Is it time for a change?
Switching from Web EDI to an integrated solution
Even reliable technologies like EDI must occasionally undergo a change. One case in point is switching from Web EDI to an integrated solution. When does it make sense to take this step? And how does it get implemented?
For small companies or start-ups, Web EDI is an excellent entry-level solution for exchanging documents with individual business partners via EDI in a straightforward and cost-efficient way. And yet, after some time, it makes sense to ask yourself the following questions: Has the number of EDI business partners increased? Do you have high transaction numbers despite having fewer business partners? Or have specific requirements (e.g., regarding deliveries abroad or complex despatch advices) gotten more demanding?
If that is the case, Gerd Marlovits, EDITEL’s CEO, definitely recommends “analyzing if an integrated solution might be an easier and more resource-friendly approach.” This presupposes a careful integration into an existing ERP system so that all procurement of goods processes can be handled automatically. “It goes without saying that such an implementation involves quite an initial effort,” said Mr. Marlovits. And yet, he knows from many years of experience “that it pays for itself quickly and, as far as I know, none of our clients has ever regretted making the switch.”
Finding the right time
The right time to move from Web EDI to an integrated solution varies from company to company. Many EDITEL clients have, for instance, seized the opportunity of switching to a new ERP system to take care of everything all at once. One case in point is Dorfinger, the largest producer of potatoes, onion, and garlic in Lower Austria. As a supplier to all major retail chains that partners with 150 farmers, “smooth business communication is the be-all and end-all,” said the company’s operations manager Karlheinz Zelinger.
Dorfinger implemented the new ERP system traceNET by activeIT. And at the same time switched from the Web EDI solution to an integrated solution. For Mr. Zelinger, this is an important step towards modernization. “Everything runs much more efficiently now,” he said, highlighting the system’s user-friendliness: “The solution is very easy to use in our day-to-day business, which is why everyone is very happy with it.”
The Wachau-based private distillery Hellerschmid also used the switch to a new ERP system as an opportunity for EDI integration. Bernhard Hellerschmid, who is the third generation of his family to run the business, sees the biggest advantage “primarily in the time saved. While employees used to spend approximately half an hour entering data, everything from order information the shipping, this can now all be done by merely pushing a button!” His advice to anyone considering such a switch is “to plan in advance for every conceivable scenario and to involve as many trading partners as possible. This will save a lot of time and effort later.”
At Orbis Handels GmbH in Lower Austria, the increasing number of documents was the main reason for switching to an integrated EDI solution. Approximately 500 orders are exchanged with the DIY chain OBI every month. Which, according to Michaela Prokesch, an office staff member at Orbis, “would have been unmanageable for us without the automatic integration of the documents. In addition, there was also a positive side effect, according to Ms. Prokesch: “The digitization of despatch advices and invoices was something that catered to our clients’ needs. By making this happen, we strengthened our customer relationship.”
Web EDI and integrated solution compared
Symbolphoto: copyright ORBIS_Mira
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