TrueCommerce Supplier Enablement Portal

Objective:
Improve organizational efficiency, save time and cost and reduce errors by automating numerous manual order processes with suppliers, customers and third-party shippers.

Solution:
Utilize TrueCommerce managed service, supplier enablement and onboarding solution to increase visibility and collaboration with supplier network, regardless of size and technical maturity.

Benefits:
• Completely automates communication with suppliers across over 80% of orders
• A choice of “win-win” connectivity options has driven 100% adoption among suppliers whose order volume warrants onboarding
• Replaced a complex, paper-based order workflow with an automated process that automatically sends POs to multiple suppliers, based on the sales order
• Automates third-party freight invoicing via a dedicated portal to eliminate yet another manual step
• A managed service desk supports both the distributor and its many trading partners, making onboarding, testing and ongoing communication all exceptionally smooth
• Faster, more accurate order processing and significantly reduced operational cost yield a competitive advantage

“What once took days is now all done same-day, automatically, with no human intervention.”
— Brian Heiland, Vice President, Worthington Direct

Background
Worthington Direct has been a premier supplier of institutional business furniture for over twenty years. They supply top-quality furniture and related items at competitive prices to a variety of organizations, including schools, churches, offices, libraries and healthcare facilities.

Offering the best possible selection, service and price, Worthington maintains strong partnerships with many trusted furniture manufacturers to facilitate quick, efficient drop-shipping to the end customer.

According to Brian Heiland, Vice President, Worthington recently modernized its ERP and supplier enablement systems to make a quantum leap in order processing automation and efficiency.

A Rapid and Successful Transition to Near-Total Automation
Worthington’s first step in upgrading its IT environment was to move to Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP, along with SalesPad inventory management software for manufacturers and distributors. With that migration accomplished, the next step was a new supplier enablement solution that supported more integrated document types and could automate communication with more vendors.

The TrueCommerce OneTime supplier enablement managed service was exactly what Worthington was looking for.

“With OneTime, suppliers have a choice of connectivity options to match their business volume and technical maturity,” Mr. Heiland clarifies. “If they’re a large enough company, and we do a large enough business volume with them, they’d normally opt for integrated EDI, which they connect directly to their ERP system.”

Smaller vendors are able to connect just as easily.

“If it’s a smaller vendor, as many of ours are, they can use the OneTime portal,” says Mr. Heiland. “We transmit POs automatically via the portal to their special website, and they get an email notification that there’s an order waiting for them to login and retrieve.”

Once a vendor ships an order, they send Worthington a shipping acknowledgement and an invoice using either EDI or the TrueCommerce portal.

“To us, it doesn’t matter—either method looks the same on the back end, as everything is fully integrated via EDI with Dynamics GP,” Mr. Heiland notes.
Automating a Complex, Paper-Based Workflow with Suppliers
Every sales order Worthington receives creates one or more POs to different suppliers, and the ability to automate this workflow across their many suppliers has radically slashed order processing time.

“Previously, we had a paper-based system,” acknowledges Mr. Heiland. “We’d create and print all those POs, then organize them by vendor, scan them into our copier as a PDF and email them each evening to our suppliers. You can imagine how much time that took.”
Recording PO acknowledgements, entering the shipping information and generating invoices for customers were all done manually as well. With OneTime, all these tasks are now automated.

“We’ve removed several steps from the process,” asserts Mr. Heiland. “What once took days is now all done same-day, automatically, with no human intervention.”
Freight invoicing is now automated as well. “Most of the items we ship are third-party billed, so the invoice from the freight company, which had to be entered manually before, is now entered automatically—another huge time-saver,” said Mr. Heiland.

Smooth Onboarding and Near-Total Vendor Adoption
Worthington rolled out TrueCommerce OneTime only one month after the company went live with its new Dynamics GP ERP.

“We began with a few vendors and then just started rolling them all in,” Mr. Heiland said.
The onboarding process was exceptionally smooth. Mr. Heiland relates: “Onboarding is pretty easy to justify for both parties. Once we connect with the right decision-makers at a supplier, it becomes just a question of setting up either the portal or an integrated approach and then testing it.

“TrueCommerce has been a great help with all that. We couldn’t do it on our own—especially providing upfront and ongoing support for all our suppliers, which is part of the OneTime managed service,” reports Mr. Heiland.

Over 80% of Worthington’s sales order volume now flows automatically through TrueCommerce OneTime. The few remaining suppliers not using OneTime are those whose order volume doesn’t meet the threshold Worthington set for onboarding.
Worthington has yet to calculate the return on investment in TrueCommerce OneTime.
“But savings are huge,” Mr. Heiland states. “Normally this time of year, we’d be adding at least two or three additional staff to support our busy summer season. But this year we don’t anticipate needing to do that, even though we expect sales to grow by 10-20% from last year. TrueCommerce OneTime is a competitive advantage for us.”

More info at www.truecommerce.com.

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