MRO and EDI- a Good Match Part 2

  August 20, 2013       By Ray Atia
How MRO materials or products will be used is generally subject to organizational health and safety rules. EDI Integration specialists must consider such factors in generating a viable eProcurement strategy. Licensed partners will ideally already be involved in sector EDI networks. Test the waters with a feasibility survey prior to integration. Lead times and purchase-to-pay processing is a core competency of eProcurement platforms. EDI SaaS using eProcurement should be evaluated in respect to transaction services and guarantee. Recovery time to operations (RTO) is another key consideration. Most EDI programs are established partly in response to RTO management. It is likely that a SaaS vendor will guarantee faster RTO after an enterprise systems failure. Review terms and conditions to eProcurement transaction verification services. Electronic financial transaction (EFT) agreements vary. User interface with the new eProcurement module in the business may require training. Investment in the people that use the portal is one of the most important and efficient methods of reducing accounting errors. Business processing automation has streamlined organizations more than ever. Enable users to further this value with ongoing training and feedback. Employees and partners are a first response alert in cases where an enterprise process is malfunctioning, or an MRO purchase is faulty for the current system. Here are some other problems identified at time of EDI electronic systems activation: (1) Partners – full integration with a partner through an EDI network is not always a magical experience. Avoid turning connectivity and data sharing goals into a pipe dream. Investigate current processes, architecture and infrastructure already underway at a partner organization before selecting SaaS components and cloud computing services. (2) Transactions – fees, verification processes, reporting and account funding delays can all cause havoc to new EFT relationships. Test electronic transaction providers on purchase order acknowledgments, invoice tracking, customer data collection and analysis before subscribing to a merchant services agreement. (3) Database Interface – to ensure accuracy in shared data, cloud computing partners offer a multitude of applications for sharing. Records or files dedicated to shared access should be consistent with price indices or rank ordering applied to products or services within the user interface of each partner in the network. SaaS takes the guesswork out of database modeling, allowing for synchronized data interface on the spot. An important feature for incorporating catalogue attributes in eProcurement. (4) Change management – communications flows coupled with continuous training make user interface possible. User access, procedure and performance measurement in a new system should be indicated before an EDI program goes live. Mapping of inbound and outbound activities for MRO or other core eProcurement functions is an example of how managers can create a total support environment. Provision of information about user reconciliation of problems, partner setup and systems troubleshooting should be handled upfront. (5) Ancillary Strategies – investigation of system impacts to evaluate critical paths in an enterprise systems deployment is crucial for ERP precision and other core business processing functions. Audit of results to path performance will assist in resolving future conflicts that may arise. Ancillary functions to deal with enterprise systems failures. Process impact reporting of MRO quality assurance items is one way of judging the efficacy of an EDI program. The worst case scenario for any operational value chain is to overlook inefficient eProcurement processes or MRO results. Reduction of tertiary errors through analysis and quality assurance issues with SaaS solutions place an organization back on track.