Company Saves Time and Money and Improves Order Accuracy With Integration
While benefiting from integration between its high-performing EDI and ERP solutions, a forward-looking manufacturer wanted to further increase automation by integrating ERP with an ecommerce platform.
C.E. Smith Company, a contract manufacturing firm producing precision metal stampings, fabrications and assemblies, has extensive experience with electronic data interchange (EDI) for business-to-business (B2B) transactions. According to Scott Noyes, Purchasing Manager, they moved to TrueCommerce EDI in 2005 after “lots of difficulties” with another EDI provider.
The manufacturer initially implemented EDI to comply with the supply chain requirements of major retailers. “They pushed us to EDI,” Mr. Noyes recalls.
A top reason for C.E. Smith’s choice of TrueCommerce EDI was its ability to integrate with their Global Shop Solutions manufacturing ERP system. Integrating EDI with ERP eliminates the redundant entry of order data and associated time, effort and labor costs, while also maximizing order accuracy.
In 2016, C.E. Smith sought to further streamline its order processing by automating the input of business-to-consumer (B2C) orders received from its website into Global Shop Solutions ERP. Their ecommerce platform at the time had no integration with EDI or ERP, so orders placed on the website had to be entered into the ERP system by hand.
Once again, TrueCommerce had the answer—this time through its Nexternal eCommerce platform.
C.E. Smith now enjoys the benefits of best-in-class EDI and eCommerce solutions that are integrated with ERP and supported by a single vendor.
Seeking to save time and money by eliminating the need to manually enter B2C orders received from their web storefront, the decision to move from a standalone ecommerce platform to an integrated solution proved to be an easy one.
“The ability to integrate ecommerce with ERP was the key factor in our decision to move to the TrueCommerce Nexternal eCommerce Platform,” Noyes explains.
All online orders captured in the Nexternal platform are now sent to TrueCommerce Transaction Manager so that they can go through the same process and workflows as EDI orders.
The next step for C.E. Smith will be to expand its use of Nexternal to include the many orders they transact with independent sporting goods retailers and other B2B trading partners that do not use EDI.
“We’re in the process of setting up B2B customers so they can order off the website and utilize Nexternal as well,” Noyes states. “This will move their orders right into our ERP without manual data entry.”
The ability to automatically import and export documents back-and-forth between ERP and EDI or ecommerce drives significant time and cost savings. “We frequently get orders that have 200 to 300 SKUs,” Ms. Smith describes. “These would take forever to enter by hand—now they’re done in a few minutes, and we don’t have to worry about making errors while we’re typing all those addresses, numbers and other items.”
A particularly useful feature for C.E. Smith is the ecommerce platform’s ability to let consumers choose the shipping carrier for their order, including FedEx, UPS or the US Postal Service.
“This helps ensure that the shipping cost we quote them is the rate they’re actually going to be charged,” says Noyes. “We’re not trying to make money on shipping, but we do need to make sure we get paid for what it costs us.”
C.E. Smith receives approximately 250-300 EDI orders per week from its major retail trading partners. A growing number of these are crossdock orders, creating additional pressure on the supply chain.
“When we add a new trading partner we just find out what they want and take it from there with TrueCommerce,” says account manager Lisa Smith . “The whole process usually moves very quickly.”
TrueCommerce EDI also automatically checks pricing on invoices against prices in Global Shop Solutions ERP, and generates an alert if there is a discrepancy. This proactively eliminates more potential errors and further ensures order accuracy.
Both TrueCommerce EDI and the Nexternal eCommerce platform are strategic investments that pay significant dividends to this competitive manufacturer. Though the company is still a new Nexternal user, Noyes estimates that the solution paid for itself within the first six months.
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