Photo credit: Lisa Tozzi. One topic around here that we have been discussing is whether our clients truly know the extent of our capabilities. I think they all know that we can do old-fashioned vanilla EDI but many do not know that we can also do pistachio and rum raisin, too! And by "pistachio" I am talking about some of the remarkable services available to our clients they may not be taking advantage of, like direct-connections to trading partners or their ERP via APIs, EDI dashboards, inventory feeds and the list goes on. In other words, we don't just do EDI, we meet our clients' B2B integration needs with unique and industry leading solutions.
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 Lensman.Official. This blog was written by Kevin Klimek, Support Technician for Aurora Technologies. We all know that integrating your EDI is the holy grail of being EDI capable. But why doesn’t everyone take advantage of integration? We can talk about expense or lack of staff or any number of issues but the integration itself what I want to focus on here. Integration is not always a simple concept. There are different integration challenges that face vendors and retailers when implementing a seamless EDI system. What are some of these challenges?
As I sit at my desk for the last time this year ending a very busy year I think back to the late 1980s when I first got into EDI. I had gotten a taste of programming in communications, connecting computers to Telex machines, and companies were clamoring for technicians who could figure out Bisync modems. Walmart was requiring all suppliers to use them to receive orders and send invoices by EDI into the Walmart mainframes.
Photo appears courtesy of Lyn Lomasi. 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.