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Omni Channel Part 2: New Buying Practices

Buying from a traditional retailer is straight forward. You walk into a store, pick some items off the shelf, pay at the register and take them home. In an omni channel environment, there are new ways to make purchases and each method represents a different challenge for retailers.

See Part 1: What is Omni Channel?

Say you want to buy a new television. You start comparing brands and reading product reviews online. Next you look for the lowest price and make a purchase online. If you’re…

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Omni Channel Part 1: What is Omni Channel?

If you look up omni in the dictionary it has the following meaning: in all ways or places; everywhere; universal. From a retailing perspective, Omni Channel means providing a consumer with a seamless shopping experience in the method that the consumer prefers. 

Consumers want products now rather than later and it’s in retailers’ best interests to fulfill that need. Whether the consumer is in a bricks and mortar store, visiting the retailer’s web site or reading a product review, the retailer…

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What is an EDI kilo-character?

Before the Internet, private Value Added Networks (VANs) took care of moving EDI data between trading partners. They stored the data in electronic mailboxes on their servers and used high speed telephone lines to move the data from one VAN to another. Customers would use regular telephone lines to send and receive data from their mailbox on their chosen VAN.

The telecommunications companies charged VANs a fee based on the speed that data was transferred through the telephone lines. They spoke…

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The ideal time to change your EDI system

I’ve met many 3PLs who operate very complex and expensive EDI systems. They purchased software, hired IT personnel and pay antiquated VAN fees. Or, they outsourced EDI and pay excessive setup fees every time a new customer asks for EDI.  Often I will ask a 3PL provider this rhetorical question “Are you in the EDI business or the 3PL business?” 

The answer is clear but some 3PLs spend far too much time and money on EDI. Those resources should be allocated for warehousing and distribution…

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EDI World Magazine: A Blast from the Past

I’ve been around the EDI industry for so long that I’ve become nostalgic about it. You probably think I need to “get a life” or maybe I’m just a geek at heart. 

I remember the days when EDI trade shows were the place to be to learn what’s going on in the industry. EDI World magazine was also a good source of information and the best way to communicate trends, plus it provided a captive audience for advertisers. The premier issue of EDI World came out in October 1990 and the...

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EDI: A standard that's not really standard

EDI is truly a standard for electronic document formatting but many companies on the receiving side don’t understand why EDI appears to be different for every trading partner. Shouldn’t an order (EDI 850) from every customer look the same? That’s ideal but it’s not realistic.

Every company uses different software to run their business. The EDI standards are flexible enough to allow each company to create an 850 that best matches their accounting or ERP software. Company A might be...

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What is EDI and How does it work?

EDI is something your company needs if you do business in certain industries. Unless you’re in the IT department you don’t necessarily care about the inner workings of EDI.

For those looking for a fundamental explanation of EDI, I’ve written a whitepaper titled “What is EDI and How does it Work?” It’s written with the novice end user in mind but it will also benefit those of you who are technically minded.

The whitepaper is free and available for download here: What is EDI?

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Why does EDI cost so much?

Two things that frustrate companies most about EDI are the complexity and the cost. Believe it or not, EDI costs have come down considerably since the early days but they are still too high for some.

EDI costs are typically made up of three components:
1) Translation and communications software
2) Mapping fees
3) Value Added Network fees

Software can cost you thousands of dollars. VAN fees are a commodity and cost just pennies per kilocharacter. If you outsource EDI there are no software…

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Adding E-commerce Orders to your WMS

More and more companies are asking their 3PL service provider to accept e-commerce orders. Before you can fulfill those orders, you have to figure how you’re going to get them into your warehouse management system. Shopping Cart

This could easily become the “EDI nightmare” all over again. There are dozens of shopping cart programs available in the marketplace and your customers could be using any number of them. Many of the major retailers have their own shopping cart software too. That means you...

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When E-commerce used to mean EDI

EDI became a “hot” technology in the mid-1980’s and it’s still widely in use today. It’s considered “old” technology by some but you can’t do business in many industries without EDI. The retail industry has been the driving force behind EDI but it’s also prominent in logistics, healthcare, manufacturing and numerous other industries.

As the Internet became commonplace in the early 1990’s, EDI was no longer the only method of electronic communications. The term e-commerce...

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Integral Group - EDI Services for Suppliers and 3PLs since 1986

500 Hood Road, Suite 330
Markham, Ontario L3R 9Z3
Canada
905-947-1774
info@integralgroup.ca