Forty-five years ago, the Apollo spacecraft took off to the Moon to forever change the perception of mankind. Days later, an estimated 600 million along with President Nixon heard the famous words from Armstrong. Amongst the excited crowd was one Anthony D’Angelo, whose love for technology began at this juncture. It was his father, a computer engineer working on the Lunar Module project and his 80-column computer punch card, a symbol of modernity those days—that fascinated him towards computers, data transformation and technology advancements. Eventually, the punch cards, a legacy that lived on for decades, formed the basis of modern computing.
Our solutions allow the retailers to continue the legacy of their existing supply chain structure, but still compete in this fast-paced omnichannel environment
Today, the evolution of technology has come a long way— from punch cards to touch-driven User Interface— since the first automated computing devices. Along with the technological advancements, D’Angelo, who is now the Vice President-Sales at InterTrade Systems, has also taken his passion to the next level, emerging into a strategic visionary, well known for his strong leadership and influence in helping companies shape their Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) business solutions —a common protocol that helps alleviate data transfer problems that exist in the supply chain arena.
The Supply Chain Scenario
The increasing effect of globalization, eCommerce boom, continuous change of pace and technological advancement has introduced more complexities to the current supply chain management process. In this scenario, the secure and reliable methods of communication can help retailers improve their supply chain processes and enhance the presentation of supplier products. “The need for innovative solutions is more important than ever. New forms of B2B collaboration and integration need to be adopted for companies to address emerging supply chain challenges,” remarks D’Angelo, pointing out two proven technologies that are the foundation in addressing these needs— Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and Data Synchronization.
InterTrade Systems, a subsidiary of Mediagrif Interactive Technologies, has taken a page out of the latest data transformation process and applied it to the eCommerce sector in a spectacular fashion. Since its inception in 1996, InterTrade Systems is recognized for its strong expertise in EDI networking solutions as well as its product data synchronization offering. “Over the years, we have established ourselves as a partner of choice for companies, large and small, seeking to address their supply chain challenges and associated EDI needs,” says D’Angelo. The company’s novel approach also provides state-of-the-art eCommerce solutions to better manage the supply chain collaboration.
Along with the exponential growth of technology, the eCommerce tide is elevating business data exchange requirements to new highs. In this scenario, for an efficient supply chain process, it is essential to send out the data requirements on time and in a more detailed format than ever, creating a huge demand for EDI and cataloging services. “Our solutions allow the retailers to continue the legacy of their existing supply chain structure, but still compete in this fast-paced omnichannel environment,” states D’Angelo. For many years, only the large retailers were able to afford the EDI services due to the associated costs. However, InterTrade Systems believes in reversing the trend by also enabling small and medium sized businesses with their cost effective solutions.
Exchanging Business Documents Made Easy
EDI is often considered as the workhorse of the extended supply chain that powers transactional visibility. It may seem complicated but in reality, it is a vehicle to standardize and simplify communications between trading partners. “Our EDI Value Added Network (VAN) solution, interconnected to other networks and platforms, supports all industry formats worldwide. Our uniqueness lies in the visibility of our hi-speed transactions, where both sides of the trade can view their documents,” says D’Angelo.
The key advantage of InterTrade’s EDI solutions is its ability to share the purchase orders, invoices, advance shipmentnotices, and other critical business documents electronically with trading partners, regardless of their back-office applications and ERPs. It also supports a wide array of communication options including FTP, AS2/AS3, HTTPS, VPN and an internally built, secure proprietary communications software (ecConnect).
"We make EDI integration easy, thus building and managing a global supply chain effectively"
Compliance is always a big concern in the EDI arena, and trading partners need to be confident in the overall integrity of the information they are sharing. In addition, suppliers have to be compliant with the increasingly complex trading requirements. InterTrade enables suppliers to achieve compliance with diverse trading partner requirements with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) EDI solutions. “The advantage here is suppliers don’t have to invest in specialized EDI hardware, software or staffing. We make the integration easy and scalable, thus building and managing a global supply chain effectively,” acknowledges D’Angelo.
InterTrade also inspects, analyzes, and securely archives data to help its customers manage data exchanges. The real-time communication process between trading partners and global data sharing provided by EDI enhances the speed and accuracy during transactions, resulting in an efficient supply chain cycle. D’Angelo also brings in an interesting example that reflects InterTrade’s EDI efficiency—a retailer with multiple platforms approached them to streamline the data transformation process. “The problem was, with the changing systems, the client was looking for a trusted third party to do the data transformation process, on-boarding of suppliers, and catalogue hosting,” recalls D’Angelo. InterTrade’s team of experts architected a solution set that enabled them to interact with their managed services by using the ERP systems. “In this case, the retailer sends out formatted ERP data in the form of orders and we transform the data into a standardized EDI document. We act as the retailer’s EDI department, also providing onboarding and campaigning solutions to quickly connect them with their trading partners,” explains D’Angelo.
Enhanced Omni Channel Experience
InterTrade’s real-time communication process also leads retailers to provide a robust omnichannel approach to engage customers. The use of ecCatalogue (Electronic UPC/GTIN catalog) to streamline the transmission of product images and other detailed product attribute data between suppliers and retailers is an important step towards providing a uniform omni channel experience for customers. “Our ecCatalogue solution is used by retailers, suppliers and even distributors to store product data in a cloud-based environment,” says D’Angelo.
The solution makes it easy and cost effective for suppliers to share their product attributes with retailers. InterTrade also collaborates closely with major retailers to provide an optimized catalogue solution for their vendors. With its ability to fine-tune its electronic catalogue solutions based on the retailers’ needs, the company has effectively witnessed a string of successes in the supply chain sector earning them a long-list of clients including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Dillard's, JCP, Barneys New York, Kohl’s and many more.
For suppliers, InterTrade also enables the sharing of their product information with retailers on the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). GDSN is an automated, standards-based, global distributed system of independent interoperable data pools enabling suppliers to efficiently automate the distribution of accurate, secure, and real-time item data to any buyer. “It allows our services to work with other data pools in the global network, thus enabling the sharing of accurate and up-to-date information among trade partners,” says D’Angelo. GDSN also ensures that data exchanged between trading partners is compliant with universally supported standards.
With offices in the U.S. and Canada, InterTrade’s business is largely retail-centric with a personalized approach, enablement and end-to-end technical support. “We work alongside our customers to develop optimal solutions for their needs,” affirms D’Angelo and further elaborates, “With the supply chain market getting more competitive every day, we have two important things in focus— to strengthen the compliance factor between retailers and suppliers on our catalogue and to continue to invest in our infrastructure to support our growth.”
With many new innovations under progress in their supply chain labs, D’Angelo is optimistic in taking their EDI and product data catalogue solutions outside North America. “Our expertise has the ability to transmit any amount of traffic to anyone globally,” states D’Angelo. The company also keeps an active focus on its clients’ emerging needs. “We see increasing demand for business intelligence, analytics and other valueadded services to support the supply chain. With a strong foothold in hosting and transmission, we are looking to expand our capabilities to match the global needs of customers,” he adds. So far, InterTrade Systems is making all the right moves, just like the Apollo spacecraft, towards that one giant leap for the entire mankind.