Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Woolworths takes supplier onboarding to the next level

GS1 Australia has partnered with MessageXchange and Colladium to develop an electronic data interchange (EDI) certification and self-testing service to assist Woolworths with supplier onboarding.

With the new EDI Certify service, suppliers are now able to generate EDI purchase orders based on the information they input, self-test their messages to Woolworths anytime to get all issues identified upfront. Once the issues are fixed, they can retest messages without relying on Woolworths eBusiness team.

Background

Woolworths supplier onboarding and getting their products onto shelves at the right time is paramount.

The retailer has a set of message implementation guidelines (MIGs) that define how suppliers should trade electronically with them via EDI. These guidelines outline the document or message types to use, for example purchase orders, purchase order responses, purchase order changes, advanced shipping notices and invoices, as well as when to use them, ie only use if supplying direct to store or if supplying to a DC, along with the structure and business rules of each message.

With more and more suppliers choosing EDI to trade with Woolworths electronically, onboarding suppliers to EDI with the existing resources and ensuring suppliers’ EDI documents are built as per the MIGs presented a challenge to Woolworths’ eBusiness team.

Derong Yu, eBusiness Lead at Woolworths said, “To support our suppliers, we would raise test purchase orders and send them to the suppliers. The suppliers would need to send back messages, like a purchase order response or an invoice for validation. If the messages failed, we would check the message and provide specific feedback to the suppliers. The suppliers would then need to make changes on their end and retest it again – it involved a lot of back-and-forth and could take weeks or even months to complete the end-to-end EDI accreditation testing”.

Solution

GS1 Australia, a long-time partner of Woolworths Group, partnered with MessageXchange and Colladium to create EDI Certify.

The teams from each organisation worked together to determine a streamlined process for suppliers and design the solution accordingly.

This was based on the current EDI documents exchanged and business requirements working with Woolworths including numerous scenarios such as accepting, rejecting or changing orders, fully or partially shipping orders, invoicing and checking logistics labels.

The MessageXchange and Colladium teams configured the EDI Certify system to guide suppliers through the Woolworths EDI self-certification process. Enabling suppliers to generate an order with supplier-specific details such as vendor number and products, as well as validate suppliers’ outgoing messages for Woolworths’ required scenarios with real time feedback is a key feature. Most importantly, the processes simulated real-life scenarios. Woolworths also added in other documentation, including labelling guidelines, so that suppliers have all the information they require, in context, and at the time that they need it.

Results

Woolworths has seen huge efficiencies in their end-to-end testing process – what sometimes took weeks or months, now takes days.

Mr Yu says the EDI self-certification gives Woolworths the confidence that the suppliers are ready when it comes time for the end-to-end EDI accreditation testing and onboarding.

“We’ve seen the quality of EDI messages during the end-to-end testing is now much better and the EDI accreditation testing process is smooth,” he said.

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