An EDI case study is extremely useful when exploring the benefits of EDI for your business

In this case study we implemented a bespoke EDI solution for our client, which consolidated and standardised communications across a complex supply chain.

For the full details of the existing challenges, proposed EDI solution, and subsequent benefits, read through the example of EDI below.

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EDI Case Study Background: AS Watson

The client, AS Watson group, came to Transalis seeking a way to standardise their supply chain communications across their vast and complex network.

AS Watson group is one of the world’s largest Health and Beauty (H&B) retailers. It was established in Hong Kong in 1841.

Understanding the scale of AS Watson’s operation reveals the challenge of managing the supply chain. The trading network totals around 3,000 suppliers. These are spread across 16 European countries and include 8 major high street retailers, totalling up to 4,000 stores.

Having such a vast network across multiple territories posed a number of challenges for the H&B retailer. Some of these challenges in the supply chain were too complicated to manage internally. Therefore, supply chain technology provider, Transalis, was consulted to implement a solution which simplifies and standardises their processes.

Challenges With Supply Chain Communications

AS Watson group needed to standardise all supply chain communications to meet centralised strategy objectives. These objectives primarily focused on IT consolidation and SLAs.

In addition, country divisions of the group also had their own objectives. For example, rapid onboarding of new suppliers in the UK.

Approximately 40% of the Group had never used Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) before.

Although, some country divisions did have Integration Brokerage solutions in place. However, there was no standardisation across the various country divisions of the group.

This lack of standardisation was evident in a number of areas across the group’s different divisions. For example, there were numerous different ERP solutions being used. These included Retek, Navision and other custom built systems.

Ultimately, this lack of standardisation across the organisation created challenges for consistent processes. This also posed a further challenge for Transalis regarding the integration of applications and systems.

Transalis Integration Solutions

Transalis provided a solution which was tailored to AS Watson’s specific needs. In particular, it targeted the lack of consistency and connectivity between divisions.

Firstly, multiple integration solutions were introduced. All of these integrations were built on the same methodology, via Integration Brokerage. This strategy ensured a fully digital European supply chain.

Secondly, Transalis provided custom built cloud-based EDI platforms. These platforms were either integrated or accessed online. This allowed for the secure, reliable and consistent exchange of business documents and messages throughout the entire European supply chain.

As a result, these cloud-based platforms meant data could be exchanged digitally, regardless of the document type, data format, or network standards.

This approach resulted in the 75% reduction in order processing time.

Improved Business Performance

Transalis also introduced further functionalities on top of the EDI solution detailed above.

These additional features gave AS Watson group greater oversight of their supply chain. This oversight could then inform decision making and lead to improved business performance.

Including data dashboards and reporting were some of the additional features provided by Transalis. The ability to view data on dashboards and create reports gave the central IT department and individual divisions an enhanced overview of supply chain communications.

Order information was now readily available, all whilst these documents were rapidly converted into EDI compliant messages and sent for processing. This meant that AS Watson group had full visibility of their data for the first time.

The existing ERP systems were also fully utilised with this solution. This is because replacing these systems would have been disruptive, expensive and labour intensive. Therefore, non-displacement was a key goal for the overall solution design.

In summary, this solution removed the complexity of establishing digital communications across the network. This is because it enabled all organisations, regardless of IT deployed, to communicate data in a standardised way.

Key Facts

  • Reduced document processing time by 75%
  • Non-displacement of existing systems
  • Removed IT complexities
  • Full visibility of vital business data
  • Improved traceability and auditing
  • Efficient supply chain communications
  • Rapid supplier onboarding

EDI Case Study Outcomes

The Transalis web and integrated EDI solution allowed AS Watson to meet all their objectives whilst ensuring no existing investments in IT were displaced. The solution ensured that performance SLAs were met across Europe. This allowed AS Watson group to drive business growth and constantly optimise its digital supply chain.

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eDI Connect

Ideal for companies with many trading partners, high order volumes, requiring enhanced stock & sales reporting


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Head to the Case Study section of our Knowledge Hub to find other great examples of EDI in action! You can also talk to our dedicated team on 0845 123 3746 (UK) or +44 1978 369 343 (international), or via email to find out how EDI can help tackle your unique business challenges.