This maker of building products for commercial and residential customers has been a Fortune 500 company for 65 consecutive years—and a REMEDI client since 1994. During that time, the client has relied on consultants from Columbus, Ohio-based REMEDI to manage, monitor, and maintain an EDI environment built on the IBM® Sterling Gentran: Server for Unix platform.
As a manufacturer in a fiercely competitive global economy, the client needs to support a complex and ever-growing network of trading partners in 33 countries. Their challenge is to do that cost effectively within an EDI environment built on a legacy application.
Consistent with a company culture built on continuous improvement, the client is carefully evaluating their options for their next EDI integration solution. In the meantime, seamlessly flowing EDI data is the lifeblood of their multi-billion-dollar global business.
Which is why it’s essential that their current EDI system meet the needs of their customers, vendors and carriers across the globe.
The REMEDI team is made up of three EDI consultants, each of whom is responsible for a defined group of trading partners, customers, vendors, and carriers.
While there is some redundancy when needed (such as vacations) each consultant brings a unique strength to the relationship.
For example, REMEDI lead Dave McCray is considered the most skilled mapping expert of the group. His colleague over the carrier segment is the Gentran system expert. The client values his expertise to keep data flowing continuously to the network and adapt the system whenever rules and needs change.
The REMEDI consultant tasked with vendor support is, according to McCray, “the scripting wizard” on the team, a skill that allows him to streamline the hours-eating manual tasks that come with new or updated requirements.
In effect, REMEDI’s three-man team is a “one-stop shop” for this global manufacturer, responsible for all things EDI and managing the whole EDI environment.
Reduced administrative overhead
REMEDI’s history with the client delivers more than goodwill. Thanks to a project workflow built on trust and competence, they now require one manager dedicated to the EDI environment instead of three. Yet the company still controls their integration environment.
In the words of Dave McCray, he and his fellow REMEDI consultants are more than an extension of the client’s EDI team, “We are her team.”
Unless an issue or a competing priority emerges that needs immediate resolution, the REMEDI team needs little or no management involvement outside of project kickoff meetings.
The confidence to trust the daily management of their EDI infrastructure to REMEDI frees the client to focus on other priorities.
Rapid response onboarding
A long relationship can breed complacency, a risk familiar to anyone who uses or provides managed EDI services. In REMEDI’s case, the long tenure has fostered efficiency and creativity.
This is especially true in onboarding where McCray and the REMEDI team has reduced the time frame for onboarding new trading partners from several weeks to a few days.
For example, where a new trading partner under a tight deadline may not yet have provided a full set of data requirements, McCray will begin with a generic map. This workaround helps to onboard the new trading partner on schedule. Later, McCray will fill in the gaps when he receives the missing specs.
Elevated reputation among trading partners
Over the course of the relationship, McCray has seen timeframes shrink with the rise of global competition. At the same time, customer expectations have climbed higher, fueled by the instantaneous nature of digital commerce and communications.
“We can’t do that” is no longer an acceptable answer, says McCray. ”Our timelines are driven by the customer’s schedule, not necessarily what’s easiest for the client or my team.”
At the same time, the highly responsive and efficient EDI architecture causes customers, vendors, and carriers to see the company as easy to work with. According to the client, “We know the REMEDI folks are onboarding customers quickly and accurately because they’ve let us know how impressed they are.”
For McCray, a long and mutually rewarding EDI services relationship means never resting on your laurels or assuming you can’t be replaced. And, he adds, “Don’t be shy about suggesting improvements or proactively solving a minor issue before it becomes a major problem.”
Asked why the relationship has lasted 25 years, the client states that “We can rely on REMEDI to perform upgrades, configure our system for maximum efficiency, and aid in projects related to the EDI system, such as our application SAP system upgrades.