions Inc., the industry-leading B2B supply chain network, announced an integrated and strategic partnership that will drive EDI collaboration and further cost efficiencies in the retail supply chain.

“It’s a natural fit”, explained Greg Holder, CEO of Compliance Networks.  “Our clients and partners are one in the same.  Both of our teams have been focusing on optimization of our core competencies and it was a client that did the match making.”

Mike Franks, President of DataTrans, states “The integration and automation of processes will further drive down the costs and time associated with the order to cash process.  It will benefit both retailers and their supplier partners.”

As of today, the combined solution is live and in production.  The companies expect this to be the first step in many to integrate solutions to the benefit of the retail industry.

About DataTrans Solutions Inc.
DataTrans Solutions Inc. delivers customer centric supply chain and EDI outsourced services in retail distribution, energy, process manufacturing, and healthcare industries. We offer a comprehensive on-demand hosted platform that allows clients to CLICK TO CONNECT™. Our Mission is to provide constantly improving B2B and data management services to allow our customers to operate at peak efficiency. We operate with integrity to provide our services in a responsive and respectful manner. We will leverage our knowledge and technology to provide the most appropriate and efficient B2B solutions for our customers. The company is privately owned and has been profitably grown since it was founded in 1998. DataTrans is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas.

About Compliance Networks
Compliance Networks is a leading provider of vendor compliance and supply chain visibility solutions for the entire PO LifeCycle. CN solutions enable retailers to optimize flow with leaner supply chain and make informed supply chain decisions. The net result is increased customer satisfaction, profitability, and shareholder value. Compliance Networks’ suite of retail-centric vendor compliance and distribution management solutions drive continuous performance improvement throughout the extended supply chain. Since 2000, Compliance Networks has offered best-in-class vendor compliance optimization and supplier performance management solutions enabling retail enterprises to make informed supply chain decisions. Compliance Networks is proud to serve leading retailers such as Kohl’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Pep Boys, Stein Mart, The Sports Authority, Bon-Ton Stores Corporation, Bob’s Stores and others.

Mark Cuban s Shark Tank Investment Kisstixx is EDI ready just in time for Valentines

The new and innovative lip balm company, Kisstixx, which creates a chemical reaction when two complementary pairs meet and secrete, has opened themselves to the retail supply chain.  Inventors and entrepreneurs, Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo, plugged into the retail EDI supply chain with DataTrans Solutions Inc.  The DataTrans canonical EDI network opens Kisstixx up to be responsive to big retailers with configured integration in the ordering, shipping and payment systems of more than a thousand major retailer buyers.  The fast growing company has an experienced EDI team on their side to comply with the requirements of their clients including Winn-Dixie, Kmart, Fry’s, Associated Food Stores and Party City.

The DataTrans team welcomes our new partners.  We look forward to assisting Kisstixx in their growth, allowing them to scale efficiently.  Our clients growth and success drives our spirit as supply chain professionals.

Watch them close Mark Cuban for $200,000 on Shark Tank below

 

 

Learn more about scaling a business with an EDI service for retailers.

 

 

EDI Testing Fees One Step from the Grave

Last week SaveMart Supermarkets, a 240 store innovative regional grocery chain in Northern California, presented a case study at the VCF conference on the effectiveness of the Infoborders no-fee EDI testing platform.   The results: 300% (3x) improvement in time on moving supplier into EDI production.  Feedback from suppliers:  “I used it and it was easy and user friendly. One of the best self-testing service web I have ever used!”  “Testing with you was one of the easiest tests I’ve ever performed.  My greatest pleasure was not having to go through SPS Commerce or one of the other organizations that charge an arm and a leg.”  “With Save Mart, I was able to test at my speed (which is a get_it_done speed) and it was totally painless.  Everyone I dealt with through emails was helpful and professional.  Keep up the good work.”

Title: Utilizing new industry tools to gain efficiencies in managing suppliers  Description: Case Study: Like many growing regional grocery retailers, Save Mart needs to do more with less in order to compete with larger national retailers.  The thin margin and high volume grocery business is particularly sensitive to supply chain exceptions, errors, and costs.  Learn how Save Mart is utilizing cloud based no cost EDI testing, on-boarding, and performance management tools to cut costs, exceptions, and errors in working with its 2,000 active suppliers.  Hear about their success and what’s next for this 240 store grocery chain.

 

Datatrans Solutions Welcomes Kenrick Roberts to Support Team

DataTrans Solutions

Organization continues pledge to build dream team of industry professionals

The Woodlands, TX – May 08, 2012DataTrans Solutions Inc., the industry-leading B2B supply chain network, announced the addition of Kenrick Roberts to the Support Team.  Mr. Roberts will be responsible for the implementation, training, and on-going support of the fast growing client base.

Mr. Roberts brings over 13 years of experience in supporting EDI transactions, communications, translation, and integration. His experience started with Sterling Commerce (now a division of IBM), working with Gentran and supporting large retailers such as Wal-Mart, AAFES, Best Buy, and Target.  He then moved into the healthcare distribution space supporting EDI for Biovail with trading partners that included McKesson, and Owens & Minor.  Most recently, Kenrick expanded his experience in the banking industry with the Bank of Montreal and with consulting work with 3PLs.

“We are excited to have Kenrick on board.  He is an asset to the organization and is already appreciated by our clients and their customers / EDI trading partners” said Mike Franks, President. “His reputation and all-around high energy personality is exactly the type of support team member that is vital to our small company.”

“I am impressed with the leadership, vision, and the comprehensive multi-tenant cloud EDI solution, said Kenrick. “It is a unique and scalable system built from the ground up.  I’m excited to be part of a team bringing game changing solutions to market.  It’s fun and I get the flexibility of being connected to a decentralized organization.”

It’s not the first time Kenrick worked with some of the members of DataTrans.  He was known and recommended for his leading support role at Owens Direct LLC.

Mr. Roberts is located in the Toronto Canada area.

 

About DataTrans Solutions Inc.

DataTrans Solutions Inc. delivers customer centric supply chain and EDI outsourced services in retail distribution, energy, process manufacturing, and healthcare industries.  We offer a comprehensive on-demand hosted platform that allows clients to CLICK TO CONNECT.  Our Mission is to provide constantly improving B2B and data management services to allow our customers to operate at peak efficiency. We operate with integrity to provide our services in a responsive and respectful manner. We will leverage our knowledge and technology to provide the most appropriate and efficient B2B solutions for our customers.  The company is privately owned and has been profitably grown since it was founded in 1998. DataTrans is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas.

# # #

EDI in China Locally Supported by DataTrans

Ni hao EDI Partners (the extent of my Chinese),

The DataTrans team is excited to announce expanded services of local China based support!

Our first Asia office was put in place to meet the requests of our North American retail partners who needed an easy, low cost, and reliable way to connect China based suppliers.

The supply chain begins in China.   China is the manufacturer to the world.  DataTrans sees a universe of opportunity in China for connecting supplier electronically to share business data.  It opens up new challenges for translation and integration.  But in a business environment that is still dominated with manual paper processes and far reaching Internet connectivity, it is ripe to quickly show benefits in EDI connectivity.

DATA TRANS致力于为广大客户提供高质量,准时并准确的EDI以及B2B外包方案,尤其为我们的客户提供EDI代理的服务,这样我们的客户就能更好的专注于公司内部运作。

简单易学,方便用户使用的网络系统。用户所需仅是网络和邮件即可使用。价格合理,快速上手,不需要了解任何EDI的技术知识。方便北美任何一家EDI支持的客户,以及部分欧洲客户,亚洲区域即将开始

Contact info

Tel: +86 755 86289662

Email: china@datatrans-inc.com

Website: www.datatrans-inc.com

china EDI web

What does Click to Connect EDI mean for small companies?

It means that we, the DataTrans team, understands small business needs and challenges and focus on ways to level the supply chain playing field with the larger multinationals.

While some of the larger EDI industry vendors like to dazzle their clients with massive applications that do 100 extra neat tricks that no one will ever have time to implement, DataTrans focuses on where can we bring the most value for the smaller competitor.   The big guys talk about visibility and collaboration throughout the entire order to cash process lifecycle to give you the perfect purchase order.  That is fine if you are a supply chain intellectual at P&G.  But our clients don’t want to try to express the grief to a support rep in the Philippians of why they cannot pick and pack a shipment to match the original purchase order.  DataTrans clients know they have a supply chain partner who they can trust to handle their mission critical supply chain transactions.

Yesterday we get a call from a small company who is comparing us to one of our competitors.   The potential client told us that we were $15 more expensive a month then the competitor.  This was after we made our presentation and short demonstration.  We understand thin margins especially in the grocery space but from this statement it was obvious that this person has never done B2B EDI before.   And these are the types of clients that we like to refer to our competitors.

Fifteen dollars in value can be eaten up in one phone call.  What is the value of losing a purchase order?  Or not being able to complete a difficult ASN (advance ship notice) in time?  Or missing non-compliant labels?  A truck load of bad labels could cost $30-40K in chargebacks.  How about one’s time, or losing a client, or not being able to handle a new clients requirements in time?   Fifteen dollar, eh?  How does that saying go?  The most valuable lessons are often the most expensive.

Perhaps our competitor says the same thing and they are not only less expensive they are better.  So prove it.  But how?  What are the right questions to ask?  We have a couple of tools to help you ask the right questions.  Click here for a 20 question online RFP builder and click here for the top 8 questions to ask a potential EDI provider.

Being small business owners ourselves we have come to realize the unique and innate decision making talents that successful small business owners possess.    Check out our case studies for some of these high growth business owners.  At DataTrans, EDI is our life and Click to Connect™ is all our client needs to know about EDI.

EDI Integration with Quickbooks

EDI Integration with QuickBooksQuickBooks is currently the most popular small business accounting system on the market and has been for some time now. With the various versions of QuickBooks (Manufacturing, Retail, Point of Sale, etc.) it has expanded to support multiple industries and provides a variety of add-on solutions. The program has become a key tool for many small and start up businesses. It has grown in capabilities and architecture to the point where some fairly good sized companies still utilize QuickBooks.  Many of these businesses also require EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in order to conduct business with their customers and other trading partners. However, integrating EDI with Quickbooks presents some challenges.

EDI integration with Quickbooks requires the use of a form of XML proprietary to Intuit called qbXML (QuickBooks Extensible Markup Language). So, it is not typical EDI mapping where you may have a map that translates ASNI X12 850’s or other EDI transactions sets to a flat file to be imported into an ERP system. Intuit provides a Development Tool Kit that allows for the creation of qbXML streams utilizing modern programming languages such as the Microsoft’s .Net architecture and Web Services as part of its integration process. In order to obtain access to the QuickBooks SDK and Intuit’s Development Portal you need to be a part of the Intuit Developer Network. Bottom line is QuickBooks integration is not simple EDI mapping that a small business can easily do.

The good news is that some EDI companies like DataTrans are members of the Intuit Developer Network and have the infrastructure built to help companies make the integration with QuickBooks relatively simple. In fact, DataTrans WebEDI utilizes WebServices and its own in-house QuickBooks Connector to create a direct tie into QuickBooks that is relatively seamless. The QuickBooks Integrator uses the QuickBooks SDK’s Foundation Class to generate QBXML streams that are compatible with the different versions of QuickBooks and provides the end-user with a streamlined solution for integrating their EDI with QuickBooks.

By integrating your EDI solution with QuickBooks, you reduce the amount of time spent rekeying data between the two systems and streamline your business processes significantly. Make sure you evaluate EDI integration capabilities of any EDI vendor you are considering, especially if you use QuickBooks.

EDI 101: What is EDI?

Many business owners are unfamiliar with the world of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) until first informed that they will be required to trade EDI by a major customer or trading partner. In fact, for a number of business owners this may be the first time they’ve ever heard of the technology. In our ongoing EDI 101 series we examine the basics of EDI in order to help business owners, IT managers and marketing teams get a handle on this important and prominent type of ecommerce.

What is EDI? Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the process of transmitting business documents electronically utilizing a standardized data format. Even more simply, EDI is a structured exchange of business data between two different computer systems. It is meant to replace the use of faxing or mailing in the transmission of business document such as purchase orders, invoices and ship notices.

Who uses it? EDI is used by countless businesses, government agencies and healthcare centers around the world. In the United States EDI is probably best known for its role in the retail sector. Most major retailers have leveraged EDI for use in their supply chain operations and now mandate some level of EDI compliance from their supplier base. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (better known as HIPAA) also established EDI as a major technology in the healthcare industry, where it is used to transmit patient and subscriber information between healthcare providers and insurance companies. EDI is the most prominent method of ecommerce in business to business relationships.

Why do I need to use it? Trading business data via EDI is less expensive and also less time consuming than traditional paper documents. EDI allows document processing to be automated, saving both time and money. There are less errors caused by the rekeying of data and the gains in efficiency allow individual suppliers to be paid faster than if they were sending paper invoices.

By requiring their suppliers to be EDI compliant, companies ensure that all documents they receive arrive with a standard data layout. This allows companies to process each document in the same manner, saving time and removing complexity. Many trading partners will be willing to fax purchase orders to a new supplier for a time, but as a supplier’s volume grows the trading partner may begin to implement fees for each document sent by a means other than EDI. EDI is no longer an option for companies aiming to be competitive in today’s market.

What is required to do EDI? In order to be considered EDI compliant a company must be able to send and receive data in the EDI format required by their trading partner. Business data produced by one party’s internal systems is translated into the correct EDI format by a process known as mapping. Generally speaking, a business needs four components in order to trade EDI:

  • EDI mapping software to translate their data to the correct format as well as to read the data they receive.
  • A data communications component to allow for the secure exchange of business data electronically
  • An electronic connection to their trading partners.

When combined, these tools provide the infrastructure needed to successfully maintain a production EDI environment. Of course, many small and midsize businesses lack the in-house resources needed to maintain an EDI system on their own. These companies often find the expertise of an EDI service provider, such as DataTrans, an invaluable asset in maintaining compliance with their trading partner’s requirements.

Next week we’ll take a look at the most commonly used EDI documents and examine EDI naming conventions.

Retail EDI Case Study – Sherpani

sherpani resized 600

Background

Sherpani, the leader in women’s-specific bags in the outdoor industry, was founded in 2003 with a straightforward idea: to provide female consumers with a variety of stylish bags designed specifically for the outdoor lifestyle. The Boulder, Colorado based firm produces a wide variety of bags, everything from purses and satchels to child-carriers and bike bags, all of which are produced with an eye toward fresh style and capable functionality. Sherpani was among the first to cater to women (a demographic largely ignored in the outdoor products industry) and helped to introduce outdoor lifestyle bags that came in colors other than black, gray or brown – an innovation that other brands would quickly copy.

Quickly eclipsing its humble beginnings, Sherpani has leveraged its unique brand identity and quality products into a global brand. Sherpani bags can be found in more than 1000 retail stores across the United States and are also sold through distributors in Europe and Asia. A key factor in the company’s success has been the relationships formed with large national retail chains – the majority of which require some form of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) compliance.

Situation

It became obvious early on that being able to comply with the EDI requirements of major retailers would be a vital step in targeting and maintaining these key accounts. However, the technical barriers to compliance can be considerable for small and midsize firms. “Obviously, as a small company we don’t have the EDI expertise in-house or the bandwidth necessary to support [an EDI system],” noted Chad Kline, Director of eCommerce with Sherpani. With these hurdles in mind, Sherpani began searching for an EDI service provider whom they could partner with in order to achieve EDI compliance. Their search brought them to DataTrans Solutions and their WebEDI platform. By outsourcing the technical aspects of an EDI implementation to DataTrans, the Sherpani team has been able to focus on keeping their customers happy, not on dealing with complicated compliance issues.

Solution

Sherpani uses DataTrans’ WebEDI platform to receive and process EDI documents on a daily basis. The web-based system provides users with a familiar interface to receive orders and create response documents. In addition to providing a high level of reliability, WebEDI’s cloud-based infrastructure allowed Sherpani to avoid the costs normally associated with in-house EDI systems. The level of support received from DataTrans has also been a key factor in their relationship. “I’ve been very pleased with the service,” said Kline. “Every analyst has been very responsive and very good at setup, response time, and addressing any issues if they arose.”

Sherpani EDI Statement

As Sherpani grew, so did the number of their customers who they traded EDI documents with. Kline began to look into options that would allow Sherpani to more closely integrate its existing ERP systems with the EDI process being handled by DataTrans. Specifically, he was interested in what could be done to speed up the order fulfillment process. DataTrans was able to integrate the Purchase Orders sent to Sherpani via EDI directly into their existing order management systems. Whenever a new PO comes in from a trading partner that document can be viewed and responded to in WebEDI as needed, but is also automatically brought directly into their order management system. By integrating WebEDI with their internal systems, Sherpani reduces the amount of time its team spends rekeying and double checking data. This frees up company resources for other projects. Having a copy of each PO brought into their order management system streamlines the order fulfillment process and allows the Sherpani team to more easily stay on track with customer demand. “It’s not nearly as time intensive [as manually entering orders]. It’s been very helpful in helping us manage our time,” said Kline.

System integration was also the solution when one national department store informed Sherpani they would be required to provide daily updates on their available inventory levels. If done manually, this would require a Sherpani employee to monitor and transmit inventory levels each day – quite a time sink. Instead, Sherpani chose to automate the process though DataTrans. Sherpani’s ERP system is able to compile a complete inventory report each day. This file is then sent to DataTrans’ systems where it is automatically converted to the required EDI format and then sent to the trading partner. This process allows Sherpani to maintain its relationship with the trading partner while minimizing the amount of time spent interacting with data.

The Future

As Sherpani continues to grow and move into new markets, EDI remains an important link in their supply chain roadmap. “EDI is and will continue to play a major role in our company strategy,” said Kline. “We recognize that EDI compliance will make our company more efficient with more customers.” We definitely have a strategy to focus on larger retail accounts that we know we will need to be EDI compliant with.”

For more information about Sherpani visit: www.sherpani.com