With expanding customer bases, businesses need to ensure their systems enable them to manage their growth. In this Acceleration Case Study, learn how Osborn overcame growth challenges with a new EDI solution. By partnering with SPS Commerce, Osborn decreased error rates to less than 10%, enhanced scorecard metrics, and expanded SPS analytics.
Business Challenge – Finding a Better Way to Manage Business Growth
Osborn is a worldwide company specializing in industrial brushes. They sold their products with various distributors, such as Fastenal and Grainger. For many years, Osborn had used the same EDI provider, but they encountered some challenges with the provider. It was difficult for the company to make a few changes or even add new customers.
- They recognized the pain points with the first EDI provider:
- Expensive and inflexible
- Time-consuming and challenging to use
The previous partnership with their first EDI provider wasn’t working out, as it slowed down their productivity and expenses kept piling up. Osborn also didn’t have any in-house EDI experts.
- The company determined goals for the new EDI provider:
- Cost-friendly and flexible
- Offer professional expertise
- Efficient growth management and data processing
They needed a partner that could help them fully take advantage of this technology and help manage the growth of their business.
Software Solution – SPS Commerce
Eventually, the company chose to partner with SPS Commerce. From the start, Osborn tapped into the SAP ECC expertise at SPS Commerce. They also took advantage of the automation capabilities of its EDI solution.
By using SPS Fulfillment, employees can easily import sales orders with SAP. This simple process requires minimal input from the employees. The automated FTP will pull purchase orders into SAP every few minutes using Fulfillment. All of the outbound transactions also follow this automated process.
Using SPS Fulfillment eliminates the need for Obsborn to hire more employees. Since the company doesn’t have any in-house EDI experts, SPS Commerce manages everything on their behalf.
SPS can easily handle a wide range of activities, whether it’s adding more trading partners or troubleshooting any technical issues. Everything happens quickly without the need for any direct involvement. The partnership with SPS has not only saved time but it’s also freed up valuable resources to allow the company to focus on other initiatives.
Results – Improved Growth Management and Flexibility
After partnering with SPS Commerce, Osborn experienced many benefits and more flexibility in better managing their business.
Decreased Error Rates
Similar to most suppliers, bad data practices over the years created inaccurate pricing, descriptions, and part numbers that they provided for their trading partners. All of this erroneous information led to many mistakes. It was especially problematic. The sales team had to manually fix these errors or the ERP had to decline them. In other words, each order had to be manually reviewed and checked before it was processed.
SPS Fulfillment has eliminated this step. EDI orders are sent automatically into SAP for creating sales orders. Only orders flagged with missing data or errors need manual intervention. Everything else is processed hands-free.
Before partnering with SPS, Osborn’s error rates were at least 30% or higher due to bad data. Now, error rates are less than 10%. Furthermore, they continue to rapidly improve. The SPS error rate is nearly zero, which is a significant improvement over the previous system. SPS Fulfillment identifies any data errors for outbound documents before these transactions are sent to a retailer. Error notifications allow the team to fix any mistakes or add missing data before reaching the trading partner. This process has eliminated all of the time spent on handling rejected transactions and fees related to chargebacks.
Enhanced Scorecard Metrics
Each retailer and distributor keeps scorecards for their suppliers. These scorecards for trading partners include various information, such as the accuracy of advance ship notices (ASNs). Each retailer can measure suppliers to determine if the ASN EDI transaction is sent on schedule and if the data is correct. Osborn was on a mission to improve its ratings to help boost relations with its trading partners.
Staying in ASN compliance was vital in working with retailers, such as Amazon, as they would charge extra if Osborn wasn’t meeting their requirements. These small fees can quickly add up and erase profit margins. Fortunately, using SPS resulted in significant improvements to Osborn’s scorecards, which helped to decrease chargebacks.
Expanded SPS with Analytics
Osborn is beginning to implement SPS Commerce Analytics. This solution will allow the sales team to access point-of-sale (POS) data from each of their distributors.
Before this process, the supplier had to receive all of the customer POS data, which required a full-time employee to edit the data to make it helpful for sales manually. This task often took up to a week to complete. However, it stretched to two weeks once that individual retired and was replaced by a new hire. All of this extra time spent managing data for sales made it nearly impossible for the new employee to perform their other job duties.
One of their customers notified them that they would provide POS data through SPS Analytics, saving an enormous amount of time. The director of sales saw this as an excellent opportunity to expand SPS Analytics to each account, which made the job tasks of the sales team much more manageable and convenient. Using SPS Analytics enables them to access data at any time without the need to wait an extra week or two.
The implementation of SPS Analytics has boosted business efficiency for Osborne. The EDI solution makes it much easier to manage business growth while accessing sales data within a single solution and format. Employees don’t have to worry about using multiple spreadsheets with delayed reporting or inaccurate information. This solution enables Osborn’s sales team to easily track sales while monitoring promotions and making timely purchase recommendations. Overall, using SPS Analytics was a big win for the entire sales department at Osborn.