EDI Academy – How to Send Electronic Documents to Partners Without an EDI Solution?

EDI Academy BusinessMail

Previous articles for EDI Academy talked about the advantages of electronic document exchange between different partners in a business relationship. But what happens when the recipient doesn’t have an EDI platform? Should we go back to traditional delivery methods? Fortunately, this common problem has a solution and it’s called Business@Mail.

What is Business @ Mail?

Business@Mail is a service designed by EDICOM that allows sending electronic invoices and other documents, structured or not, to partners who do not have a technological solution to receive files.

Its operation is very simple. The issuer performs the necessary electronic transactions from its B2B EDI solution just as it does in the usual way. Automatically, the platform detects that the receiver of this data does not have an EDI platform and publishes them securely in the portal Business@Mail.

Next the recipient receives a notification that he or she has received documents that have not been consulted yet. From then on, the recipient can access the documents by connecting to the web portal using the username and password set beforehand.

In order to have greater control over the delivery of the document, the issuer periodically receives updates about the status of the documents sent to its partner. There are four possible statuses:

  • Confirmation that data has been published
  • Notification to recipient
  • Documents processed / consulted by the recipient
  • Documents not addressed by the recipient

What are the advantages of Business@Mail?

The main advantage of Business@Mail is that it allows companies 100% electronic communication regardless of the technological level of their partners. This avoids the heterogeneity of digital and paper documents, which entails complicated management and hinders the ability to store information correctly.

However, this is not the only benefit of Business@Mail. Its use also offers these advantages:

  • Immediacy and security. The documents are published on the web portal instantly and maintain all the security guarantees of any EDI relationship, which is something that would be lost when using email or physical documents.
  • Traceability. The issuer controls the information that it sent to its partner at all times.
  • Electronic storage. The files are stored in the solution for as long as the law requires and is controlled with an advanced electronic signature. In the case of invoices, for example, this prevents printing and physical storage, as they remain available for consultation at any time with the same legal validity as a paper document.
  • Publication of all types of data. Business @ Mail is prepared to send documents in four formats: standardized with a digital signature, structured without a signature, graphics (pdf, jpg, etc.) and mixed (standardized with a digitally signed pdf).
  • Free for the receiver. This service has no cost to recipients, which is especially important for the small partners as well as partners who cannot afford to use an EDI solution.

EDI Academy – Despatch Advice

EDI Academy – Despatch Advice

The use of electronic data interchange in business transactions has led to the creation of a plethora of different messages over the years. From all of them, today we dedicate this issue of EDI Academy to one of the most relevant, for both suppliers and distributors: the Despatch Advice.

 

What is 856 ASN?

The 856 ASN designation is the name given to the EDI shipping note message in X12 standard, the language most widely used in the US market. The letters ASN stand for Advance Ship Notice. However, this is not the only terminology used to define waybills or shipping notes. In the EDIFACT standard, widely used in Europe, it is known as DESADV or Despatch Advice.

In any case, all these designations refer to the same concept. The EDI despatch advice message serves to verify that the goods received by the customer match the purchase order. 856 ASN displays the contents of the package and some added shipping information. This includes the order data, item description, product features, packaging type, markings, freight operator information and the layout of the goods within the transport equipment.

One peculiarity of the despatch advice is that it can be as simple or as explicit as required by the business transaction being carried out. For example, a brief version includes reports on the sender of the package, the receiver, delivery time, products shipped broken down line by line and identified with a code (usually EAN, GTIN or SKU) and the quantity of each item.

However, it is also possible to issue a more complete ASN or DESADV, including additional information such as a list of all the products on the pallet with the batch codes, corresponding expiry dates and packaging numbers, among other details. This option is increasingly popular among businesses nowadays, as the traceability is better.

 

How does the Despatch Advice work?

For a better understanding of how 856 ASN or DESADV work, we’ll explain step by step the communication flow followed by this EDI message:

  • The supplier issues the customer (distributor) a despatch advice when the goods are ready for shipping.
  • The EDI solution from EDICOM integrates this message into the distributor’s ERP automatically so they can access it easily.
  • At a glance, the client compares the despatch advice with the initial purchase order, as both documents are traced and any differences will be obvious. In fact, this confirmation can be performed automatically by the platform.
  • If everything is correct, issues a confirmation note to the supplier.
  • The warehouses receive the information on the new items due to arrive, so they can plan the loading and storage in advance.

 

What benefits do we get from the despatch advice?

The use of 856 ASN provides considerable advantages for both suppliers and distributors. On one hand, suppliers improve the goods delivery management process. With this message they are able to announce the shipment to their customers beforehand, but they also have a document endorsing the goods being delivered.

On the other hand, distributors can make their stock controls and incoming order processing more efficient. This is due to total traceability throughout the process, which lets us know when the goods will be sent, when they will arrive and all the details of the shipment.

To these advantages are added the benefits obtained in general from using EDI, ranging from automation to economic cost savings.

Italian fashion industry joins EDI

L’EDI entra nel settore della moda italiano

The fashion industry is a key factor for the Italian economy, both for its level of turnover and the exports produced, mainly to the United States and Europe. In 2014, export sales generated 398,000 million euros, a record at the time. In addition, the figure forecast for 2016 is likely to reach 450,000 million euros. This internationalization is one of the sector’s principal defining features and has encouraged the spread of electronic document interchange (EDI) among fashion firms.

However, it is not the only one. In this area, beyond the challenge of communication across borders, companies handle a wide range of products. Everything ranging from sports clothing to footwear, through accessories, kids’ clothing and infant wear, to the high-end luxury brands. In this sense, EDI technology has also become an ally against the lack of uniformity in the sector.

How does EDI work?

With electronic data interchange, communications between different IT systems are standardized. This means that transaction and information sending take place in real time, automatically and safely, regardless of the features of the partners involved in the business or logistic relations.

In Italy, the spread of EDI throughout the fashion industry has mainly been driven by the big stores, such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, La Rinascente, Printemps, El Corte Inglés, etc. These international brands usually act as a hub and require their suppliers to use this technology for the exchange of business documents like orders, shipping notes or invoices, as well as others of a logistic nature, such as product catalogues.

This is why so many Italian businesses of all shapes and sizes have signed up to EDI, a virtually indispensable requirement when exporting. But beyond the requirement, adopting EDI technology in B2B companies is now a key factor in optimizing logistics processes, boosting productivity, reducing the number of errors and, finally, maximizing efficiency through task automation.

A global solution

Some of the big brands already rely on EDICOM to implement their EDI solutions. To name but a few, Harrods, Cortefiel, Printemps or El Corte Inglés, four of the main fashion market hubs. This experience has enabled the EDICOM team to develop a Global EDI solution, which addresses the two needs of businesses in the sector: internationalization and product heterogeneity.

The EDI solution is integrated with the companies’ internal management or ERP systems. This way, the entire administration and logistic process is handled from a platform already known to the team, so there is no need to modify in-house working procedures. For example, when an invoice is generated, the EDI solution processes it automatically, translates it into the standardized language required by the partner and forwards it. This happens the same way with any other business, logistical and administrative transactions. Both in sending and receipt, all the processes are automatic, thus boosting efficiency and cutting economic costs.

How to send e-invoices to the Public Administration in France?

IMG_einvoicing_france

As each day goes by, suppliers to the Public Administration in France are increasingly closer to implementing electronic invoicing. As of next January, this system will be mandatory for large companies as well as central and regional official bodies. The process will continue gradually until 2020, with the incorporation of small and medium-sized companies. In total, the measure will affect thousands of taxpayers who are now asking themselves how they need to issue their invoices to the public sector in order to comply with Ordinance Nº 2014-697.

As the obligation affects very different profiles, from small businesses to large corporations, the regulation provides for different e-invoice sending options. We can distinguish them around two main typologies: automated solutions and manual solutions. Let’s take a look at how they work.

Manual solutions

This is the perfect option for suppliers to the administration that generate a low billing volume and have a very limited technological capacity. There is no need to implement anything to achieve fiscal dematerialization.

We find three different ways of manually issuing e-invoicing:

  • Web Portal

Taxpayers choosing this option need to key in the invoice twice: once in their own accounting and again in the Chorus Portal. This process thus requires time and can give rise to errors. For this reason, it is only advisable for businesses issuing fewer than 100 invoices annually.

  • Importing to Chorus Portal

Similar to the first option, but instead of keying in the invoice, the taxpayers can import it directly from their own systems. To do so, they must first generate a signed PDF file. In other words, the process is slightly shorter, but the security is low as the format is unstructured. This is why it is only recommended for companies generating between 100 and 1000 invoices annually.

Automated solutions

This type of solutions is designed for multinational corporations, those issuing more than 1000 bills annually, or those wishing to progress towards digital management.

In this case, the AIFE (Agence pour l’Informatique Financière de l’Etat) allows the use of two types of XML schema. On one hand, INVOICE UBL V2 and, on the other, UN/CEFACT CII (CCTS/NDR v3.0). Both are structured formats that provide strict security assurances and enable automatic generation and forwarding of messages to the public sector. In addition, they make integration between systems and applications possible.

Transmission takes place by EDI, with direct and secure indication protocols. With automation, the time employed in complying with tax obligations is cut, minimizing errors, improving productivity and, in consequence, increasing economic saving.

EDICOM has developed EDI solutions designed for businesses already using this technology that need to adjust to the current requirements, as well as those that have yet to implement a solution. In either case, the e-invoice issuing process is carried out immediately, in these 5 phases:

  • First of all, the platform captures the data automatically from the company’s ERP.
  • The information is then transformed into XML format.
  • The next step consists of validating the data to ensure that the file contains all the information required by the AIFE and the recipient administration.
  • Then, EDICOM connects with the Chorus Portal through the Public Administrations HUB, so all the invoices can be transmitted automatically.
  • Finally, the link with Chorus ensure traceability of the e-invoices. Companies can consult the status of their documents in real time through their own ERP.

The spread of e-invoicing among the public sector and its suppliers will lead to a significant lowering of economic costs compared to the traditional billing process. Total yearly savings are expected to be around €710 million. To find out more about this system, you can download the White Paper on e-invoicing with the Public Administration in France (available in French and English).

Enhanced implementation of GDSN and PEPPOL Standards as part of the NHS e-Procurement Strategy

IMG_NHS_strategy

The deadlines set by the UK Department of Health (DoH) for rollout of the NHS e-Procurement Strategy are looming. So, next September 28 thousands of organizations affected by the strategy developed by the DoH will be attending the PIH Show, with the aim of finding solutions to this technological leap.

To this end, EDICOM specialist Vera Kabout, will be giving a talk in which she explains how to address implementation of this strategy successfully. And she will do so taking into account one of the great challenges faced by companies affected by the NHS e-Procurement Strategy: compliance with GDSN and PEPPOL standards.

The talk is scheduled for 11:35 and framed within the e-Procurement and Standardisation section. Vera Kabout will take advantage of the occasion to highlight the benefits of these two standards (PEPPOL and GDSN) as part of the NHS paperless strategy. She will also give some tips for suppliers and hospitals to help achieve the greatest benefits from the e-Procurement Strategy. Among them, she will mention aspects to be weighed up when choosing a technology provider, such as the fact that they should be an accredited Data Pool and Access Point.

An integral solution

In addition to the conference, visitors to the PIH Show will also have the chance to get to know EDICOM’s proposal for this technological quantum leap at stand 238. There, our team of experts will be presenting a comprehensive solution for compliance with the NHS e-Procurement Strategy.

Through the EDICOM Health platform, integrated in their ERP or internal management system, businesses automate electronic data interchange and product synchronization with their trading partners in line with the standards and requirements demanded by the strategy. To this we must add that it is an internationally scalable solution with 99.9% availability guaranteed.

How to attend the PIH Show?

The PIH Show takes place on September 28 at the London Olympia. Two days later, the deadline set for delivering a plan to the DoH that ensures compliance with the GS1 and PEPPOL standards will be reached. By then, companies affected by the initiative must also have joined an Access Point.

The EDICOM team will be at the event to facilitate the implementation of these electronic processes for suppliers and hospitals. The talk by Key Account Manager Vera Kabout is headed Enhanced implementation of GDSN and PEPPOL Standards as part of the NHS e-Procurement Strategy and can now be consulted in the PIH Show agenda. Organizations affected by the strategy can attend free of charge, once they have registered for the event.