The IQMS Automation Department often works on projects involving integration of ERP software with shop floor systems. “Bringing the shop floor to you” is the mantra behind the department and the service the department provides to our customers. Many projects involve integration of shop floor systems with an existing module or some new application to enhance our EnterpriseIQ system so that the machine operators have more information and are less likely to make mistakes.
In this blog, I’d like to share with you a project that has intrigued me. It involved almost every department at IQMS, it moved very quickly, it was different than a machine/systems integration and, best of all, I see it being an opportunity for a big return on investment (ROI) for our customers.
The WebDirect Vendor Portal project involves the following features:
- A web interface for vendors to send advanced shipping notices (ASNs) based on outstanding purchase orders
- Ability to print packing slips and bill of lading (BOL) reports based on user definable reports
- Ability to print native user definable EnterpriseIQ barcode labels to apply to the pallets/boxes being shipped
- Ability to receive barcoded labels into EnterpriseIQ with a single scan for the shipment, box by box or pallet by pallet
The WebDirect Vendor Portal project brings a level of automation to EnterpriseIQ, our customers and their vendors that I’ve seen few systems offer. In other words, ERP systems often offer either a web portal or an EDI module. Those systems with advanced EDI may offer a fair amount of automation to the receiving process, however their rigidity and expense of adding a new trading partner can often leave small trading partners doing transactions the old fashioned way. In fact, I would classify these legacy systems as offering 'partial EDI' because only those trading partners that have been configured can take advantage of EDI.
EnterpriseIQ has had a highly configurable, inexpensive and quick-to-implement EDI module for many years now. However, there were still times when a vendor that is not often traded with or could not support EDI would raise the cost of doing business. The WebDirect Vendor Portal is a great solution for these vendors, and perhaps a great solution now for handling ASNs with even your large EDI vendors.
With a mature EDI package, plus the WebDirect Vendor Portal, EnterpriseIQ can quickly provide a quick ROI, through a web interface, that both large and small vendors can use easily. You can drastically reduce business transaction expenses, while improving receipt error rates and inventory transaction errors. There is also a key benefit of reduced time to stock because the vendor labeling is dictated by the EnterpriseIQ system and fully customizable whether you want one master label for all vendors or different labels per vendor.
Let me walk you through the workflow of what the vendor would do to ship the product to you. After quickly filtering all of the purchase orders based on your promise date, the vender can click a few buttons to select which items they want to ship and enter the number of labels that they need to apply to the containers. After the vendor submits the shipment transaction, which enters the EnterpriseIQ system as a pending ASN, they can quickly download, print and apply the inventory labels to the containers to be shipped as well as a BOL and packing slip that you’ve dictated the format for. This alone reduces the receipt time, mistakes and training for your receiving department.
Now the containers arrive at your receiving docks and your EnterpriseIQ Warehouse Management System (WMS) users can take advantage of the WMS module's ability to receive inventory through a quick scan of a barcode for each container they receive on the dock. Now this is great because you’ve designed the label you need, you already have all the information you could need regarding each container and that inventory can go straight to stock without relabeling! I think I just heard a loud applause from your warehouse.
This type of project demonstrates the true integration the EnterpriseIQ system delivers and it was very fulfilling to bring so many pieces of our system together into a cohesive solution that makes a difference to our customers.