Microsoft BizTalk in Integrated Supply Chain Management

Customer background

Country of origin: Switzerland

Industry: Supply Chain Management

Client operations:  Supply chain analytics, Distribution & delivery, Planning & consulting, Sourcing & procurement

The customer is a multinational supply chain company that provides a wide variety of supply chain solutions for construction and infrastructure, energy, logistics and distribution and governments. The company has over 200 years of experience in international supply chain management.

Challenge

The customer provides supply-chain services to the world’s leading logistics combat support agency, thus providing worldwide logistics support in both peacetime and wartime. It involved the provision of full-line fresh food, food service supplies, and non-food distribution services.

The coordination with trading partners required that the customer used BizTalk as EDI/B2B gateway. A major challenge was to integrate trading partners through EDI to automatically facilitate EDI transaction flow without any user intervention between customer’s hosted ERP system and trading partner’s system. The customer required that the BizTalk EDI solution had to cover all inbound (From trading partner to the customer) and outbound (From customer-to-trading partner) EDI transactions.

Solution

Allied Consultants conducted an integration analysis exercise to establish the requirements of the transactions.

As per the scope of service-level agreement with its major trading partner, we identified that at a minimum, the customer (as the primary contractor) should be able to support the following Outbound EDI transactions as per American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X 12 transaction sets.

  • 850 Purchase Order.
  • 832 Catalog/Price Update.
  • 810 Sales Invoices.

Solution architecture

Fig 1: Outbound 832/810 itinerary

BizTalk Solution Arch

Fig 2: Inbound 850 itinerary

BizTalk Sol Arch 2

With a close coordination with the customer’s integration team, Allied Consultants developed an integration technical design, as well as functional and mapping requirements between customer’s ERP and her trading partner’s system using standard Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transactions.

End-users & third-party users were able to order their logistics requirements through STORES (trading partner’s translator/ordering system). The system then transmitted the orders to customer’s ERP for FF&V, FSOS and regular items. The customer’s ERP was required to interface with trading partner’s system (STORES) and enabled the following EDI transactions.

Inbound Transactions (through BizTalk)

  • EDI 850 (Sales Order from TRADING PARTNER’S system to CUSTOMER’s ERP)

Outbound Transactions (through BizTalk)

  • EDI 810 (Sales Invoice from CUSTOMER to TRADING PARTNER)
  • EDI 832 (Catalog/Price Update from CUSTOMER to TRADING PARTNER)
  • EDI 997 (Functional Acknowledgement)

Order of EDI transaction in CUSTOMER’S integration process flow with TRADING PARTNER is as below:

  1. CUSTOMER Using BizTalk first sends catalog update/EDI 832 to SFTP shared folder where TRADING PARTNER’S STORES system can receive, either at the end of the month for price update or middle of the month for everything other than price update. This way TRADING PARTNER’S STORES has up-to-date information of CUSTOMER’S items and prices.
  1. Customers now access TRADING PARTNER’S STORES system and place orders for approved items to the CUSTOMER, from where TRADING PARTNER STORES system transmits these orders in EDI 850 format to CUSTOMER’S SFTP server shared folder.
  1. BizTalk picks up each of EDI 850 order from SFTP location, transforms and sends that to different ERP web services to create ‘Sales order’ in the CUSTOMER’s ERP automatically.
  1. If functional, CUSTOMER sends back EDI 997 as a functional acknowledgment to TRADING PARTNER as a notification that EDI is received.
  1. Finally, after shipping orders to her TRADING PARTNER’s requested DODAACs, CUSTOMER sends EDI 810 (Sales invoice) from its ERP through BizTalk to SFTP shared folder from where TRADING PARTNER’s system picks up.

 

Business benefits

  • Implementing EDI service has reduced the customer service costs by 15% compared to the control period
  • Reduced the lead time for O2C (Order to cash) cycle
  • Improved cycle time
  • Achieved one of the most highly-developed, e-business infrastructures in the supply chain industry
  • Reduction in reporting time enabled quicker access to order status and credit & accounts receivable information

Technology stack

  • Visual Studio 2013
  • BizTalk 2013 R2
  • Microsoft Azure cloud
  • Test & Production Server environments