Peter Edlund, Senior VP of Global MarketingIn the past, supply chain integration through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was traditionally handled in-house, between organizations large enough to create their own solutions. As DiCentral’s SVP of Global Marketing Peter Edlund explains, “Organizations would invest in hardware, software, and pay consultants to electronically connect with their top trading partners.” These solutions were expensive, and frequently lacked the flexibility to meet the growing needs of the organization and the demands of its trading partner community.
DiCentral formed to provide a more flexible, modernized B2B integration for both the buying organization and its vendor community. Ever since the company began in 2000, they’ve worked to develop a scalable, cloud-based platform that can continually adapt to their clients’ needs. For example, a retail CPG that is unable to efficiently process transactions with its trading partners run the risk of eroding already-thin margins. By automating the order fulfillment process, organizations increase their bottom line and adjust to increasing customer expectations regarding speed and accuracy of shipments.
Over the last sixteen years, DiCentral has created a comprehensive “next generation” platform that can automate both the procure-to-pay and order-to-cash side while integrating EDI data into the organization’s back-office systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and Material Requirements Planning (MRP) applications. “We’ve made EDI available to the smallest of the small companies to the largest of the large enterprises, and we’ve done it by creating system integration adapters that are designed to work with our B2B integration network. These proprietary adapters enable us to implement each individual client project in a more timely and cost-effective manner than our competitors,” remarks Edlund.
We’ve made EDI available to the smallest of the small companies to the largest of the large enterprises, and we’ve done it in a scalable, cost-effective way
DiCentral’s work with Neiman Marcus provides a clear example of how its B2B integration solutions can increase customer service levels and decrease overall costs. “We enabled and on-boarded Neiman Marcus’ trading partners to provide timely product information and shipping data as part of Neiman Marcus’ new omnichannel initiative,” Edlund recalled. “We successfully onboarded 1500+ suppliers–by developing a private branded integration portal for vendors that did not have the tools to comply with Neiman Marcus’ EDI requirements.” This solution played a critical role in improving customer access to retail offerings and simplifying order processing.
Edlund cites an experience with their client, Furniture of America, which needed to automate their order process and increase their visibility within the supply chain. The client went from 85 percent manual data entry to full automation, leading to a large reduction in order fulfillment costs and greatly decreased time to ship.
As they look to the future, Edlund monitors emerging trends to help his clients meet evolving market demands. As systems play a greater role in automating the supply chain, Edlund views exception management as a growing concern. As such, DiCentral has developed a layer of analytical tools to flag patterns, look for exception incidents to business rules, and produce actionable intelligence that alerts key business users.