Category Archives: Integration Trends and Issues

11 Ways Food & Grocery Suppliers Use Data Integration as an Advantage

High transaction volumes, limited product shelf life, variable demand, thin margins, and competition from non-traditional outlets are just some of the endemic factors that drive Food and Grocery suppliers toward finding more efficient means of managing their operations.

Food Grocery SupplyBusinesses need the scalability, efficiency, and time savings to respond to unexpected demand, minimize time to market, improve vendor scorecard ratings, and achieve revenue and profitability targets with predictability.

To remain competitive, reduce process bottlenecks that lower costs, and quickly satisfy partner demands, Food and Grocery suppliers must eliminate expensive, piecemeal data integration technology and embrace a unified solution that makes important business goals easier to attain:

Achieve transaction visibility and traceability
Safety regulations, including tracking of products from foreign sources, requires timely access to supply chain data. A central integration platform provides real-time visibility and alerts so you can verify orders, shipments, and other events and respond more quickly to exceptions.

Reduce processing cycle times for perishables and other short shelf-life items
Streamline time-critical processes by integrating directly with ERP, warehouse management, and other applications. Turn around responses to partners in near-real time.

Implement demand-driven replenishment
Support VMI, JIT replenishment, and other demand-driven processes, by triggering replenishment from demand signals generated by RFID events or POS transactions.

Gain flexibility to integrate with trading partners on their terms
Connect with retailers, suppliers, and other trading partners using their preferred protocols and document types. A centralized integration platform makes it easy for others to do business with you by implementing custom integrations faster and with less effort.

On-board new customers and suppliers fast
A centralized integration platform accelerates delivery of application data and process changes, so you can engage sooner with trading partners.

Comply more easily with key partner requirements
Implement Order-to-Cash, Procure-to-Pay, and other B2B processes, including Ship Destination Quantity (SDQ) and other specialized transactions.

Broaden your reach to include less technically sophisticated partners
Easily integrate with small or off-shore partners that are not EDI-capable by exchanging spreadsheets, flat files, and other desktop office suite-compatible documents.

Integrate directly with internal applications
Support multiple methods to integrate with all your applications, including both commercial and in-house developed software, on-premise or in the cloud, with one set of tools.

Provide secure, on-demand data access to trading partners
Create web services that expose order status, shipment status, inventory availability, and other information, on-demand.

Synchronize your product catalog data
Synchronize catalog data with retailers using EDI, Global Data Synchronization, flat files, or third party catalog applications.

Gain capacity to handle large documents and demand peaks
Except high-volume data transactions, process very large documents and handle very high transaction rates.

Learn about how Food and Grocery suppliers use EXTOL integration software as a data hub to automatically manage the exchange of any internal or trading partner message, order, payment, or data transaction and eliminate risk of process bottlenecks, redundant tasks, and costly errors.

Automate Reuse to Maximize Migration and Onboarding Cost Savings

This blog post is the final part of a series highlighting the three keys to rapid EDI modernization for JD Edwards users.

Because standard EDI integrations provide predictable patterns, reuse is especially effective in reducing EDI migration costs. While true that some reuse actions require manual development due to individual trading partner requirements, for example, automation still plays a big role in cost savings. In fact, automation can account for the highest project cost and time savings.

Custom mapping to meet the needs of each trading partner typically requires manual intervention and takes time. But configuring acknowledgements, creating new projects from templates, configuring routing, etc. are not only well-suited for automation from a cost-savings perspective but also eliminate many forms of manual errors that can lengthen testing time and contribute to runtime exceptions as well. Continue reading

Apply Large-grained Reuse for Common Transaction Sets

This blog post is the second part of a series highlighting the three keys to rapid EDI modernization for JD Edwards users.

Despite some lingering reservations around migration costs, EDI modernization, either driven by internal platform migration or external trading partner requirements, has become a strong consideration for JD Edwards users. The secret to success is all about selecting the right strategy.

While certainly true that reuse is one of the most significant cost saving strategies in migrating to a new EDI solution, not all reuse strategies yield similar results. The numbers show that deploying a large-grained approach to reuse can save significantly more than looking at smaller units.

Figure 1

Figure 1

As exhibited in Figure 1, the degree of time and cost reduction that is attainable varies. If you are working on a customer-wide integration, it is easier to accomplish with a large-scale integration because inbound and outbound processes only have slight differences for maps, adapters, business processes and other integrations. By reusing the integration level, more time is saved and cost associated with the EDI modernization is minimized. Continue reading

Employ Reuse to Speed Results, Reduce Risks and Instill Best Practices

This blog post is the first part of a series highlighting the three keys to rapid EDI modernization for JD Edwards users.

IT modernization has become almost commonplace in today’s tech savvy business world. Computing platform replacements and enterprise application upgrades are important internal drivers for modernizing other IT systems and processes. In addition, external factors like onboarding of new trading partners with added integration requirements also impact the need to upgrade.

While Oracle JD Edwards (JDE) customers may face both kinds of modernization drivers, some businesses hesitate to take on EDI modernization because of concerns over switching costs. That’s despite the significant benefits and rapid payback EDI modernization can bring. Continue reading

Integration Solution Must-Haves: Process Automation & Event Management

This blog post is part of an ongoing series encompassing the top must-haves when selecting an integrated solution.

With companies of all sizes facing the “do more with less” imperative, it’s not surprising that process automation has become a common trend and technology solutions that manage events based on business rules are being given further consideration.

With an automation tool in place, transactions and processes can be event-driven, scheduled or triggered based on various business rules. This ability to seamlessly establish data and process synchronization rules using complex algorithms puts company success first by leaving far less up to chance with manual handling. By replacing manually initiated processes with software, companies can realize a reduction in errors, an enhanced work and process flow, lower expenses and improved efficiency.

What’s more, business rules trigger actions based on transaction receipt, non-receipt, generation or errors. Just make sure that your chosen solution provides the ability to design and configure automated procedures that generate and route events, actions, alerts or aborts based on errors or missed timelines. Continue reading