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EDI as a Leading Economic Indicator – It’s Getting Hot Out There

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Picture appears courtesy of Christian Witte.

It’s getting hot out there…and we’re not talking about climate change.  Our garden is not doing well, but that’s a topic for another day.

We must be talking about the economy – something is going on. For the past three years now we’ve been getting non-stop calls and myriad assignments from clients in a wide range of businesses who are either adding new EDI, XML and JSON transactions or additional and/or new trading partners.  Economic recovery is a beautiful thing for EDI consultants like us – and for our clients.

It doesn’t matter whether they manufacture leis or souvenir t-shirts on the Hawaiian Islands destined for the local Wal*Mart and Sears stores (typically Web-based EDI) or tiles made in China or by local US artisans destined for showrooms around the country (on-premise EDI mapped into Oracle and JD Edwards).  You can have South Korean tire manufacturers selling to General Motors and Audi/BMW (we even did the German OFTP protocol) and the major tire distributor/shop chains (they love their SAP) or a fast-growing company selling the card readers you see at craft fairs, farmers markets, and oh yes, the microbreweries (usually Oracle). Oh, can’t forget the tomatoes, or rather the tomato packing company. They run 24/7 this time of year and heaven forbid the EDI server goes down when scheduling the shipments this time of year – their packing season.

What do they all have in common?  They are all using EDI to stay competitive in the global marketplace.  Not to mention the medical device/pharmaceutical/medical supply companies who integrate with CVS, Rite-Aid, and dozens of hospitals and health care exchanges. Everyone and their cousin seem to do business with Amazon, selling everything you can imagine.  It’s a good thing we use versatile software like Liaison’s Delta/ECS package to meet all of their requirements.  The flexibility and scalability of Delta/ECS allow for almost any integration solution you can imagine.

Delta/ECS’ versatility calls to mind a recent assignment for a 3rd party manufacturer of game controllers which called for us to integrate their Microsoft Dynamics Navision ERP software into a 3PL distribution company down under in Australia.  We accomplished this with a custom-developed XML interface in order to break into the Australian market and integrate using flavors of EDIFACT EDI documents with major electronics chains across Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, as well as Amazon.de for the German market. We could not have successfully executed such an assignment without flexible and robust EDI software.  Just scheduling project communication alone was complicated!  Set-up calls and emails start in the early morning for Europe and end late in the day (here) for Australia.  It’s a good thing we’ve got a good Skype connection. Our consultants are on a first-name basis with EDI coordinators and business people across about eleven time zones – definitely makes for good conversation.

With all this data flowing 24/7 and VAN, AS2 and secure FTP traffic going through the roof we know the economy is really humming along and the growth of EDI is the indicator. You can invest in it.

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