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EDI Consulting: All in a Week’s Work

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Picture appears courtesy of Wicker Paradise.

Whether you are an EDI Coordinator or Consultant it takes a lot of talent, patience and determination to do a good job.  When you’re consulting with clients in a variety of industries, a good consultant has to wear many hats.  We were thinking over the last week of the many things we touched on and what it really takes to do this job.

Our week started with helping the Health IT department of a university rework a ten-year-old set of processes that was processing EDI 837 Health Care Claims by converting them into XML to be loaded into a giant SQL Stored Procedure for further processing before being loaded into a database for submission to the state for payment. Somewhere between the XML and the database, some claims were simply lost with no helpful logging available. To resolve this we proposed using the Delta/ECS EDI tools to go directly from the EDI 837 into the database where we would have solid logging of the transactions.

With another client, a freight logistics distribution company supporting electronic component suppliers to Toyota, Nissan and Subaru, was required to send copies of EDI 830 order forecast documents to the suppliers. They elected to use their existing Liaison Technologies EDI VAN connection and ECS to create and route the documents and copies. The initial tests were failing because the software used to create the documents was adding extra control characters after each EDI segment record. To diagnose this, we had to look at the data with a hexadecimal text editor on their server and on the VAN with the VAN LENS browser and document it for the customer so the corrections could be made. EDI today has a lot of powerful tools that can be used to diagnose problems with data and to keep the supply chain moving.

One issue we see is that the EDI coordinator needs to know customer service order entry, A/R invoicing, warehouse shipping, the customers, trading partners, IT, and many other business functions in order to do an effective job.  This is not always the case and that’s where we come in to save the day.

Our week ended out with sitting in on meetings at a sports equipment supplier-customer that decided to get into the sports apparel business and suddenly needed to outsource their shipping functions to a 3PL company in order to meet the demands of several major retailers, followed by a JDEdwards Oracle customer doing a major upgrade whose EDI system needed hand-holding through the process.

Either way it is rewarding work because we get to touch on so many things for this important business process to so many organizations.  It is fortunate we have good tools available and expert consultants to wield them.

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