Although retail businesses generally sit atop their value chains, few Retailers exert complete control over their business integration agendas. Even when a Retailer controls the document types and communications details used to integrate with most of its vendors, there are outliers – small vendors without the ability to comply, and very large vendors whose flexibility hinges on pricing, volume commitments, and other conditions, so being flexible and agile in the face of supply chain and application changes matters to most Retailers.
But, Retailers also face characteristic integration challenges due to the large number of trading relationships they must manage: Provisioning and maintaining many partner connections, migrating multiple partners to new document (and map) versions, integrating large volumes of documents with enterprise applications and data, detecting and responding to large numbers of exceptions, tracking and reporting on trends over time.
EXTOL’s integration solutions equip Retail businesses to achieve high levels of process automation and efficiency, even with highly volatile vendor communities:
- Improve efficiency and reduce costs through process automation – Reduce errors and latency by automating a wider range of internal and B2B processes, including Procure-to-Pay, Load tender-to-Delivery, and specialized transactions such as Ship Destination Quantity (SDQ).
- Implement demand-driven replenishment – Trigger replenishment from demand signals by integrating inventory systems with procurement processing.
- Reduce processing cycle times for perishables and other short shelf-life items – Streamline time-critical processes by integrating vendors and supply chain applications with merchandising, warehouse management, and other applications.
- Deliver data for business intelligence applications – Supply accurate, timely data to applications that support procurement planning, customer loyalty, and other decision-support applications. EXTOL’s powerful data transformation engine supports data validation, translation, enrichment, and routing for any combination of database, flat file, spreadsheet, XML, and EDI data.
- Integrate faster with new vendors and suppliers – Integrate new trading partners and transactions faster, cutting the time needed to introduce new products and promotions.
- Onboard less technically sophisticated vendors – Automate integration with smaller trading partners that are not EDI-capable, by exchanging spreadsheets, flat files, and other desktop office suite-compatible documents.
- Achieve transaction status visibility and traceability – EXTOL provides visibility via dashboards and alerts so you can verify the integration status of orders, shipments, and other supply chain events and respond quickly to exceptions.
- Provide secure, on-demand data access to vendors – Rapidly deliver web services that expose stock on hand and other information, on-demand. EXTOL’s web service Accelerators take care of low-level implementation details, so you can focus on exposing the right data to your partners.
- Integrate pricing, order and shipment status, and other vendor data, on demand – Rapidly deliver integration processes that acquire data for merchandizing and warehousing applications, on-demand. EXTOL’s flexible process architecture supports both batch and near-real time data integration for both commercial and in-house applications.
- Handle large documents and demand peaks – EXTOL technology is proven in high-volume businesses, and is capable of processing product catalogs and other large documents and sustaining high transaction rates.
Strategies for Change: What integration challenge are you faced with?