Tag Archives: automation

Take Control of Your Supply Chain Foundation

Last year, I attended a thought-provoking supply chain conference hosted by an industry analyst organization. The agenda was packed with interesting supply chain topics – cost-to-serve strategies, supply network optimization, S&OP integration, demand shaping tactics, etc. However, the event gave almost no attention to the foundation upon which advanced supply chain planning and execution strategies rest: supply chain integration.

Puzzling. Automated processing of supply chain transactions based on electronic data interchange standards and technologies makes it possible for even small and mid-sized businesses to process thousands of orders each day, accurately, at low cost, and with complete auditability. Without such automation, many companies, especially those with close-to-cost business models, would be unable to operate profitably. Yet supply chain integration is something we take for granted.

Understanding the Value of Automation

Supply Chain InsightsAccording to a 2014 Supply Chain Insights benchmark study of businesses with annual revenues of $250m or more, the majority of order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes are not fully automated. Only “34% of [sales] orders are moving through the systems hands-free” (p. 7), and “36% of purchase orders are handled through EDI [electronic data interchange] without manual intervention” (p. 8). Another 39% of sales orders and 34% of purchase orders were found to be partially automated, still requiring some manual processing steps. 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

Integration Solution Must-Haves: Automated Object Generation

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

Companies spend a lot of time and effort on the design phase of a typical integration project. While using an object or model-driven approach – discussed earlier in this series – to set up transactions, processes and associated rules increases efficiency, automated object generation provides enhanced performance and reduces downstream workload.

Automated Object GenerationUsing a model-driven approach, companies can build objects with given rules and store them in the object library for re-use. However, with automated object generation, it’s possible to generate objects using metadata, sample data or other machine-readable data. For instance, you could generate an EDI trading partner profile based on ISA envelope information, or even generate a purchase order document definition by using an X12 850 file. In addition, objects can be generated using heuristically-driven algorithms.

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Automate the most important business processes in your company

Common business processes are performed within both large and small companies each and every day.  Many of these processes are manual, but they don’t have to be.  They can be automated.  Numerous companies use business process automation to initiate theses common processes and see them through from end to end.   What exactly is business process automation?  Business process automation is defined by Gartner as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies.   It not only includes the automated execution, but also the composition and the integration of the processes within the company.

So, why automate?    The simple answer is to save time and money.   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.  Companies can basically do more with less which directly affects the bottom line. Continue reading

How to Grow a Business through Integration

Going for Growth

You’re ready to take your company to the next level, and know that in order to do this, you’ll need to change the way you do business. How do you better serve your customers, become more competitive, and take on new customers faster without breaking the bank, or over-extending staff and resources?

Processes Ease the Pressure

When it comes to IT, most small to mid-sized businesses face the same challenges: lack of budget and lack of staff. These departments struggle to maintain day-to-day operations, let alone have time to think about long-term strategies to help grow the business. In order to ease the pressure off IT, you’ll need to focus on creating more efficient processes that you can then automate.

Automation Starts with Integration

Before you look at what current processes can be condensed and automated, you need to make sure that all of your systems are, or can be, properly integrated. With a true integrator at the center of your data, you will be able to quickly increase the number of automated connections between applications, data and partner interfaces – without any custom code.

One Integrator to Connect Them All

A true integrator will connect to and exchange data with your existing internal systems, and the systems of your customers, vendors and suppliers. It will give you complete control over your data, and allow you to automate the processes that enable you to easily communicate with all parties, make faster business decisions, and take on new customers in far less time. A true integrator is designed with business “rules of engagement” in mind – meaning, no matter what your IT infrastructure looks like today or in 5 years, you will always comply with new and existing customer requirements. See how EXTOL integrates >