EDI-managed procurement

Digital omnichannel structures for the furniture sector

Furniture retailers need support for functions such as over-the-counter product sales – in other words, B2C functions – alongside B2B purchase and sales order processing – in a single process and in real time. How introducing automated EDI (Electronic Data Interface) procurement systems can make order processing quicker and more efficient is shown in the example of the successful furniture retailer dodenhof.

The challenge

Customer demand for a personalized shopping experience that also offers maximum convenience involves huge complexity for retailers. Northern Germany’s largest shopping center operator, Dodenhof, faced the task of making orders placed with suppliers by different departments, such as furnishings, technology, fashion, and household accessories, available across all channels in a targeted and needs-based manner. To achieve this, the company’s various inbound and outbound EDI data structures had to be standardized in a single company-wide EDI system. In the fashion division, articles were to be created from incoming EDI messages. The customer also wanted to automate all postprocessing at the suppliers caused by deviations in prices, quantities, or deadlines. 

The solution

The EDI-managed procurement solution builds on the SAP for Retail system previously implemented at Dodenhof. In this system, KPS experts helped Dodenhof to interlink its stationary and digital sales in a single, central Enterprise Resource Management solution that combines all channels and functions. Ordering via EDI is also integrated in this system. 

For mapping the different data structures to standardized SAP IDoc structures, the professionals from KPS incorporated a clearing center. A special cockpit for processing incoming EDI messages was also developed to meet the requirements of Dodenhof. The system also controls the order response processes: Based on sets of rules, incoming EDI messages are either posted automatically or designated for manual postprocessing or clarification. 

The customer benefit

EDI procurement allows specialist departments to efficiently check and postprocess ordering procedures. Order discrepancies can be promptly clarified with the suppliers. In the fast-moving fashion industry, articles can be created directly from the incoming order response messages.