Trading Partners: Maximizing the value of integrations

Background

During a recent performance review of our NetSuite clients’ integration performance, we discovered  some impressive numbers being processed by one of our mid-size distributor clients. We thought it would be powerful to share some quantitative proof that this distributor is realizing a massive level of automation ROI by leaning hard into both our PromoStandards and a direct API integration with a key supplier using our bundled NetSuite SuiteApps.

PromoStandards Integration, of course

While this distributor is  connected to only thirteen PromoStandards suppliers, they have really leaned-in hard on the services by leveraging the Product Data service and the Purchase Order service to streamline their workflow.

It all starts with QUALITY items

We’ve discussed the power and efficiency that can be realized using the various Item creation services that we’ve built in this previous article. Since inception, this distributor has searched for and constituted over 20,000 item records into their NetSuite system through PromoStandards.  Once these items have been constituted and are properly linked to each supplier’s specific item/SKU, this distributor has established an automated routine that calls-out to refresh pricing on a weekly basis.  They have also established a second automated routine to call-out monthly to refresh the item data.  

Both automated call-outs help to ensure that the item information in their NetSuite system is both correct and complete by keeping this data up-to-date and in-sync with each of their PromoStandards product-enabled suppliers. Of course, they could always press a button to invoke an immediate call-out for either of these actions as well.

Eliminating the most common transactional friction

With our PromoStandards integration for distributors, this client is also leveraging the order status (OS) and order shipment notification (OSN) services available from their suppliers.  With our integration bundle, a schedule is set to call-out periodically (in their case, every 4 hours) to those suppliers offering OS and/or OSN endpoints for every open PO they have in NetSuite. Even with the challenges that this year has brought, the automated enablement of these services has helped this distributor to eliminate phone calls to obtain order status and/or tracking information for shipments on over 3,400 transactions year to date (and counting!)

What about the Purchase Orders?  (time for some heavy lifting)

This distributor has fully leveraged the PromoStandards Product Data and Product Pricing and Configuration (PPC) services to ensure that the items they’ve built are correct, complete, and fully in-sync with a supplier’s item catalog and they’ve really got things cooking from a transactional standpoint. At the start of the year, this distributor decided to launch the purchase order service with one of their preferred suppliers.   As a result of implementing this service, there is no longer a need to manually send an emailed purchase order to this supplier to order goods.  Once the sales order has been approved and the purchase orders are ready to go to production, an automated process launches to push each PO transaction from their NetSuite system directly into the supplier’s system for processing. 

Like the automated OS and OSN calls for order status and tracking information, this results in a “no-touch” transaction for both trading partners.   Year to date, they have processed over 350 fully automated transactions with this single supplier! 

Direct API – my, oh my

Long before PromoStandards was the full end-to-end integration it has recently become, eXtendTech realized that there are certain key suppliers that everyone in the industry seems to do a ton of business with: AlphaBroder and SanMar. As a result, we developed complete end-to-end direct API integrations with both of these key suppliers for distributors running NetSuite.

What does that mean exactly?   Well, for the distributor we’re highlighting in this article it means that with our eXtendSanMar integration bundle, they can experience the ultimate  integration.  For starters, they have access to quickly and easily inquire about inventory availability right within NetSuite.

This distributor can also easily search the SanMar catalog for product right from within NetSuite.  Once a specific item is found that they would like to quote or sell, they decide and choose only the sizes and colors that they want and are also able to classify the item within their NetSuite account to help them report on their own product category sales.

Then, with a simple click of the button they can easily constitute those items into their NetSuite item database with all of the rich, available metadata that SanMar shares with their distributor customers (i.e. thumbnails, model images, swatch images, spec sheets, etc).

Each of the items that is constituted in NetSuite is now properly linked to the respective SanMar item to enable the distributor to fully automate the high transaction volumes that they do with SanMar.

Living the fully integrated dream

Now that the item records have been constituted from this direct API integration, this distributor is able to:  

  • Automatically transmit their POs directly from NetSuite into SanMar’s system.
  • Automate the receipt of shipping/tracking info from SanMar when their goods are shipped and fulfilled on their POs from NetSuite.
  • Retrieve invoices and automatically vouch (transform the purchase order) to a vendor bill.

Of course, in addition to being able to have scheduled routines to automatically perform these actions, each one of these actions can be manually performed from the purchase order transaction.  But really, who wants to spend their time pushing buttons all day?  Am I right?

The proof is in the numbers

How has all of this helped our client?  This distributor has leveraged the SanMar item search and creation capability to automatically create (wait for it….)  over 66,000 SanMar items in their NetSuite database!  This year alone, they have electronically sent over 7,000 POs from their NetSuite system directly into SanMar’s system.  This type of integration is a huge win-win because this type of transaction integration results in a “no-touch” situation for both supplier and distributor!

Starting in July of this year, our client started to leverage the direct API service to fetch Invoices available from SanMar related to their POs.  Within six (6) days, this process has created over 700 vendor bills; over 100 invoices per day!  Once again, a scheduled automated process retrieved and recorded these invoices into their system for their POs.   Not only was the time to enter these vendors invoices eliminated, but their AP staff was extremely thrilled as well.  This automation now enables their Accounts Payable team to focus their time on managing by exception and can concentrate their efforts where it is needed most: on their non-integrated supplier partners.

The Bottom Line: it really is ALL about quality, not quantity

While we have seen and worked with a number of different distributors that are connected to 40, 50, or 60+ PromoStandards suppliers, the level of transactional integration that is achieved may not always live up to some people’s expectations. Ultimately, the value that is achieved through integration is determined by a myriad of factors including:  

  • The level of integration services that are offered by a supplier, whether that be through PromoStandards, direct API or some other means.
  • The thoughtfulness that a distributor puts into not just being “connected” to their suppliers by obtaining and establishing credentials, but really ensuring that value is achieved by properly connecting item data to keep things in-sync and that the  transactional calls (i.e. OS, OSN, PO, and Invoice) are yielding high value.
  • The ability to let go of the manual button pushing and enabling automated routines to do the work for you.

Our spotlight NetSuite client in this article truly blew us away with their statistics and the value that they have been able to achieve by leveraging our NetSuite integration applications; our beloved bundles of joy.  If you are running NetSuite and would like to experience what true integration is really like,  let’s have a conversation.

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