The President’s Corner
As I pen this, there’s snow on the ground (well we are in the Northeast) a fire in the fireplace and the calendar has ushered in a New Year. So, from a business perspective, it’s time to throw a dart at the wall and try and guess what will 2015 look like. Will the business climate contract or expand (or a little of both). Ah yes, the magic question. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, will be examining our revenue and cost structures in order to increase the former and decrease the later. And I suspect you’ll be doing the same. It will be a year of challenges, that’s for sure.
Perhaps to help ease the pain, for those of you who haven’t taken advantage of our discounted Van mailboxes, our many Hosted EDI Services, our Business Intelligence Reporting Services and our new FAX2EDI Solution, you’ll find these products can reduce your costs, increase reliability and visibility of your business and move the burden of EDI from your shoulders to ours, letting you concentrate on your core business.
Give us a call. Our sales staff will be pleased to demo our capabilities and craft an Outsource program that right for your company.
The Art of Collaboration: When I think of Collaboration, the word “cooperation” immediately comes to mind. Since we deal mostly with buyers (like Retailers) and their supply chains, both groups spend enormous resources attempting to maximize sales and minimum returns (the “goal”). This is a process that cannot be done in a vacuum, hence the reality of the buyer and seller working together, in “cooperation” with one another. Obviously, it’s to both their advantage to make this happen. Now while that all sounds good at 35,000 feet, the successful application of this process on a day by day basis does have its challenges.
Let’s just take the subject of inventory control. Ideally (costs and practicality aside), both parties would like to always be in stock on the items they’ve agreed to carry. And (again ideally), when a customer buys the last item on the shelf, a new shipment arrives to replenish that item, countering what would otherwise be an out-of-stock condition. If we focus on the seller, his job is to take hundreds of data-points into consideration (sometimes months in advance of actuality) and make decisions that, indeed, maximize sales and profitability.
A large number of these data-points are provided by the buyer (hence the cooperation) on a weekly (or even daily) basis. For example, these can be sell-thru, on-hand (inventory), or on-order positions that help the seller maintain a perpetual inventory at the various buyer locations. It represents a huge volume of worthwhile (often business critical) data. And, like all things, it’s a scenario thats both good and bad. Good, in that it embodies a wealth of valuable information; bad, if you can’t (or wont) act on it in a timely fashion. And, of course, the data is dynamic, just like your business. What’s in or hot one day, is out or passé the next.
Fortunately, the buyer data is normally delivered electronically (via EDI). Although the data is current, it really is historical (ie; what happened at a given point in time). The quicker you can amass all the relevant data (and process it) the faster you can react to “bad things happening”. One of the most deficient areas our customer’s have experienced is the lack of capabilities their ‘back-office” (ERP) systems have in handling and analyzing this type of data. This results in analysts (people) sifting thru data in spreadsheets attempting to move inventory from one place to another to achieve the goal. This is labor intensive and can be fraught with errors and omissions.
We’ve been studying this phenomenon for several years. Of late, new technologies (hardware and software) have allowed us to build sophisticated databases and mine this voluminous data into meaningful, actionable items that can help our customers make good, solid business decisions. Technically, these databases are called “cubes” since they refer to the multi-dimensional aspects of processing data into “rollup” or aggregate groups. In English, we now have the power to “slice and dice” the data very quickly via your browser (on-line) or through ‘intelligient” spreadsheets. Quick answers turn annoying problems into opportunities which can spell the difference between profit and loss.
Since we Host our customer’s EDI data, our next logical step is to provide analytical services that help answer the myriad of questions that ultimately “maximize profits and minimize losses”. Cube technology is just one of the tools we’re using to help you better answer your business questions. We have this technology ready to demo for you. Just give us a call and we’ll show you the possibilities it can offer your staff in meeting their (your) goals!
Another Milestone - Going into 2015, we set another milestone; we just processed our twenty millionth transaction!! We want to extend a very large ‘Thank you’ to our loyal customers, many of whom have been with us for many years. We’ll continue to earn your business every day and provide you with the best in E-Commerce services and support.