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Best Practices for Retail EDI – Ditch the "Perfect Order"

Posted by Daniel Ford on Tue, Aug 25, 2015

Chances are that you spend considerable effort monitoring the orders you receive from suppliers. Non-compliance can become expensive for both the retailers that need to modify their operations when orders are not delivered as expected, and for the suppliers who will experience invoice deductions and even contract cancellations resulting from poor performance. But not every instance of non-compliance is worthy of real punishment. This article discusses ways to make sure you are staying on top of the most expensive issues and not being distracted by the little things.

First off, it’s critical to understand that the “perfect order” is a myth. Sure, a technically perfect order is possible and does happen with amazing frequency, but is it worth the effort required to attain? Initially, a perfect order was defined by 20 criteria first imagined by R. Wang at Constellation Research. That doesn’t seem like a lot of criteria—that is until you begin to look at just how many orders actually make the grade.

Most research shows that less than half of all orders pass Perfectionall 20 criteria. Despite these abysmal results, our supply chain actually delivers products with enough accuracy to meet the needs of the buying public at an astounding rate. If the reality of delivering orders on time only requires something less than perfect, then what are the criteria that retailers should pay attention to on a daily basis?

Make it real

Static criteria may be outdated. That doesn’t mean that the basics of getting EDI document formatting right, delivering the right products and quantities on time, and to the right destination have suddenly become unimportant. But, it does mean that some issues have become even more important and should be classified as items eligible to add to scorecard results rather than subtract from them.

Market presence

Suppliers are at least as interested in selling their goods to retailers as retailers are in selling to consumers, and some suppliers take extra efforts to get ahead of their end users. They invest in research and development to create what the consumer wants and take the risks involved in producing the product ahead of demand. Certainly this is what manufacturers do—it’s their role to meet or even drive demand. When demand changes or new products are introduced, the supplier that steps up to meet demand may have trouble producing a perfect order. Progressive retailers should be watching the trends and identifying suppliers who outperform the market, and reward the performance even if it falls below par.


One of the changes consumers are embracing is the ability to make purchase decisions at any time from any place, and have their products delivered at their choice of location—this is known as omnichannel retailing. If there is ever a need for the perfect order it is here, particularly when products are being drop-shipped directly to the consumer.

Enabling that kind of service can be complex for suppliers that have not fully embraced EDI and automated, real-time processing. Consumers now expect to be able to know whether the product they want is in stock, when it will ship, and when it will arrive. This depth of understanding requires integration between the supplier’s ERP and EDI systems in order to be successful. It also requires real-time updates between EDI systems and the retailer’s ERP and customer interface.

Fortunately, EDI providers are able to step in and provide the infrastructure needed to make the connection between the supplier’s and the retailer’s EDI systems seamless, and take the burden off both parties. In the case of omnichannel retailing, perfect orders may be generally easier to accomplish because the orders are less complex, often consisting of only a few items being shipped to one destination. But, this is another case in which the supplier should get “extra credit” for participating in omnichannel orders.


Tracking orders from origination to destination is practically a requirement for omnichannel orders—customers simply expect it. Having the same deep visibility into all orders can do much more to deliver the perfect order than can after-the-fact checking and invoice deductions.

Real-time monitoring of EDI documents and processes takes supply chain visibility to a new level that can deliver even better results than perfect orders. Supply chain visibility allows two important functions:

  1. It answers the perennial question, “Where is the order?” in real-time.
  2. It automatically alerts the retailer when some condition of the order is not as expected.

Both of these capabilities allow the retailer to take preemptive action based on specific knowledge of what should be happening versus what is happening. EDI service providers that manage the transfer and validation of EDI documents between trading partners are able to monitor transactions and compare them against predefined business rules. When the conditions fall outside valid ranges, corrective actions can be taken. At the high end of the scale, those actions can include automated alerts and even automated processes that resolve the problems.

When appropriate systems are in place and deep visibility with automated auditing systems monitor traffic in real-time, the perfect order becomes something better than simply an order that meets the 20 criteria that have been used to define it in years past. The perfect order can become the order the customer wants even if the process didn’t happen perfectly.

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, EDI, retail EDI, retail supply chain best practices

DiCentral Solutions are Windows 10 Compatible

Posted by Daniel Ford on Fri, Aug 21, 2015

Windows 10 is here, and DiCentral's solutionswindows10-compatible are 100% compatible! If you have updated to Windows 10, or are planning to do so soon, rest assured that the DiCentral solution that you depend upon to keep your business processes running smoothly is up to date and compatible.

If you have any questions, our Support Department is happy to help: 281.480.1121 option 3.

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+


Topics: DiCentral, Web EDI, Windows 10

DiCentral Speaking at ASUG SAP Business One Summit

Posted by Daniel Ford on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Jacques Vigneault, chief sales officer for DiCentral, and Rocco Nobile, DiCentral's channel manager for SAP Business One, will be speaking at the ASUG SAP Business One Summit in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, September 1 at 10:30 a.m. CST. They will be sharing a presentation titled "Enhancing Your Supply Chain: Advanced EDI Integration with SAP Business One."

"The ASUG SAP Business One Summit is an important ASUG_B1_Summit_2015conference, and DiCentral is once again looking forward to meeting with other talented supply chain professionals," said Vigneault. "Enhancing the supply chain is a critical imperative all supply chain executives face on a daily basis. I am excited to share how these experts can benefit from tapping the power of EDI to better the overall efficiency of their businesses."

In the session, the audience will learn best practices of EDI integration with SAP B1 and how fellow B1 users have leveraged DiCentral's solutions to streamline their supply chain data communications through onsite or cloud EDI integration.

For more information on the event, visit

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+


Topics: DiCentral, SAP Business One, ASUG Business One Summit

Microsoft Dynamics GP Webinar Hosted by DiCentral & Blue Moon

Posted by Daniel Ford on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

Please join Ray Tussing and Darrizett Moore, DiCentral’s channel directors for Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Blue Moon Industries as they present the key to streamlining the supply chain process in a webinar on Wednesday, September 2nd at 2:00 p.m. EST. The webinar will provide best practices for supply chain integration through EDI integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP. See firsthand how integration improves collaboration, visibility, and optimizes supply chain processes. 

DiCentral and Blue Moon, both Microsoft Gold Partners, welcome supply chain professionals and any looking to stay abreast of the latest supply chain innovations happening in the Microsoft Dynamics GP world. Click on the image below to register.


-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, webinar, Microsoft Dynamics, Blue Moon

DiCentral at AHRMM15 Conference & Exhibition

Posted by Daniel Ford on Tue, Aug 11, 2015

DiCentral's Pat Hall, Jacques Vigneault and Peter Edlund at AHRMM15 Conference & Exhibition:

DiCentral at AHRMM15

Attendees, be sure to visit booth #1131 where we'll be showcasing our healthcare solutions and giving away great prizes!

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, AHRMM15, healthcare supply chain

DiCentral Sponsoring LSTRNA's 2015 Annual Golf Classic

Posted by Daniel Ford on Mon, Aug 10, 2015

DiCentral is proud to be a sponsor of LS Travel Retail North America's 2015 Annual Golf Classic, taking place Thursday, August 13th at The Club at Bond Head, located 30 minutes outside of Toronto. This year's event benefits Make-A-Wish Canada. DiCentral also has four of its own participating in the tournament—good luck Steve, Omar, Timothy, and Kenneth!

DiCentral sponsoring LSTRNA 2015 Annual Golf Classic

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, LSTRNA 2015 Golf Classic, Make-A-Wish Canada

AHRMM15 Attendees: Visit the DiCentral Team at Booth #1131

Posted by Daniel Ford on Thu, Aug 06, 2015

In just a few days, the DiCentral healthcare supply chain team will be in Indianapolis for the AHRMM15 Conference & Exhibition! We will be showcasing our healthcare solutions and giving away great prizes, so be sure to visit booth #1131! Registration for the event is still open at

DiCentral exhibiting at AHRMM15

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, AHRMM15, healthcare supply chain

Houston Business Journal Names DiCentral Fast 100 Business

Posted by Daniel Ford on Wed, Aug 05, 2015

We are proud to announce that DiCentral was named a Fast 100 finalist by the Houston Business Journal for 2015! This marks the second time that DiCentral has been recognized by the Houston Business Journal for the company's stellar performance.

According to the Houston Business Journal, "Companies are ranked based on two-year revenue growth between 2012 and 2014. In order to qualify, companies must have closed five full fiscal years by Dec. 31, 2014, be headquartered in the Houston area, earned at least $1 million in revenue for fiscal year 2014, and be for-profit and privately held."

You can read more about the Fast 100 at

DiCentral named to Houston Business Journal Fast 100

 -Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, Houston Business Journal, Fast 100

DiCentral to Exhibit at AHRMM15 Conference & Exhibition

Posted by Daniel Ford on Fri, Jul 31, 2015

The DiCentral team will be in Indianapolis exhibiting at the AHRMM15 Conference & Exhibition, taking place at the Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium, August 9-12. We're excited to showcase our supply chain solutions designed for the healthcare industry. We hope to see you there! Registration is still open at

DiCentral exhibiting at AHRMM15

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, AHRMM15, healthcare supply chain

DiCentral Sage ERP Team to Attend Sage Summit 2015 in New Orleans

Posted by Daniel Ford on Thu, Jul 23, 2015

Sage ERP users: DiCentral will be in New Orleans next week for Sage Summit 2015! If you plan on attending, let us know on our FaceBook page—we'd love to meet and catch up!

If you haven't yet registered, there's still time:

DiCentral attending Sage Summit 2015

See you in New Orleans!

-Daniel Ford, DiCentral                     

Connect with DiCentral on Google+

Topics: DiCentral, Sage ERP, Sage Summit 2015

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