Microsoft Dynamics Community, EDI for Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 For Operations, Summit EMEA, EMEA

Nearly 2,600 IT professionals visited Amsterdam during the last week of March 2019 to learn about the last ERP upgrade they’ll ever need to implement - Microsoft Dynamics 365. Those currently running Dynamics 365 will all be running the same version by the end of 2019. After that date, Microsoft will roll out continuous improvements via periodic updates, thus adding more value to this already impressive ERP platform. This message was communicated during the Microsoft keynote presented by: 

  • Cecilia Flombaum, Worldwide Lead Business Application Partners 
  • Kees Hertogh, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Business Applications Group 
  • Muhammad Alam, General Manager, Business Applications Group 

The concept of a “final Dynamics 365 upgrade” has numerous benefits and at the same time some challenges. A balanced message was delivered during numerous breakout sessions led by subject matter experts from Microsoft, Microsoft partners, and Dynamics users. Attendees also gained knowledge about technology and solution partners that can solve a wide array of business challenges spread at the exhibition area, sponsored in part by Data Masons. SummitEMEA2019_2

Every company using Dynamics can benefit by upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365. In general, some of the key benefits include 

  • Eliminate large periodic upgrade projects. Historically, companies faced Dynamics ERP upgrades every few years because products no longer met their business needs, or to take advantage of new technology that could improve the business. In some cases, ERP upgrades are disruptive, and the costs of recreating or upgrading customizations in a new platform are high. Avoiding heavy lifting could eliminate downtime and costs. In addition, a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform like Dynamics 365 provides businesses with many benefits including improved application management, high availability, lower cost of overall ownership, application mobility, and a modern user experience and improved development environment. 
  • New capabilities with every update. Microsoft is developing software at a rapid pace to add new features and functionality, with the goal of systematically meeting business requirements with standard software. Microsoft’s release schedule is April and October, along with monthly cumulative updates. The April 2019 release touts 350 new capabilities and 6 new applications to complement ERP, CRM, and Power Apps. 
  • Embraces partners. Value Added Resellers (VARs) play a major role helping customers upgrade and keeping them updated.  Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) such as Data Masons can now more readily deliver innovative software capabilities that customers can implement much more quickly than in the past. At the same time, Microsoft is enhancing the partner program to help VARs improve their delivery skills. ISVs now have better integration options to meet customers’ business needs.   

Many companies have already elected to upgrade to Dynamics 365 from earlier versions of Dynamics. These early adopters of Dynamics 365 provided valuable firsthand experience of best practices for upgrades and that information was shared by a variety of speakers.  Some of the messages included the following points: 

  • General readiness. It’s been over a year since Dynamics 365 has been released to production, and there is plenty of feedback for Microsoft to work through. For example, some companies are reluctant to give control” to the Microsoft cloud. Instead, they deploy on premise, which unfortunately keeps some heavy lifting” tasks inhouse. Others had high expectations for standard software to cover the business needs but had to make more customizations than anticipated. Partners and ISVs also encounter bottlenecks in deploying software to the cloud, or degraded ISV/ERP performance in specific business process scenarios.  
  • Business process migrations. Companies have unique processes, and previous Dynamics ERP versions were customized to support the business. Understanding what was previously done, and determining if the customization must be redone, is a typical consulting effort a VAR can perform for a company. The challenge comes in the number of customizations and rewriting the customization in the new Dynamics 365 framework that restricts access to core code but enables the extension thereof. For example, core code extensions need to be submitted to Microsoft to work them into a release. One can conclude that the more customizations historically made, the more time and effort will be required to complete the upgrade. 
  • Speed of change. Partners will need to stay on top of the new software capabilities, quickly determine how customers can benefit from it, and establish a commercial model with customers to support the ongoing changes. It is unlikely that the current slow approach of agreeing changes will lend itself to speed required to deliver benefits to customers. Concurrently, customers will need to become more agile to adopt the changes, and creative on compensating partners that help them. 

The upgrade to update the paradigm shift has benefits and challenges for companies. Microsoft is increasingly demonstrating that it will not stand still in innovating products and removing obstacles for future adopters.  

As a certified Microsoft partner, Data Masons has an established approach that can help customers make this shift faster, starting right now. 

Our approach is simple.  

  • Eliminate all ERP customizations historically required to support EDI or non-EDI integration. 
  • Up to 25% (estimate) of historical customizations can be removed from the upgrade process. 
  • Updates can be made without impacting EDI or non-EDI integration. 
  • Changes required to maintain integration compliance is covered in the subscription fees.
  • Continuously develop capabilities that simplify EDI for the business and its users. 

If you want to know more, please ask for a consultation by clicking the button below, or emailing us at dmsales@datamasons.com.

Contact Larry Velez, General Manager, EMEA

Careers, Team

Data Masons is pleased to present our blog series, Giving Back. We are very proud of our team members who have chosen to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. Data Masons provides paid time off to any employee that wishes to give back to their communities and we proudly highlight the people and worthwhile charities to which they have dedicated their time.

Jackie Thomas has been a Project Manager with Data Masons for the past two years. She enjoys the camaraderie among her coworkers, stating that she communicates more with her colleagues in her remote position than she has working in physical offices in the past. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the Data Masons family, and excited to share the story of her experience with the Urban Challenge program through the Romero Center in Camden, New Jersey.
Jackie participated in the week-long program with her daughter and other teenagers and families. Each day, they visited a different organization in the Philadelphia and Camden areas, such as assisted living facilities and food pantries. One day they assisted MANNA in Philadelphia with preparing nutritious food for vulnerable clients. Another day, they went to Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, a food pantry that serves up to 250 people per meal. But their duties did not just include serving meals, as Jackie notes. She and the other volunteers were there to engage with the kitchen’s visitors, understand them, and listen to their stories as a “friend for the moment.”shutterstock_405397168_volunteeringhands

At the end of each day, Jackie and the other volunteers returned to the Romero Center for a debrief. Jackie says that her favorite part of the week was listening to the high school volunteers share their stories about how they were affected, and the people they met each day that gave them a new perspective.

Jackie knows there are many people who want to make a difference in their communities, but aren’t sure how. The first step, she says, is getting out there, because your closest opportunity is as close as next door. Local churches and food kitchens are often looking for group or individual volunteers, but there are so many different organizations that need support and volunteers. “People need someone to reach out and help, and sometimes just someone to talk to.” If everyone does one day here and there, Jackie says, who knows how many lives they can touch, and how many lifelong volunteers can be created?

Thank you, Jackie, for sharing the story of your incredible week with us. We have many more amazing stories of our employees’ efforts to come. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the next one!

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Growers and Nurseries, Blockchain, EDI

Many Wal-Mart fresh produce suppliers are concerned with how their company is going to handle the new Wal-Mart Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) requirements. PTI is required by Wal-Mart for leafy greens by September 30th, 2019 and it is expected that other fresh produce suppliers will also be impacted in future roll-outs.

Wal-Mart’s goal is to trace their produce through the vertical chains in which they conduct business by leveraging IBM’s blockchain-enabled technology branded as the “IBM Food Trust Network” to achieve their objective. The IBM Food Trust Network requires data often found on the traditional advance ship notice (856) document plus additional “lot” information. Sharing this information with the blockchain is intended to increase food safety by enabling faster identification of bacterially affected lots quickly and efficiently.shutterstock_1211188477_lettucewarehouse

Data Masons is supporting this initiative by seamlessly integrating the necessary data from a produce supplier’s ERP and EDI systems to IBM’s Food Trust Network. Our technology platform combined with our PTI experience and Blockchain technology enables cost-effective compliance in a timely manner.

Passing the PTI data to the IBM Food Trust Network requires integration with a proprietary RESTful API for the exchange of data into IBM’s blockchain-based solution. Communication is one of the challenges for PTI compliance. The other major challenge is gathering and validating the data before integration to the blockchain, as accuracy is critical – once submitted, the data cannot be changed.

Wal-Mart expects traditional ASN (856) data to continue flowing to their systems, which means that the data has to be consistent and highly accurate. Data Masons’ platform “cross checks” ASN data to the PTI information submitted to IBM’s Food Trust Network to eliminate consistency issues. Furthermore, the Data Masons platform can achieve PTI compliance without customizations to existing systems which can be a significant expense for suppliers.

In summary, supply chain-related data exchange requirements are becoming increasingly complex across all industries. Suppliers will likely need flexibility in their systems to meet those evolving requirements. The Wal-Mart Produce Traceability Initiative is just one example of the future state of eCommerce. Our objective at Data Masons Software is to eliminate traditional ERP customizations and thereby increase flexibility in the exchange and translation of data in and out of the ERP. To learn how we're positioned to integrate with Blockchain requirements such as PTI, read our executive brief, or contact us today.

Download the Blockchain for EDI Brief

Managed Services, EDI

Simply put, Managed EDI Services is the pain relief for your EDI headaches.

Many companies and IT departments view EDI as a necessary evil of doing business today which is regrettable. The truth is that when an EDI program is implemented and managed properly, the benefits can be transformational to the enterprise. Removing human involvement in mundane business transaction flows will increase transaction processing velocity and help eliminate errors - saving both time and money. Improving your organizations responsiveness while reducing errors fosters better relationships with business partners.  At the same time, increasing your company’s business efficiency and reduced costs will increase profitability.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, just like anything that sounds too good to be true, there are several factors that come into play when looking at what it takes to keep EDI running smoothly, such as:

 

  • People that understand EDI in your business
  • People that understand EDI best practices
  • People that understand how to effectively communicate with your EDI trading partners
  • People that know how to manage trading partner compliance
  • People that have time to react to EDI alerts and the knowledge to be able to address themmanagedservices

That’s a lot of EDI stuff that needs to be covered, and since EDI is not usually a core competency of most businesses that utilize EDI, and most tend not to hire dedicated staff to handle this work, this stuff can become EDI headaches. This is where Managed EDI Services comes in.

Managed EDI Services is the management of your EDI operations by an experienced third-party provider. They simplify EDI for you by providing EDI specialist teams that understand your specific business processes and manage the day-to-day so that you can focus on running your business.

The day-to-day operational tasks that are handled by Managed EDI Services teams are:

  • Proactive monitoring of your environment
  • Responding to and resolving of all EDI alerts and addressing their root causes
  • Communicating with your trading partners on EDI related topics
  • Communicating effectively with your business stakeholders
  • Applying EDI best practices
  • Managing compliance to partner specifications

The Managed EDI Services (MES) team’s primary role is to ensure that your EDI runs smoothly. Since they understand your key business processes and are automatically alerted to all events that might impede your business flow, they can proactively act to resolve any situations that arise. They also address the root cause to avoid repeated issues in the future.

Communication with every stakeholder in your supply chain is key to the running of a smooth EDI operation, the MES teams actively work with both your internal business stakeholders and your trading partners to understand and report back so that does happen. They are also able to bring the company-wide experience to your environment by looking for opportunities to implement best practice and strengthen overall operations. The MES team is an integral part of your team.

At the business level, the major benefits of employing Managed EDI Services are:

  • Reduced overheads
  • Reduced penalties
  • Continuous coverage
  • Time to focus

Having a team of specialists working for you provides continuous coverage for your EDI functions. No scrambling to find coverage when your internal staff take vacation or are out sick, no more worrying about someone with all the EDI knowledge leaving.

Managed EDI Services boils down to a service offering that makes EDI simple for you by providing you with the piece of mind that your EDI activities are being handled and that you and your staff can stay focused on running your core business.

Data Masons has been providing integrated EDI services for over two decades. To speak with a specialist about how our experts can augment your EDI team, contact us today!

Contact Us

EDI, Amazon, Seller Central, Vendor Central, Fulfillment by Amazon

It can be difficult to decide how to trade with Amazon, but understanding the differences between the options can enable organizations to best leverage the advantages of working with this leading eCommerce enterpriseIn this blog we’ll explain the differences between being a vendor and a seller, along with the fulfillment options available for both.  We also inform the reader as to how Data Masons can help companies fully automate their business processes with Amazon from order to invoice, regardless of the option selected. 
Vendor Central 
In this scenario, Amazon acts as a retailer, buying stock in bulk from a vendor and storing this stock in their distribution centers. The end customer then buys the stock from Amazon and the order is fulfilled by Amazon, so the end customer is Amazon’s customer. This means the communication with the customer is controlled by Amazon, and Amazon also collects margin on every sale. shutterstock_625771727

How Does Data Masons Help? 
Data Masons can integrate the entire Order to Cash cycle with Vendor Central via Amazon’s strict EDI requirements which can be fully managed by Data Masons on your organization’s behalf Data Masons can service interactions with Amazon in any country in which Amazon operates.  Data Masons seamlessly enables EDI with Vendor Central for all available Amazon Vendor Central interactions, resulting in lower operating costs for vendors that utilize Amazon’s portal solution.  

 

Seller Central 
When participating in Seller Central program, the supplier (seller) sells directly to their customers on the Amazon website. Amazon acts as a marketplace and it takes a subscription rather than margin on every sale. The seller controls the communication with the customer and can therefore build a customer profile, which can in-turn help with repeat business through targeted marketing. 

Seller Central also gives the seller more flexibility when changing settings such as delivery service levels, pricing and stock levels. This flexibility can be especially useful on promotional days like Black Friday, enabling a seller to quickly react to market conditions. For example:  

  • a competitor is selling the same products as your company at a discount you need to match on Amazon 
  • your warehouse is having issues, so you need to extend the delivery promise 
  • you want to alter the stock levels available on Amazon depending on how well all your selling channels are performing versus the stock levels you have available  

How Does Data Masons Help? 
Data Masons has a “ready to implement” solution that manages various RESTful API interfaces that are utilized with Seller Central. Data Masons can work with our clients to determine which ones are relevant to their use case to maximize selling potential and flexibility on Amazon. Orders are retrieved from Amazon automatically and then interfaced to existing ERP infrastructure.   The overall result is that distribution through Seller Central can be performed in an efficient, secure and reliable fashion. 

 

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) 
Fulfillment by Amazon is the third way that a company can utilize Amazon’s platform and services.  In this model, Amazon’s responsibilities include warehousing, shipping and even selling a company’s products but, unlike Vendor Central, Amazon does not purchase the goods from the seller and receive margin.  Instead, Amazon charges warehousing, selling and fulfillment fees Fees vary based on whether the goods are sold by Amazon or through other channels or eCommerce sites.  In detailed terms this is how FBA works. 

  • When FBA is utilized, the seller transfers goods to Amazon’s fulfillment centers and retains legal ownership of the goods. Amazon promotes the goods, receives orders, ships the goods and settles the payments that are remitted to the seller. At the same time, orders can be taken by the seller through other means and transmitted to Amazon for fulfilment but no billing is involved by Amazon.  In this scenario Amazon behaves like a public warehouse (aka Third Party Logistics Provider 3PL or Logistics Service Provider LSP). 
  • If both FBA and a company’s own distribution network are being used, the FBA API interfaces will only be run for the orders to be shipped via the FBA workstream.  

How Can Data Masons Help? 
Data Masons can fully integrate with Amazon FBA APIs and your Microsoft ERP directly or any ERP system that support EDI transactions such as X12, EDIFACT and even custom file formats. Data Masons can help companies utilize the optimal Amazon model for their business and become more competitive overall. 

To learn more about how Data Masons can provide seamless integration with your ERP for Amazon and other key trading partners, download our white paper, EDI Made Simple.

Executive Brief: EDI Made Simple: A New Approach

Careers, Team

Day 3 of our annual Data Masons' company meeting was a short but productive one. Check out the images taken by our awesome team members. Be sure to read the posts from Day 1 and Day 2, and if you're interested in joining us next year, take a look at our openings on our Careers page!

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The sunrise over Lido Beach greets employees as they start their day.


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Fiona Beckstrom, Director of Customer Success, educates her audience on the operations of Managed Services.

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Director of Customer Success, Fiona Beckstrom.

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The Customer Support Team meets for a group photo.

 

Again, if you haven't read about Day 1 and Day 2, please check them out! Thank you for letting us share a glimpse into our awesome time together with you. We're excited for another year of providing great EDI experiences to our customers and partners, and we encourage you to subscribe to our blog so you don't miss any news or information that could help simplify your EDI experience.

Subscribe to the Data Masons Blog  

Careers, Team

Day 2 of our annual Data Masons' company meeting was full of great breakout sessions, valuable connections, and fun trivia. Take a look at some of the highlights below, and be sure to check out snapshots from Day 1 as well!

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Employees gather for breakfast at the Lido Beach Resort.


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Nancy Eads, PMO Consulting Director, presents strategic updates to the implementation process.

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Consultancy Manager Donna Kratzer reviews Data Masons' Automotive Solution architecture.

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Managed Services and Support Staff attend a training session.


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In between breakout sessions, employees work-- with a view!


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KJ Johnston and Glenn McPeak emcee'ing a hilarious and suitably challenging trivia night.

 

Again, if you want to catch up on Day 1 of our company meeting, you can do so here. We'll post about our short but sweet Day 3 on Monday. During our time here, we've been generating ideas for valuable content we can bring to you over the coming year, so please subscribe to our blog so that you don't miss the next post!

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Careers, Team

Most of the Data Masons team is currently in Sarasota for our annual company meeting. As many of our readers know, the majority of Data Masons team members are spread out all over the world. Our annual meeting is a chance for us to connect face-to-face, discuss our company objectives for the coming year, and learn from one another to help us deliver the best experience to our customers and partners. We commenced on Monday, January 14th, and we're excited to present some visual highlights from that day.

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Our kickoff meeting on the morning of Monday, January 14th.

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Glenn McPeak discusses the current state and future of Data Masons

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As Glenn emphasizes, our company puts our customers and partners first.

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Glenn and David Irvine answer questions from Data Masons employees.

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Molly Kelly, VP of Operations, presents on professional services and the great feedback we've received from our customers.

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Dennis Bruce, Director of Business Development, discusses sales and marketing goals for 2019.

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Steve Massey, Director of Application Development, demos the upcoming updates to Vantage Point EDI.

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Larry Velez, EMEA General Manager, discusses Data Masons' progress in the European and Middle Eastern markets.

 

Our leadership team was excited to present awards to six Data Masons employees, who embody our company values and spirit. Linda Huth, AX Developer, won the Rookie of the Year award. She was unable to attend the meeting this year, but we're sending out our heartfelt congratulations!  

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Mary Paulin, Finance & Administration Manager, receives the Laura Buro award, for proactively looking for ways to better serve customers and the Data Masons team, and for a high degree of personal accountability, among other qualities that embody the spirit of longtime Data Masons employee Laura Buro.

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Donna Haycock-Drazic took home an award for her great work as a Consultant.


 

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Customer Support Staff Member Maggie Negrete was honored for her work in Support.

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Managed Services Staff Member Courtney Bush is 2019's Customer Hero, for consistently going above and beyond for our customers.

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Technical Deployment Specialist Rich Reither received the Team Player MVP award, for consistently helping his team members.
 

 

Later this week we'll present highlights from Day 2. Be sure to subscribe so that you don't miss our next post!

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Third-party Logistics, EDI

Welcome to the third blog in our series about third-party logistics management via electronic messaging/EDI! The first blog explained that outsourcing distribution to 3PLs is popular with companies that are expanding into new markets or want to focus on their core strengths and let the logistics experts manage the physical storage and distribution of their goods.

We also discussed that in 3PL automation projects, interactions can be generalized into two master file exchanges and five transaction scenarios. Part 2 delved into the master file exchanges, and this blog, the third and final blog of the series, focuses on the five transaction scenarios.

Transactions

At a high level, warehouses are simple operations. Goods arrive, goods are moved around inside the warehouse, and goods are shipped. In the “real world,” things get a little more complicated, as goods can be damaged, stolen, expired, and have other issues that require inventory adjustments. Man_in_warehouse-1

Another factor (for a future blog), is the value-added services 3PLs provide to repack items into different forms and partner numbers. This “conversion” of inventory is similar to production environments where components are removed from inventory and new inventory is created with no physical receipt or shipment process. However, today we’re focused on the basic 3PL process for the simple distribution of finished goods.

To understand the basic premise of the X12 document’s intent as it relates to warehousing, imagine we’re commencing a new relationship. We’ve sent the item catalog information to the warehouse, so they know the item numbers and characteristics of the items they’ll be housing. The first step in the process is to ship goods to the warehouse. In a best practice scenario, we’ll send the warehouse a notice of in-transit goods so they can plan the receiving and storage activities. In the X12 standard, the document that fits this scenario is the 943 Warehouse Stock Transfer Shipment Advice. The data in this document can have many sources, such as a planned inter-warehouse shipment, purchase order, or ship notice from a related party. Regardless, it lets the warehouse know that goods are coming with a high level of detail.

When the goods arrive, the warehouse should inspect and possibly count the goods to make sure that what was scheduled to arrive did. If the goods are coming from a vendor, it’s essential to validate invoices and payments. The document that fits this purpose in the X12 standard is the 944 Warehouse Stock Transfer Receipt Advice.

The next logical transaction in the 3PL relationship is the X12 standard’s 940 Warehouse Shipping Order, which gives the 3PL the details to integrate into their internal systems for accurate fulfillment of the shipment. 

We want to know the goods were shipped and have details on freight carrier information, freight costs, lot numbers, serial numbers, and other crucial details for accounting and inventory control purposes.

The last common transaction in the 3PL process interaction is the Inventory Adjustment Process.  Because there’s always the possibility of inventory loss through errors and obsolescence, we’ll need a means for the warehouse to communicate what’s being disposed of and why. This scenario is covered nicely in the X12 standard by the 947 Warehouse Inventory Adjustment Advice.

Achieving a finely tuned 3PL process flow can deliver significant benefits to a business that distributes goods through outsourced warehousing. The discussion today is supported by the X12 EDI standard, but that’s not a prerequisite of a successful endeavor. Other formats, such as CSVs, XML, EDIFACT, JSON, and others can also do the job – but they require careful evaluation and implementation, as they are not supported by a highly evolved standard such as the X12 standard. 

We hope you find this information useful in understanding a simplified approach to 3PL project implementation. Again, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here. If you have questions, please contact us at techblog@datamasons.com or www.datamasons.com. And be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don't miss our next post!

Many of our customers have overcome challenges and found success with our EDI solution, which can take the headache out of 3PL and other business processes. Read our white paper to learn more.

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EDI, Amazon

Amazon Seller Central (Fulfillment by Amazon) can present challenges to companies with an existing EDI capable infrastructure by mandating the use of Web Services and XML data formats. Data Masons offers a simple and effective solution for those organizations that want a fast and cost effective way to integrate Amazon Seller Central into their existing EDI system. shutterstock_1152348296_packagesonporch

Data Masons now provides an EDI solution for Seller Central that manages the communications and translation of all messages to and from any EDI standard message such as X12 and EDIFACT. Setup can usually be accomplished in a day and has a low setup cost and modest ongoing fees. 

Amazon Seller Central offers companies a way to quickly enter new markets and outsource product distribution. Data Masons can quickly connect Seller Central into your ERP platform without any special changes to existing systems and infrastructure! Contact us to learn more, whether you’re an existing Data Masons customer, or considering us for your EDI needs.

Contact Us

Welcome back to our series about third-party logistics management via electronic messaging/EDI! Last week we explained that outsourcing distribution to 3PLs is popular with companies that are expanding into new markets or want to focus on their core strengths and let the logistics experts manage the physical storage and distribution of their goods.

We also discussed that in 3PL automation projects, interactions can be generalized into two master file exchanges and five transaction scenarios. This week, we delve deeper into the master file exchanges.

Master Files

Master file exchanges enable synchronization of critical data between the 3PL’s warehouse management system (WMS) and their customer’s ERP system

Product Catalog (Sent to the 3PL by the 3PL customer)

The third-party logistics service provider and its WMS system need information about the products they’ll be warehousing and distributing, including part numbers, descriptions, special handling information, barcodes, and other elements that allow the 3PL to plan capacity for, store, and ship products safely. Because most businesses have an ongoing process of adding new products and updating or discontinuing others, the 3PL and their customer must consistently exchange information to stay updated.shutterstock_788905441_warehouseman

The X12 standard for this document is the 832 Price/Sales Catalog or the 888 Item Maintenance. (Author’s note: The 832 is used predominantly in 3PL scenarios, but there’s a strong argument that the 888 is the better fit.)

Inventory Status (Sent by the 3PL to the 3PL customer)

Soon after the initial product receipts and shipments occur between the customer and 3PL, the inevitable question is, “Is our inventory accurate and in sync?” Periodic transmission of an inventory status document is a best practice for most 3PLs – although that sometimes makes it difficult to reconcile discrepancies, whether they be timing related or more serious shrinkage or theft issues. The document for this interaction is the 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice.

Please come back next time for the final blog in our series about third-party logistics management via electronic message/EDI – we’ll be discussing the five 3PL transaction scenarios.

Read part 3

To read more about integrating EDI messaging for logistics, download our data sheet.

Download the Data Sheet

And if you have questions, please contact us at techblog@datamasons.com.

Third-party Logistics, EDI

Welcome to our three-part series of blogs about third-party logistics management via electronic messaging/EDI. We receive many questions about 3PL from our readers, and we’re excited to share our knowledge of integrating EDI with this business practice.

Outsourcing distribution to 3PLs, also known as public warehouses or logistics service providers, is increasingly popular for companies that are expanding into new markets or simply want to focus on their core strengths by allowing logistics experts to manage the physical storage and distribution of their goods.

To make outsourced logistics seamless and cost-effective, advanced organizations implement electronic communications. Data Masons has worked on over one hundred of these projects with stakeholders who have various levels of capabilities and approach standards. We’ve learned that these projects have consistent patterns that are useful to understand when approaching this type of project.shutterstock_396462703_warehouse

In our experience with 3PL automation projects, interactions can be generalized into two master file exchanges and five transaction sets (also known as documents). The authors of the X12 EDI Standard clearly understood how to manage interactions with a 3PL – the documents most commonly used by 3PLs are very well-conceived and documented in the X12 EDI standard frequently used by 3PLs.

The second part of our series will continue next week, discussing master file exchanges.

Read part 2
Read part 3

Data Masons has helped many companies integrate EDI messaging with 3PL. To learn more about how to streamline your warehousing, download our data sheet.

Download the Data Sheet