Using EDI to electronically transfer business documents with customers and suppliers is now essential for many businesses to remain competitive. EDI saves you time and money by removing manual processes and makes it easier and more cost-effective for your trading partners to do business with you. However, many businesses find implementing, maintaining and supporting various integration with EDI to be complex, time-consuming and ultimately a distraction.
Watch our webinar with TrueCommerce to find out how implementing an outsourced, fully managed EDI service will transform EDI from a potentially expensive but unavoidable overhead into a business opportunity, by providing the necessary experience, skills and infrastructure, to allow companies to concentrate on their core competencies.
We’ll be starting very, very shortly. Thanks for joining us.
OK, we’ve had seven more people join.
I think we should get started. So, welcome to today’s webinar all around EDI Managed Services and that best practice process for Business Central users. I’m here in the UK, in Woking. Hello, my name is Danusia Jolliffe and I’ve got Larry joining us from overseas and Larry will be in charge, you’ll be running the PowerPoint for us as we run through, and will be doing the demo as well. If you could advance the slides.
So, as I said, my name is Danusia Jolliffe, and I’m the Marketing and Customer Service Director here at TVision. And I look after the Customer Service Desk, and I’ve been doing marketing now for six years. And I will be managing the questions, looking after that contact box, the chat box, if you have anything you’d like to ask throughout. Do let me know, and then I’ll be passing over to Larry who can do his introduction. If you could just pop your slide over a bit Larry, you’ve got the other screen appearing again.
OK, perfect, wonderful. Over to you.
OK, thanks Danusia. I’m Larry Velez, it’s really nice to meet you all. As Danusia said, I’m overseas. But I’m responsible, I’m based in Holland, not very far away.
Do a lot of traveling into the UK.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the country, visiting with clients, potential partners, and I’ve got a team of people in the country, we’ve got about 120 people in the country, basically providing EDI managed services to customers and I’m just the odd one out, just come over here in Holland. But very much focused on what’s going on in the country.
So, a couple of things I want to talk to you about is basically, how does EDI can be used to run a modern supply chain.
So, I’ll give you some insights based upon some of the experiences that we’ve had working with our customers.
Also, if you’re looking to take what you’ve done in terms of EDI and doing it in so, the next level where you want to just offload the workload to somebody else.
Then I’ll give you some tips in terms of what you should could look for in terms of a managed service.
And then I want to talk to you about the benefits of running EDI inside of the D365 or running it inside of Business Central.
So, the concept is that, let your users do their day-to-day work in terms of receiving orders, fulfilling them, and sending invoices up. EDI just happened in the background. And really, that’s the concept that I’d like to share with you as a, as one of the key best practices, and some things that I’d like to show you during the demonstration today, as well.
Just a little bit about us.
So, we are, we are a global company, headquartered primarily in the United States, and through a series of acquisitions.
We’ve, we’ve expanded around the world. So, we’ve got, in Europe, we have about 300 people.
120 of them exist in the UK. There we provide sales support, presales support, technical support.
You have delivery teams, and development activities all happening in the UK, get quite a lot of customers in the drinks, and the groceries, and the retail area. And we also have lots of presence in the Nordics through our Copenhagen folks and also watch folk presence in the German market.
And as I said before, I’m just sort of like the odd guy out living over in Holland, but it’s not a bad place to live.
And I get to travel quite a bit into the UK.
Visiting, my partners is also visiting a lot of my team members and and through and we’re always looking to promote our capabilities and obviously we have a lot of scale.
So, in the UK we have quite a few customers. We have a network that we already connect already with almost all the grocers in the UK.
And we also have a network that’s already connected to many, many drink suppliers in the country, as well.
So, in our experiences, as we spoke to, speak to a lot of customers, we get to see how they are running their supply chain.
So, you know, we get to see how they’re dealing with their accounts payables processes as well as their accounts receivables processing. So, I’m going to walk through both of those.
Just thought I’d give you some insights as to what companies are doing with Business Central, and, also, with NAV, historically, to establish a good supply chain to support their accounts receivable, and accounts payable processes.
Now what I’ve done, I’m trying to make it really simple to understand. So, it’s, it’s a sequential order, and the way you would read this chart.
So, from your sales orders all the way out to generating an invoice, and everything in between.
And what I wanted to highlight is that there are some colour coded, cryptic messages in there.
So, for example orders, orders RSP, invoice, desadv, pricat, if these things don’t make any sense to you, that’s OK. That’s just basically the language that, you know, you know, we talked to with between parties.
And we make sure that these EDI messages are properly interpreted by both parties and that they all get the information that they looking, customer send you in order.
And you received your, get the details into Business Central, and then all the messages you sent back to them, we make sure that it’s in the right format.
What are your customers to receive?
They can understand when items are being shipped and that the invoices are matching the original invoice, the original order that was sent.
Quite simple stuff.
But it does take a lot of detail, in terms of making sure that master data, item details, trading partner setups, exceptions handling, all those details are really what make EDI a bit more complicated.
So I’ll get into some of those items as I go through this but in the Accounts Receivables process.
We’ve noticed that a lot of companies sort of stop at two very basic messages that’s receiving an order and sending out an invoice and those are sort of like your basic steps towards the EDI world.
But bear in mind that you can actually go further.
You can actually do things like an advanced level where you can actually send a response to an order.
And what that means is that you can respond back to your customer to say, I understand you want to buy these articles. I understand the quantities that you want.
And I understand when you want to receive them, I can do it 100%, or I can send a message back to say, I can only do so many of those at this particular timeframe.
So it gives you a chance to communicate back to the client, in terms of what the client is looking for, is what the client does with your feedback, is determined on a case by case basis.
Some examples, we see clients basically or customers basically updating the purchase orders to accommodate what unit, what they’ve actually ordered, what you actually have available to them.
And that’s quite important because as your purchase orders are coming in, you want to make sure that you can deliver those items and then you can make sure that it matches the outbound invoice that you send to the customer later on.
The other approach you can take is that the customer doesn’t change the purchase order. But you put everything in backlog and you just make sure that you work on the inventory and you can basically do partial shipments until you finally reach the customer.
So you’re actually able to fulfil on that. And what you’re trading relationship with your customer is is, can you send a partial invoice for the items that you ship?
Do you need to wait for all items to be shipped before you send an invoice?
Those things get handled offline away from the cryptic EDI messages.
But nonetheless, there’s flexibility getting the formatting of the EDI messages to be able to have that type of relationship with your partners.
That even becomes more important when it comes to fulfilling an order to your dispatch advice or delivery notice message, and that that one requires a lot more detail.
It requires you to identify how you pick the items, how you pack them, how many cartons you’re going to be shipping out, and how you label those items.
And it takes a little bit of back and forth and making sure you get all the right data necessary inside of Business Central, so that you can actually make that shipping notification message out to the customer.
The other, uh, the other dimension to this, if you’re working with a third-party warehouse suite of products on a third-party warehouse, you need to send them instructions as to how you, what you want them to pick for you, pack and the ship for you.
And then, once they actually complete that transaction, and it can send you a message that says, Yep, I shipped it. And it also includes all the details that you need so that you can communicate back over to your customer with the corresponding dispatch advice message.
And then, finally, you’ve got the invoice, and so that would be your classic flow of basically accounts receivables processes, but I’m also giving you some colour about what additional things you can do in terms of a real commercial relationship with your customers.
The last one I wanted to mention is this message sway up the other end.
I’m just kinda, look, I’ve got two screens going. So I just want to get point they’re going.
So you can see exactly what I’m talking about, is this pre cat message, and that is, call it Price Catalogue, and in that case, you list out all your article numbers, you list out all the corresponding prices associated with it, and also any other variables associated, attributes associated with those items.
What that really helps with, in advanced situations, if you’ve got a large, lot of turnover in terms of product, we get producing fresh products that need to be that. That change all the time.
And will you label things differently?
You can always provide, these types of details over to your customers, so that they know that you’re, this is the latest and greatest catalogue of stuff that they can actually order.
And when you do that, what you’re actually doing is, you’re resisting the chances of making errors with your orders. Because there was always, there’s always exceptions that you need to handle when it comes to boards that are coming in.
And but if you can minimize that by making sure that the customers are ordering the right stuff and basically all your order flow through the system as seamlessly as possible.
Now, with, on the accounts payable side, it’s sort of the sort of the same thing.
But in the reverse direction, and in this case, you’re sending out purchase orders to your customers, you want to clarify the order.
Maybe your supplier wants to classify, they will clarify the order with you.
Then you would, and then they would send you the corresponding messages.
I’ve confirmed this, me as a supplier.
Confirm that what you want and I’m going to ship it to you and so on, and so forth.
So, it’s pretty much the the opposite direction when it comes to, accounts receivables.
So, when you look at, looking at, uh, trying to establish the level of communications with your trading partners, or your customers, or your suppliers, or third-party logistics suppliers, with a plethora of EDI type messages that you can use.
And I’ve only given you a subset here and you ever want to know more details about what you can do, such as, you know, inventory controls, or moving inventory from one location to another location.
Or doing vendor managed inventory where you’re looking at sales reports.
Actually, what’s occurring at the tills at a particular retail location.
Now, there’s all sorts of messages associated with that.
Happy to talk to you at another time, and explain that, too.
But I just picked a subset for the interest of time, for today.
And now, I want to focus my attention on what you should look for.
So, when you, what you look for is.
We kind of boil it down to six different things.
The first thing is that you should be looking for an integration into Business Central.
And that means that this would allow you to simplify interoperability with other applications like Bevica app or other apps that you actually use.
And it also minimizes the potential of customizations and customizations or things that you prepare uniquely for your business. And if you’ve come from the math world, do you know that there’s quite a lot of customizations place?
And so when you have an integrated solution, you can actually eliminate quite a few of those items, almost all of them.
You should also be looking for a single helpdesk as you look at an EDI network, there’s quite a lot of moving parts from one end to the other.
And in-between you want to make sure that you can ask questions to somebody about all the different steps along the way.
You know, it’s, you can also get a single help desk to get some help, get training, request changes.
There’s always changes that happen because your partners or your customers are always looking for something new, and you want to be able to provide an update to them. Make those updates as quickly as possible.
You should also be looking for some sort of some level of monitoring as well.
And what I mean by that is, you should be able to make sure that traffic is always running, making sure that you’ve got a steady flow of water is coming in, or use you’re pushing out a steady flow of orders to your suppliers that. There’s always traffic going on.
And lastly … Larry? Yes? We’ve had our first question. Someone just asked how could this work for XLR orders? Where they have to, when we have to invoice, when it leaves production site for the customer, but they may not get the stock for five weeks?
Does that make sense? Shall I say it again?
Yeah, please do.
So, how could it work for XLR orders where you have to invoice when it leaves the production site for a customer, but they might not get the stock for another five weeks. How could that apply?
Hmm, hmm, hmm, that’s a really good question.
That’s kinda a little over my head.
I want to take that away and for and for …. Ask some of my experts about that. But thank you for the question.
The, so I was talking about monitoring, and so the other aspects of monitoring is to just want to make sure that traffic is running, and, and also be able to monitor rules.
You’ve got certain trading rules with trading partners, with your customers, and your suppliers, such as price checks, item checks, shipping locations.
You know, Business Central, being the master data. You just want to make sure that that master data is always validated. You always put a validate, they all the messages to the master data.
So, during those checks, before you create a sales order, or before you send out an invoice, is always very valuable, and then being able to have an exception handling capability, so that you can actually take action on those exceptions and be able to address those. And that’s really all about the modern user experience.
You want to provide the users with Business Central, as their central user experience for handling your orders and let
EDI happened in the background without users having any intervention the only time they would intervent…intervene or get involved with the EDI tool would be with handling exceptions.
And the beauty of the approach is that you want to have, if you take a look at all the types of errors that exist, a lot of those errors are related to massive data discrepancies.
So, if the users understand their mass data in terms of item numbers, pricing, policies, those things will actually be handled by the users themselves and corrected by the users themselves without having to involve a skilled IT person.
So, empowering users to be able to solve their own problems.
Master data related problems is really a good thing to think about, or or a managed service.
The other thing is that the service should provide full maintenance across everything. First, you know, the integration to Microsoft should be fully covered into maintenance.
Any support, any changes, any technical problems, mapping changes, security updates, infrastructure, needs for memory, computing power, all those things should just be included. Right? And so you don’t have to worry about any of those things.
And the final bit is, the commercial bits is about, predictability and costs.
So you want to be able to know that there’s a fixed fee for implementation.
You’ve scoped out the solution. You want to get a firm price to say, I think it’s gonna cost you this much.
This was actually, we can guarantee this is going to cost you this much.
So long as the scope hasn’t changed. And then have a fixed recurring fee, just make sure that it’s a predictable amount of money that you can budget for year over year.
Then, actually, in some cases, of your volume start to increase, that means that business is really good.
And there might be some additional fees associated with that, because it was above the predictions that we actually made.
Hopefully, this is all understandable.
But, I want to move into a couple of other pieces before we wrap up today.
And that is, you know, running EDI inside of the 365 has pretty good benefits.
Here’s kind of a big picture.
And what you really want to be able to do is just to make sure that whatever service provider you have allows you to connect with all your trading partners, either directly through a public network, or through some old fashion band, or X400 network.
And we see that a lot in the UK, and obviously, we have lots of companies that are already have EDI suppliers, such as, you know, Open Text or GXX.
And these guys have existed for a long time, and you can interconnect through them through these networks. But still have your own preferred service provider to be able to handle all your EDI requirements.
And then this central will have this application that runs, in this case, we’re talking about the TrueCommerce App that is available on Microsoft App Source Store. And then you can actually download it, and test it out, and see how it runs, but it’s quite lightweight, and its existence, and a lot of communication that exists between here.
It’s all based upon Microsoft’s standards for, basically, API communications, and, you, the big benefits is that, through a managed service. It’s something that’s continuously certified.
So, at Microsoft, Business Centre is always updating, so you want to make sure that you have something in place that always updates with you.
You want to have as many automated transactions available to you, as well. And that means that order processing or creation, creating a sales order, creating an invoice, creating a purchase order, all those transactions can be already out of the box. Automated.
All you would need to do is have some configurations, in terms of making sure that the master data that you have will match what your customer, or your supply actually needs. And that mapping requirements effort can actually be done by us in support of the project, it eliminates customizations. And there’s quite a lot of things that we’ve done historically and mapped to support EDI.
Got a whole list of these item towards the end that I’ll show you momentarily, but it does save a lot of time.
And if you’ve got, you know, if you’re looking to, and that’s timesaving, means, basically, cost benefits, as well as the time to delivery as well.
The other couple of things is that it’s a really simple, simple, thin client, and that’s inclined, is something that I want to show you right now in terms of a quick demonstration.
Now I had, Danusia and I were trying to see if we can get the audio working on this in this, in this demonstration.
But what I’m actually gonna do is, I’m gonna walk you through it, because the audio didn’t come out as much as I wanted it to.
Robert’s not here, just in case you lost track of who’s speaking, but I’m Larry, I’m the speaker. So I want to go into the demonstration real quick. Parts of this, taglines, but the key benefits here is that I wanted to show you, is that.
Business Central is the user experience for EDI.
And there’s a couple of other things that we have available, that, for example, user defined fields, and these user defined fields are what we can go to, to pop, to put data into, and pull data from.
And that’s how we interoperate with other applications.
So we interoperate with Bevica through this particular means, and maybe other applications you may have.
But if, if you need to access that data, then we have a really simple mechanism, user defined fields, to be able to get access.
But overall, it’s a very lightweight application, and I want to show that to you right now.
So here you can see, basically, Business Central in place.
And notice that this, you know, we promote business central as the primary units to unit face for EDI is something that you can download from the App Store and you actually implement yourself.
And so, basically, it’s all about very seamless EDI experience using business central.
Everything that we do in terms of EDI just basically happens behind the scenes.
So, we’re going to show you a couple of things that, sort of, how we organize things. So, for example, when we take a look at Sales orders, we’re able to identify sales orders that either come from EDI or from other mechanisms. And you may have web shops and you may have other things, other marketplaces where you are coming through.
But what we can do is, we can identify EDI orders to be EDI, or so that’s easy for you, identify.
And what we do is we automate the creation of sales orders and we can do that in either a quotation basis or as a proper sales order.
And then what we do is we extract the data and we put it inside of Business Central to the appropriate fields. And then we have, also, user defined fields.
As I mentioned before, these user defined fields is actually where we can put data and pull data from, in terms of being able to interoperate with other applications.
So the user will end up going through the normal business central process, in terms of, you know, seeing an automated sales order, and then releasing it, go into the shipping process.
And when you do the shipping, you actually create an ASN in the background.
And then when you click on the invoice process, you actually would create an invoice in the background. So that the user is basically following the standard fulfilment processes of basically, processing a Sales order.
And basically, all the EDI magic gets done in the background.
And all the magic that we have based upon all of these transactions, it’s like 20 plus transactions that we support that can be automated to support your accounts receivables, accounts payable, or three PL transactions with your customers.
So, that’s sort of our very quick overview as you saw that there was nothing fancy behind the scenes just Business Central and a couple of user defined fields that we actually got them.
Now, as I wrap up here, I just wanted to identify that there’s a lot of customizations, or let’s say, a lot of functionality that a managed service, like the TrueCommerce managed service can actually provide to your overall Business Central implementation.
And, so, for example, getting data in and out of Business Central, creating different EIP, EIP transactions. I talked about 20 different transactions.
Validating data to business rules, creating alerts, and I am giving assistance as to where, how to correct those alerts across reference table.
Generally, your customers will order part numbers that you don’t know that don’t match your part numbers to be able to establish cross reference table.
Is something easy to do, but doing in a dynamic way so that you can actually update that quite quickly without having to make changes in Business Central.
Same thing with unit of measure conversions, trading partner parameters, turnaround data from trading partners, mapping changes. So we’ve kind of taken all that stuff that normally was inbuilt inside of business, in NAV.
We’ve taken it out so that you don’t have to rebuild that inside of business central.
So, at the end is basically that you get fewer changes in BC.
You can get Microsoft updates, really easy.
You’re lowering your development costs you to implement a lot faster. And then all of this is basically provided as a managed service, too.
So I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to cover, probably have a few more minutes, perhaps, for some questions.
I’m sorry that the app is available online, so you can never look at it. And, of course, I’m available for questions.
Yeah, Larry, we didn’t have a question. Someone said, on average, how long does the implementation take for TrueCommerce?
Yes, so we’ve got different parts to it, but if you’ve got a scenario of, say, five trading partners, we’ll say four messages each. You could be looking between a 3 to 5-month implementation timeframe.
A lot of that time, is not effort. It’s all waiting. There’s a lot of waiting when it comes to setting up EDI. A lot of waiting.
And when you said you’ve got a number of clients already in the UK, are they in various sectors? There any specific ones that use you more than others?
Yeah, so retail wholesale, either food, fashion, really popular.
A lot of manufacturing customers as well.
We have pharma retail customers, and those would be, and we also have automotive clients as well.
So those would say, be, are really largest, so it’s food and beverage would be wholesaler, retailers’ fashion, and like all sorts of manufacturing.
Okay just waiting for a few more questions, if any more come in, if anyone wants to ask anything before we finish up. As Larry said, this is available on app source.
Um, if you wanted to find out any more information. Or if anyone has any further questions, then, obviously, I can pass those across, or if you’d rather more in detail demo. And, obviously, we only have half an hour today, so you’ve given us a very, very quick overview, as you said. But, we’d be happy to do that in more detail if anyone asks. And then I can put them in touch with you directly.
Larry: If that’s OK. That’d be great. It would be great, especially the, the gentleman, a person who asked the question. Yeah, I’d like to get that right up to me. I certainly will get a more knowledgeable person to be able to answer that.
Yeah, I said that, follow up with you and sort that out.
OK, we haven’t got any more questions now, and if anyone does have anything else further, they’d like to us after the session, then please do get in touch. And so I’d like to say very, very big thank you, Larry, for joining us today and giving us the overview of the TrueCommerce EDI solution. And this webinar, as always, will be available on demand afterwards. And if anyone does have any questions, please do get in touch and we can connect you with Larry directly and get that session booked up for you. So once again, thank you so much, Larry, and thank you everyone for joining us.
Same here. Thank you very much. Bye, everyone.
Thank you, Bye!