Spotlight On: Valley Industries, LLP
As the CFO of Valley Industries, I was given the task of completing our EDI implementation at the end of 2016. Valley Industries has sales of over $30 million per year and over 4,000 SKU’s. In addition, Valley’s trading partners are very unique, with various types of billing arrangements and discount structures. At the beginning of the project I identified over thirty trading partners that had reached out to us as being interested in implementing EDI. Of these I narrowed the list down to twenty-two trading partners that would be cost effective to implement EDI based on their sales and purchase order volume. Of the list of twenty-two, five of those had enough volume to warrant being set up as fully integrated EDI partners.
As you can see, from the outset this was a very large project. What I appreciated the most about working with Beck Consulting and SPS Commerce was that they took the time to understand our business models and suggest solutions that made the most sense based on our existing operations. At the beginning of 2017 I had a number of fully integrated and portal EDI partners being implemented at the same time, so the support I received from the consultants at Beck Consulting and SPS was critical to the success of the implementation. From troubleshooting orders to how to properly set up the new trading partners, I greatly appreciated the input I received, sometimes on a daily basis, from the implementation team.
The benefits of the EDI implementation have been significant as we have been able to significantly reduce data entry time. A conservative estimate I put together came to around $5,000 per year in savings for straight data entry time alone. In addition to the annual savings for reduced data entry, there is the reduction of costs associated with data entry errors. While these costs are more difficult to quantify, the savings are substantial not only from a monetary standpoint but also from a customer relations standpoint from the elimination of data entry errors. Since the transactions basically feed directly back and forth between trading partners, there is minimal need for human review. In one case where there are various pricing structures for a trading partner, Beck Consulting was able to help add a checkbox to our accounting database to allow orders to be quickly reviewed for any pricing discrepancies.
Post-implementation, I am incredibly pleased with the results of the implementation from time, money, and customer relations standpoints. My largest challenge now is fending off the many internal requests to set up additional trading partners with fully integrated EDI.
Finally, I would like to specifically mention the great support I received from Donna Cook at Beck Consulting during the entire process. Donna has extensive knowledge from both the functional and the business side of EDI and in many instances was able to ask the right questions and make the right changes to save us significant time and money. For example, in certain cases a simple internal process change would achieve the desired results while in other cases minor changes to the database were necessary. I leaned on Donna’s knowledge extensively and she was always available in those emergency situations when there was an existing customer order that had an issue that needed to be resolved very quickly to get the order out on time.
Darrin Larson, CFO, Valley Industries, LLP.