When it comes to helping our clients, Surety Systems believes the only way to work is to use the best people and tools to get the job done. Our consultants know just what steps to take to lead your team to success — whether you’re implementing a new system, setting up key integrations between systems, or anything in between.
Read on to hear about how one of our top-of-the-line JD Edwards (JDE) consultants helped a major manufacturing client through multiple Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) projects and led them to success every time.
The Background Story
One of our biggest manufacturing clients came to us with a need for additional consultant support for multiple projects related to their internal EDI processes, including navigation between Edifact and ANSI X12 translators and the integration of different EDI models.
In addition to someone with strong EDI knowledge, the client also needed someone who could handle the ins and outs of their complex EDI integration projects.
These projects required a consultant that’s comfortable negotiating trading partner agreements, determining EDI needs and business requirements, brainstorming solutions to any issues along the way, and executing the solutions as needed. Someone with strong communication skills and extensive experience in system and project management was needed, and our consultant surely fit the bill.
His project roles required him to understand the client’s separate ERP operations and EDI transactions in-depth and find ways to perform these processes with greater accuracy and efficiency. Our consultant accepted his roles with open arms and worked to solve the client’s issues, support the internal staff, and build a foundation for future success from his first day on the job to his last (and throughout all project lifecycles).
Bringing in an Expert
Our client needed support, and they needed it fast.
Luckily for them, our consultant is an EDI solution expert and understands the fine line between supporting technology teams and nudging them toward new technical solutions.
Our consultant offered consistent support in maintaining standard EDI format within both Edifact and ANSI X12 solutions, staying up-to-date with EDI documentation, and navigating interfacing procedures between the client’s JDE and SAP systems.
He not only assisted the client with their implementation of an out-of-the-box JDE system in 2009, but he also came back for more in 2013 to help navigate changes to the client’s EDI structures and mapping methods, and, again in 2022 when he was brought on to help streamline the company’s JDE system and technical EDI solutions.
He became the “go-to” EDI contact and person to lean on, helped them find the best solution for each of their system needs, and led them to success with flying colors.
Navigating Issues with EDI Efficiency
During his first project after the client’s initial implementation, our consultant was brought on to streamline the automation of EDI processes and reduce the time needed for EDI to process and distribute shipment orders.
In managing multiple on-site facilities and a “just-in-time” inventory model, our client lacked the system efficiency needed to get shipment orders through the system and truckload shipments through the gate at the same time. The client’s systems were overloaded with data for shipments and truckload orders, causing a detrimental loss of time for both the system itself and its administrators (think, waiting 4 hours after a shipment has gone out to receive the order data in the EDI system).
Our client also needed to find a better way to balance time differences and language barriers between their shipment facilities and corporation headquarters. These differences led to inefficient business connections and unoptimized operational procedures from the shipment yard to their internal EDI software, and everywhere in between.
Our client needed someone on the team who could handle adjusting Edifact data within the system, transferring that data between Edifact and ANSI X12 translator formats, and bringing the time needed to process EDI transactions closer to real shipment timelines.
His first order of business required digging deeper into communication between team members in the company headquarters and those leading the charge throughout the U.S. facilities. Through this extra investigation, our consultant found a loophole in the data: the sending value from the headquarter location matched up with the line order number in the U.S. facility system. This information made it easier for shipment teams to get truckloads through the gate and transfer the necessary order data through the EDI system in real time.
Secondly, our consultant was tasked with adjusting the data from the Edifact system into ANSI X12 format to keep Shipment Order numbers in ANSI X12 in line with fill numbers in Edifact. Edifact and ANSI X12 have the same functionality, but require different nomenclature (i.e., ANSI X12 860 has the same functionality as Edifact OrdChg), so reducing the manual labor required to transfer these formats was an important step in helping our client optimize and automate their EDI processes.
By putting on his investigative cap and finding an easily-overlooked connection between systems, our consultant was able to save the client valuable time and manual labor needed to transfer shipment data from one EDI format to the other.
The reduction in time needed for data transfer between systems and more streamlined EDI processes across the board helped employees go from 26 hours to 3 hours spent on EDI-related tasks per week. This, paired with greater system functionality and connectivity also brought EDI processes much closer to real-time distribution.
How Our Consultant Consistently Transforms EDI Operations
With deep technical EDI expertise and over 21 years in the EDI consulting industry, our consultant knew just what it would take to get the job done (and support his team in the process).
Regardless of the size of the company, industry, or type of EDI project he was involved with, the bottom line remained the same for our consultant: “Get the job done and make the client happy.”
Here are a few of the major advantages our consultant brings to every project, regardless of size or scale:
Keeping with the Standard
EDI is built in a standard format, meaning that when companies switch systems or bring in new integrations, the format of their EDI doesn’t change, only the interfaces do.
Our consultant knows EDI like the back of his hand, and this definitely shows in the efficiency of his work from start to finish. He helps teams navigate standard EDI formatting issues and keep all system data aligned with the “base language” of JDE EDI. And, his commitment to standards also allows teams to gain a better overall understanding of the importance of EDI standards within their systems.
Open and honest communication is at the top of the priority list for our consultant.
During his time on project with our clients, our consultant is tasked with mentoring and supporting team members, explaining the EDI solution and its interfacing processes, finding better ways to optimize systems, and nudging decision-makers towards new solutions.
Between solving issues with team members and finding realistic expectations for the timing of AMS external support and help-desk teams on multiple different projects, our consultant has had his hands full. And, although integrating different department functions and ERP systems is no easy feat, our consultant remains committed to continuous communication between team members and decision-makers from the first day of the project to the last.
Integrating Different ERP Systems
Different ERP systems (like JD Edwards and SAP) have different system requirements and guidelines, but, for our consultant, seamlessly integrating these systems is a piece of cake.
While working with clients, our consultant not only acts as a “traffic cop” directing team members through new system procedures, but he also controls the flow of information between systems and continuously ensures alignment of the data with EDI standards.
He takes his role as the “go-to person” for any JDE or EDI issues throughout the company very seriously and always offers to fill in the gaps wherever needed. Our consultant understands that it’s better to be “ready” than “prepared” when it comes to EDI (regardless of what ERP system a client runs), and his readiness to dive into EDI issues, find solutions, and guide teams to success is apparent in the quality and efficiency of his work.
Navigating EDI Documentation
Our consultant labels himself as a “stickler” for EDI documentation, emphasizing the importance of maintaining standard EDI format and streamlining changes and updates within different ERP systems.
In working with a wide range of clients, our consultant knows that agreements between trading partners is a key factor in handling and solving EDI issues. For companies with many partners and customers, clients need someone who can uphold data exchange agreements with a firm hand and offer quick and efficient support when dealing with different ERPs, markup language, or file formats.
Not only does our consultant focus on maintaining EDI documentation throughout the project, but he also places an emphasis on preparing the system and his team members for post-project operations. He mentions building and storing a “book of some knowledge (BOSK)”, so once his time with the client is finished, the internal team is able to understand EDI standards, make changes within their ERP systems, update tools to fit changing needs, and continue to optimize business processes.
Solving Interface Issues
When it comes to integrating different ERP systems, like JDE and SAP, effectively managing interface changes is a major key to success. Clients operating both JD Edwards and SAP systems require consultant support to update the interfaces and maintain standard EDI file structure through every step.
On one hand, SAP uses Cloud Platform Integration (CPI) to transform data into an XML schema, making it easier for the SAP system to read and interpret. On the other, exceptions in JDE structure often require developers and users to create a data dictionary, write additional code, add logic to the system, or create separate interfaces to manage and store the data.
While both systems receive the same information, the way their systems interface and read data is different. Luckily, our consultant understands the ins and outs of ERP systems, EDI standards and procedures, and interfacing requirements. And, he is able to navigate through the client’s EDI issues with little to no EDI support, lead his team through complex integration and interfacing procedures, and set them up for ERP system success in the future.
Getting Started with Surety Systems
This is just one example of the many high quality consultants our team at Surety Systems has supplied to organizations and companies in need of EDI support. EDI consultants like him, with over 1,500 billed hours with our clients, set the stage for the future of the solution, and their dedication to their craft is calling others to follow along.
We, at Surety, are also dedicated to our craft of finding solutions for clients in need, whether that’s long-term implementation support or short-term backfill help.
Our consultants understand what it takes to organize and manage successful projects and will do whatever is needed to ensure client satisfaction. Experts in technology, communication, and leadership driven to provide the best technical support and produce the best outcomes for our clients is the name of the game at Surety.
How Can We Help?
Looking to hire EDI consultants to help maximize your JD Edwards system capabilities? Our team of senior-level consultants (like this one) are here to help. Just need an extra hand to perform data entry tasks and keep your implementation on time and within budget? They can help with that too.
Want to learn more about the EDI solution and how it can benefit your company? Take a look at our latest JDE EDI article, “JD Edwards EDI: The Electronic Data Interface You Need”.
Whether you want to learn more about our project success, how to find EDI consulting help, or where Surety can fill the gaps in your organization, contact us today.