Photo appears courtesy of Trending Topics 2019. It's #flashbackfriday! Since I just went shopping for my third graders' school supplies, I thought now was a great time to reprint our "back to school" blog. Enjoy! Ever wonder how all those school supplies make it into the extremely crowded "back to school" area of Walmart? The process involves a tightly connected network of buyers, suppliers, EDI providers, teachers and 29 million households. The "back to school" supply chain probably starts sometime in the spring, when buyers all over the US predict what will be most in demand for the coming school year. Will the pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils be available or not? Will pencil top erasers be on the supply lists? And will there be enough glue sticks for the two dozen each parent will be required to buy? As I walked around Walmart this year, frantically looking for everything on my twins' supply lists, it occurred to me none of these people have any idea what led up to this chaos.
Photo appears courtesy of Peter. We have been dropping some hints in previous blogs and the unveiling is finally here! We are now offering an EDI visibility tool called Syncrofy, and it very well may change the way you do business.Syncrofy provides self-service EDI insights without the need for IT support, allowing you to search, view, and analyze data right from your browser. You can build dynamic dashboards and reports and set up rules to monitor for errors and receive notifications, allowing you to act before problems arise.
With the economy heating up and companies out there cooking, our clients are looking to grow and find more efficient ways to deliver their products.
Over the past three years several of our clients have done something which we really haven’t seen before, at least not quite like this. These changes in strategy seem to come in more like ocean tides rather than in a massive swoosh.
What am I referring to?
Photo appears courtesy of Dawn. This blog was written by Art Douglas, a member of the EDI Alliance. What is the opposite of "KISS"? The answer of course, is Rube Goldberg. For those of you who have no idea what I just posited, allow me to explain. "KISS" is an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Now if you are sensitive, please don’t get uncomfortable about the "Stupid" part. It merely allows us to use "KISS," thereby making it memorable. If you prefer, think of it as Keep It Super Simple. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who delighted readers by drawing overly-complicated mechanical machines that accomplished simple tasks. Think Mousetrap game.
Photo appears courtesy of Thad Zajdowicz. This week, for a little #flashbackfriday, we are reprinting our fun takeoff on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Just a little holiday humor...with sincere apologies to the original author, Clement Clarke Moore.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the store not a PO was issued, and 860s no more.
RFID tags hung by receiving dock with care, in hopes that the trucks soon would be there.
The clerks were all nestled at registers and stations, while visions of UPC codes danced across nations.
As you may have heard, GraceBlood LLC acquired Aurora Technologies back in October of this year. We will now be revisiting our Biography Series to include GraceBlood's amazing team of consultants and today we are featuring Lisa Crosley. Lisa has been an EDI consultant with GraceBlood for 12 years. She initially worked with GraceBlood as a client EDI coordinator so when her company closed their US distribution operation, Karen and AMY wasted no time in bringing Lisa on board.
Photo appears courtesy of www.twin-loc.fr. Welcome to our 200th blog post! As I think about EDI through the years, I remember sometime during the early 1990’s taking a class on the structure and workings of XML. XML was all the rage and was supposed to replace EDI at any moment!!! It’s 20+ years later and yes, XML is widely adopted now in web service applications where systems talk to each other, but it’s really still the wild west with XML XSDs (XML Schema definitions) often inaccurate. And it involves a lot of back and forth with trading partners saying, “…oh, hard code this, and that XML element loop can be executed multiple times, not the once limitation in the XSD, etc. etc. etc.” Implementing XML with a new trading partner or transaction often feels like black magic to get it all working correctly, and that’s in the best of circumstances – usually it’s teams of technical and business staff on endless conference calls just to get it right. Did XML replace EDI? No.
Photo appears courtesy of Newtown grafitti. This blog was written by Art Douglas, member of the Aurora EDI Alliance. We have all heard some of the sayings of that wise American philosopher, Lawrence Peter Berra, aka Yogi. “It isn’t over ‘til it’s over,” and “You can observe a lot just by watching.” But my all-time favorite is, “Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical.”
Yogi’s sayings make you think, and it made me think of a corollary to his math-challenged quote that is every bit as true: “EDI is 90% political, and the other half is technical.” Think about it. Once you’ve learned the basics of the technical part of EDI, nearly every challenge is political in nature. The CEO wants to know if EDI is so great that it runs automatically, why does he need to budget for a staff of even one to babysit it? Political. Here’s one I’m dealing with right now. The connectivity team at a giant health plan will only talk to one person at each of their trading partners firms. Technical? Nope, political. A new CIO comes in when the company is acquired and announces that he has a buddy who can program a custom EDI system so they don’t have to pay the annual maintenance on it. Definitely political. Another client brought in an EDI expert who helped them put together requirements for their new EDI system. Together they produced an RFQ and received several responses. Once all the responses were received, the managers got together and decided to purchase the most expensive package. The architect was not consulted. After two years, they abandoned that package and purchased the least expensive package. Ten years later, they’re still using it. Political? You think?
Photo appears courtesy of Todd Huffman. Data seems to be the be-all end-all of today’s business world. We have access to more data than ever before, but no one seems to know what to do with it. Enter Tableau. I spent three days in a Tableau class this summer to learn how to use this software package to discover interesting insights that can be found by analyzing data about a company’s customers and products. The Tableau software is a data visualization tool that allows you to explore and better understand your data and create insightful visuals and dashboard displays to help with decision making. Using the analytical tools and robust visualization the software contains can unveil trends, correlations and meaningful statistics that are not obvious by just looking at the raw data. Tableau also enables a story about the data to be told in a format that is interactive allowing for slicing and dicing of the data to answer questions from your audience during a presentation to reveal even more insights on the fly. This software is powerful and easy to use and is being utilized by many organizations to uncover a wealth of information from their data to help with decision making.