Global View: Lowering the Cost of EDI

By  Carly Bohach — July 27, 2006

With its EDI, Electronic Data Interchange, service contract up for renewal, Hudsons Bay (Hbc), Canadas largest department store retailer and oldest corporation, jumped at the chance to lower costs and improve communication with its 3,500 trading partners in North America. The EDI market costs have been coming down, and we wanted to make sure we benefited from the cost decrease over the market, says Mark Warren, general manager, information services for Oracle ERP and HR systems.

After a nine-month vendor selection, Hbc chose GXS, a provider of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce solutions. In todays retail world, technology increases operating efficiency and improves the shopping experience for consumers, says Warren. GXS worked with us to help minimize overall data exchange costs, which will help to ensure we continue to offer competitive product assortments to our customers.

Focusing on Core Issues

Once the decision was made, the implementation took place quickly. We did it over two weeks and that was largely facilitated by the fact that we did not have to change our communication network, Warren says.

Hbcs existing EDI partner had been using the information exchange network by IBM, which was sold to GSX in 2005. One of the things that was a concern was the fact that we were going to have to sign a new contract and convert our network, but one of the benefits of choosing GXS was we were able to transfer over without a significant technology project on our hands, explains Warren.

In addition, GXS will enable Hbc to accommodate any data protocol and handle almost any custom format, including AS2, XML, and EDI/EDIFACT. This flexibility was important to Hbc.

Currently, the majority of the companys vendors are using EDI communication, but a number of vendors also are using the AS2 platform. AS2 is an industry-sanctioned protocol that enables companies to transmit EDI and XML data over the Internet, and works in conjunction with EDI.On the AS2 side, we wanted a partner that could offer an outsourced solution for AS2 because we didnt want to have to make the investment to support AS2 ourselves, says Warren.

To further meet e-commerce demands, Hbc is planning to leverage GXSs Trading Grid in the future. GXS Trading Grid combines messaging, data synchronization and business process visibility to automate the flow of information to and from trading partners.

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