Outsourced EDI ServicesE-COMMERCE FOR SMALL& MID-SIZED BUSINESSESAN OUTSOURCED,INTERNET-BASED SERVICEEDI ServicesSPS Commerce’s Outsourced Electronic DataInterchange (EDI) Services quickly enable yourorganization to satisfy its customer’s requirements forelectronic Purchase Orders (POs), Advance Ship Notices(ASNs), Invoices, Inventory Status Updates, forecastingand more.For a majority of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)manufacturers, this forces an internal question; “Does mycompany need to be an EDI expert?” If you answer“No”, then SPS Commerce’s Outsourced EDI Servicesare for you.SPS Commerce’s Outsourced EDI Services includeseveral options to meet your needs today and tomorrow: Integrated EDI: SPS’ EDI service that eliminates dataentry by sending data directly into and out of youraccounting, ERP, and/or warehousing system(s).Integrated EDI is ideal for high volume manufacturers. WebForms EDI: For low transaction volumes, Webbased EDI allows you to send and receive documentseasily and efficiently using online templates.Keystrokes are minimized by forms that automaticallypre-fill information and check for syntax or businesserrors before sending documents to your customers. Paper Conversion: For very low-volume businesseswithout a personal computer, SPS Commerceconverts documents from paper to electronic fileformats on your behalf.
MORE THAN ELECTRONICCONNECTIONSWhen most people hear EDI, they immediately thinkabout how to send and receive electronic documents.Connectivity provided by Value-Added Networks (VANs)has traditionally been the starting point for CPG to RetailEDI conversations. Requirements for connectivity areclear: Reliability: The network has to be available all day,everyday, with little to no downtime. Speed: When data is sent, it must be received in atimely manner. Security: The data needs to be accessible by only theintended recipient. Accountability: The ability to provide visibility of thelocation of all documents and verification of receipt.As the VANs have matured and new Internet-basedtechnologies like AS2 have risen, connectivity and itsrequirements have become a commodity service.EDI IS ABOUT INTEGRATINGBUSINESSESEDI ServicesWhile connectivity is important, it is only the first step.When two companies begin to electronically shareinformation like Purchase Orders and sales forecasts,what they are really doing is starting to integrate theirbusiness systems. While EDI is a standard, eachimplementation of EDI is as unique as the business that isusing it. Each retailer has developed its own set of uniqueEDI Specifications. These specifications use EDI tolayout the data needed, the processes used and theworkflow required to do business with that specificretailer. Depending on the company, there could bemultiple EDI Specifications or “Rule Books” to handle: Domestic Partners vs. International Partners Multiple Order Fulfillment Models(Ship to DC, Cross-dock, Ship to Store, etc.) Traditional Vendors Products vs. Private LabelSourced Products2
Each one of these “Rule Books” represents anotherintegration point between two businesses. This Businessto-Business Integration (B2Bi) becomes even morecomplicated because once you’re integrated to onecustomer; the next customer will have a different set of“Rule Books” and so on and so on.WHAT DOES IT TAKE?To properly execute an EDI or B2Bi project, you need tobecome an expert on each retailer you integrate to. Youneed to know the organization’s staff, the terminologiesand the company’s entire supply chain processes. Inaddition, you must have the technical expertise tounderstand the retailer’s connectivity requirements, datastructures, business processes and workflowspecifications. You also need to understand both thetesting and operational processes. Once you understandall of that, you must have the technology to support thoserequirements. This means infrastructure such ashardware, software and network connectivity and alsointegration tools to do the transformation of data anddevelopment of the various maps between the twocompanies’ systems and processes. Finally, you needsomeone to do all of this work and run the systems oncethey are built.IS B2BI MY COMPANY’SCORE COMPETENCY?For those CPG manufacturers who have attempted tobuild and manage their own EDI or B2Bi integrationsystems, they often find them lacking necessary featuresbecause of the complexity of adapting their systems tobusiness changes.As the CPG / Retail supply chain expands globally, it alsostretches between an increasing number of companies.CPG manufactures themselves are now outsourcing moreand more of their business to accommodate thesechanging business processes. Things such as HR andPayroll are almost always outsourced to a third-party, aswell as specific supply-chain functions within likewarehousing, logistics and manufacturing. Because ofthis, B2Bi is no longer just between the CPG supplier andthe retailer, but now between the CPG manufacturer, itsthird-parties and the retailer.EDI Services3
AVOID REINVENTINGTHE WHEELTraditional software solutions, often times can’t eithersupport this extended supply chain or are impractical. Formost CPG organizations this simply becomes too much totake on. While they believe this B2Bi integration iscritical, very few view the ability to do this as a corecompetency.Even if a CPG manufacturer does believe that this is acore-competency, there is another problem withtraditional B2Bi solutions. Say “Manufacturer A” sells totwo different retailers. To successfully integrate to bothretailers, “Manufacturer A” has to learn each retailer’s“Rule Books”, hire and maintain a staff, buy theinfrastructure to support those business processes, andbuild the systems and maps to integrate to those retailers.If “Manufacturer B” also sells to those same two retailers,s/he will have to do exactly the same thing as“Manufacturer A”. Realistically, if the staff of eachorganization switched jobs, they would be able toimmediately support the other’s systems because theywould be identical.Trading with the same companies causesorganizations to create redundant systemsSo not only is B2Bi and EDI not a CPG manufacturer’score competency, it is also a time consuming effort tosimply re-create the redundant technology as everysupplier who sells to the same retail customers.If B2Bi or EDI isn’t a core competency, then what does aCPG manufacturer do to integrate with their retailpartners? Most small to mid-sized CPG manufacturerslook to other integration technology options, primarilyoutsourcing.With more than 1,200 business processes and workflowscenarios, 2,300 fulfillment models and 6,000 mapsalready in production, SPS Commerce offers the mostcomprehensive reach of any outsourced EDI service. Wetake the work out of EDI by partnering closely with theindustry’s leading retailers, grocers and others to staycompletely in sync and up-to-date with any changes totheir business and technical trading requirements.SPS’ multi-tenant application model enables clients toshare common hardware and software, infrastructure,and business and technical processes, including tradingpartner maps. The reuse of these elements offers greaterEDI Services4
reliability than traditional, “single-company” softwaremodels and minimizes total cost of ownership bydistributing the expense across thousands of customers.SPS COMMERCE: THEOUTSOURCED B2BI PROVIDEROutsourced B2Bi Integration can take many forms, fromoutsourcing the technology components to staffing. Toaddress the business needs of trading partners, anoutsourced B2Bi provider supports a full spectrum oftransaction types, workflow scenarios and data formatsused by current and future trading partners.B2Bi requires knowledge about expertson business processes, workflow,technology and the staff andtime to manage all of the systemsMany organizations offer outsourcing services under thesupply chain umbrella, but it’s important to understand thecompleteness of the outsourced approach. SPSCommerce is a full-service provider which offers acomprehensive outsourced model. All of our servicesinclude technology for trading partner integration, staffingand expertise to manage all business and technicalrequirements, as well as reusable business processes toensure reliable and efficient interactions with tradingpartners.SPS Commerce incorporates the following technologies: EDI application softwareSupporting system hardware and softwareMapping and labeling toolsApplication management toolsNetwork supportApplication integrationSPS Commerce includes business and technical staff for: Design and installation Contacting trading partners and gatheringrequirements Testing Integration Monitoring data and applications Fixing data and applications Resolving issues with trading partners Operational and performance reportingSPS Commerce business processes include: Trading partner maps Order models Workflow scenariosEDI Services5
WORKS WITH ALL OF YOURTRADING PARTNERSTo integrate business processes between tradingpartners, SPS Commerce’s outsourced solutions,SPSCommerce.net, is easily accessible by partners of allsizes in all locations. With a standard web browser, userscan access the application from anywhere in the world.In addition, SPS Commerce offers an applicationprogramming interface (API) to simplify the process ofposting and extracting information. This API is in a formatthat works with your other systems, whether it’s flat file,EDI, XML, web services or some other format. The APIshould hide the complexities underlying the system, sothat users simply need to know how to get data in and outof the application. Finally, SPSCommerce.net include prepackaged adapters to reduce programming requirementswith your accounting, shipping and packing systems.EDI Services6
“No”, then SPS Commerce’s Outsourced EDI Services are for you. SPS Commerce’s Outsourced EDI Services include several options to meet your needs today and tomorrow: Integrated EDI: SPS’ EDI service that eliminates data entry by sending data directly into and o