This past year has been a big one for electronic data interchange at Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City.
ch it exchanges EDI documents from 200 to 800 over the past 12 months, said Doug Carlile, EDI coordinator, who spoke about it at the U Connect conference in May. He would eventually like to exchange EDI with all suppliers.
The increase resulted from a concerted effort to check out the EDI capabilities of all the wholesaler's suppliers, said Carlile. About half of the 600 new suppliers had in-house EDI capabilities, while the other half, which lacked EDI facilities, used the "alternative pipeline." That alternative came in the form of third-party companies, such as Edict Systems, who can translate EDI documents into Web form, send it by e-mail to suppliers, and handle the reverse process.
But Carlile is not a user of EDIINT systems, preferring to rely on his third-party VAN, Sterling Commerce, Columbus, Ohio. He said that even with the upsurge in EDI activity, his VAN bill went up by less than $150 per month.
Associated developed its own system to manage EDI, called the Associated Information Management System (AIM), which handles item and vendor information, order history, inventory records and accounting transactions. The wholesaler added a document imaging system to its EDI infrastructure that has helped cut accounts payable staff from 30 to 10.5, Carlile said.