Aurora EDI Alliance Press ~ Volume 4 Issue 2 ~ July 2, 2015

Welcome Note

Welcome to the summer newsletter of 2015. In case this is your first newsletter, if you'd like to read previous issues, you can find them on our website here.  The Aurora EDI Alliance Press is a quarterly newsletter dedicated to current issues, events, education and newsworthy items surrounding both EDI technology and the Aurora EDI Alliance. We would welcome any feedback from our readers on how to improve it. The Aurora EDI Alliance is a tightly knit group of U.S. companies and specializing in the implementation and maintenance of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in a variety of industries.  We are recognized experts in EDI, and can provide consulting, system analysis, design, development and training services as well as software implementation services.

GraceBlood LLC Joins the Aurora EDI Alliance

GB_logo_2We are excited to announce that GraceBlood LLC, out of Baltimore, MD, has joined the Aurora EDI Alliance!  GraceBlood is the seventh company to join the Alliance since its inception in the fall of 2011.  We had the opportunity to get to know this group when we all met up in Santa Barbara last fall and we are super excited to have them join us.  With the addition of GraceBlood, we now have a diverse and extensive portfolio of ERP packages we can integrate with, making the Aurora EDI Alliance a powerful ally for small, medium and large businesses alike.

After decades of experience leading her mid-Atlantic based company in representing and implementing ERP, warehouse management and EDI systems, Karen Blood joined with Amy Grace to build a team of experienced industry associates to deliver the specialized B2B/EDI services the supply chain needs to thrive. Since 2003 GraceBlood has focused exclusively on helping growing distributors, manufacturers and other supply chain clients smoothly and efficiently trade business transactions. Working in multiple industries – automotive, consumer, grocery, health, industrial, logistics and research – GraceBlood delivers consulting and integration services and software; on-premise, hosted or hybrid; supported or managed.

After outgrowing many other platforms, since 2009 GraceBlood has proudly used and represented the offerings of Liaison Technologies, such as Delta/ECS and the Liaison Exchange Network (formerly NuBridges) VAN (Value-Added-Network).  GraceBlood skillfully builds integration solutions for clients across North America running ERPs such as Microsoft Dynamics’ AX & NAV, Infor’s SXe, FACTS & TakeStock, QuickBooks, NetSuite and SAP. GraceBlood’s Net Promoter Score® has been over 90% for three years, underlying the importance of their vision, “Our clients, our associates and GraceBlood profit from our clients’ ability to strategically embrace B2B electronic transactions and to enthusiastically say 'Yes!' when presented with new challenges in their trading partner relationships.”

Customer Spotlight

L. International was founded by Talia Frenkel, a photojournalist whose experience documenting the effects of HIV/AIDS on women and girls motivated her to create a company that could empower women globally. L.'s first consumer product was a natural 1-for-1 condom line. For every product sold, one is donated to a female entrepreneur in a developing country. All of L.'s personal care products are designed with the highest-quality, sustainably-tapped and non-toxic materials. L. takes a multichannel approach to distribution, with products sold online as well as in CVS, Target, Brookshire Grocery and Whole Foods. The 1-for-1 program provides holistic distribution in Uganda, Tanzania and Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. L. International has been called a "...future-forward company..." by Fast Company, a "...sexy and bold statement..." by USA Today, "...a model of sustainable innovation..." by Forbes and "...a product that could change the lives of millions..." by Vanity Fair. L. was also named "Best for the World" by B Corp for both 2014 and 2015.  More L. media coverage can be found at www.thisisL.com/exposure.  Since its inception, L. has grown into a health company with multiple products and a movement that invites consumers to empower themselves with healthier alternatives while making a difference through simple day-to-day purchases. To learn more, please visit the website at www.thisisl.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/L.

Aurora President Visits with Hawaiian Customers

On a recent vacation to Hawaii, Aurora President Faith Lamprey had the opportunity to meet up with a number of our Hawaii customers.  Several years ago, CVS Pharmacy acquired Longs Drugs, which was a well-known neighborhood pharmacy in communities around the US, including Hawaii.  At that time, we onboarded many Hawaiian suppliers to our Easy Trade solution.  Our Hawaii customers encompass a diverse group of small businesses, ranging from lei manufacturers, coffee roasters, candy makers and souvineer distributors.  A simple get-together with pupus and cocktails was a great opportunity to meet and get to know some of our long-time Easy Trade customers.  A good time was had by all!

Who is the Aurora EDI Alliance?

For the next few newsletters, we will be doing short bios on each Aurora team member. For this one, we are featuring Kim Zajehowski, Manager of EDI Hosting.

Kim Zajehowski, Aurora's Manager of EDI Hosting, is one of our very talented EDI integration extraordinaires here at Aurora. She helps us close opportunities like a superstar with her comprehensive yet easy to understand software demos. Kim graduated from Bryant College (Bryant University) with her Bachelors Degree of Science in CIS (Computer Information Systems) in 1988. EDI came very early in her career because her employer had purchased some EDI training. As the EDI coordinator, she became responsible for converting a PC based antiquated EDI server to an AS/400 based product known back then as Premenos EDI/400 (now TrustedLink i). During that time, she also went back to school to receive her MBA with a concentration in Computer Information Systems in 1992 from Bryant College (Bryant University)After a later acquisition, Kim found herself searching for another opportunity that would allow her to be closer to her family. She knew Faith (Aurora's President) from past NEMUG (New England Midrange User Group, the local iSeries User Group) meetings and presented her with a resume and credentials. Faith decided it was a good match and she's been with Aurora ever since. With 14 years of consulting behind her, she's had the opportunity to be involved in many different projects and has become a very well rounded consultant because of it.  Don't tell her this but we love her. 

In our circle of colleagues and clients, Kim is known as the “EDI Queen” or “AS2 Queen” in our field. She has a knack for understanding not only EDI, but connectivity from AS2, FTP, firewalls, PCs, and VPNs. She also knows the PC side of things as well and has helped many friends out on PC related questions and training. Kim considers herself a glorified geek in Aurora's kingdom. Her clients would say that she is really good with connection issues and researching problems. Kim loves learning new things, applying what she has learned and sharing that knowledge with others. In addition to her day job, she also teaches part-time as an adjunct professor at a local college, which she really enjoys. How does she find the time?

On a personal level, she of course loves spending time with her family. Kim grew up in Rhode Island and still resides there - she says this is where her roots are. A lover of the outdoors, Kim enjoys hiking, going to the mountains and visiting waterfalls. She has fallen prey to the latest fitness craze - Zumba. And she adores her son - going to amusements parks, building things with Legos and playing with their kittens are just a few of the things they enjoy doing together. She volunteers at her son's school for many events and class trips, as she likes being part of his world. Charities and causes that are close to her heart include anything having to do with animals (local shelters, ASCPA, Humane society, Animal Rescue League) as well as the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen. She has lost several family members to the disease and prays for a cure. When asked how she wants to be remembered, she says, "Good mom, good sense of humor, fun to be around, hard worker," in that order.

Aurora Helps Navarro Pharmacy Suppliers Become EDI Compliant

CVS Pharmacy recently acquired Miami-based Navarro Pharmacy, the largest Hispanic owned drugstore chain in the US. This move is purported to increase CVS' retail prescription market share to 25%. We have been successfully working with CVS for many years on their supplier enablement program. As CVS' prefered EDI service provider, we are now in a position to help all of Navarro's suppliers become EDI compliant, making them more marketable and ultimately more profitable in this increasingly competitive business landscape. As of this writing we have signed up 15 Navarro suppliers to our our affordable and simple Easy Trade solution and we are getting new inquiries every day. Miami has some of the nicest people you would ever want to do business with and we look forward to working with more of these companies in the coming months.      

Blog Highlight:  Integration Expertise a Must for Webstores 

Do you have a separate solution for every business process?  There's one company that handles your Webstore, one that that deals with your warehousing, another vendor for your ERP and the list goes on.  No one really knows what the others are doing and you feel like you are in the middle of a major metropolitan spaghetti bowl!  There is another way...

Now that companies are getting over their fear of spending money, integration is going to be more prevalent in the SMB sector.  Not just for the enterprise level anymore, the ability to integrate your business processes, especially Webstores, in the near future will be as important as having a FAX machine was 20 years ago.  Robin Smith from Virtual Logistics writes in his blog, "All in all integrating a shopping cart to an in-house ERP package or 3PL sounds like a relatively simple exercise until..."read more.

Quibids.com Case Study Complete

Last year we had the pleasure of with working with both Quibids.com and fellow Liaison reseller, Virtual Logistics, on a large integration project using Liaison's Delta/ECS integration package. This is a great case study and truly illustrates the flexibility, efficiency and automation that Delta/ECS can bring to an organization. Quibids.com contacted us because they were growing rapidly and found themselves needing to re-assess their EDI environment. The standalone EDI translator they were using had been adequate up to that point, but as they geared up to move an ever-expanding vendor base into active electronic trading relationships, it was clear they needed a scalable and flexible solution to move their business to the next level.

QuiBids.com examined all the major players and quickly discovered that Liaison’s Delta & ECS package showed a great deal of promise. First and foremost was the sheer mapping flexibility - no format was out of bounds for Delta. Other solutions promised similar capabilities but by comparison they struck them as afterthoughts bolted onto existing traditional EDI paradigms. And then when they had the opportunity to examine the Delta interface itself there was very little by way of comparison. It was hands down the most intuitive mapping interface they had ever seen. 

An equally powerful factor in their decision was ECS. For sheer visibility, flexibility, and ease of use, it was impossible to find anything close to anywhere near the price point. It was apparent  that with ECS they really could achieve a truly unified operational environment, and bring a number of disparate processes (FTP comms, AS2, Web Services, XML, flat files) under one roof for the first time. Other packages offered similar claims but again, at much higher cost and with less visual transparency and ease of use.

Click here to read complete case study.

Technical Terminology Time

Mapping - This is the process by which an EDI specialist decides which data goes into each element of an EDI document, using an EDI translation tool.  The data must be in a standardized format, adhering to the current EDI standard and according to the trading partners' specifications.  EDI maps usually correspond with actual business documents.  For example, an EDI 850 map is the same as a paper purchase order. 

Summer Fun Facts

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Photo appears courtesy of CeresB.

- In the US, July is National Ice Cream Month.

- The Summer Olympics were first held in Greece more than 2,000 years ago.  

- The frequency of a cricket's chirp correlates with the number on the thermometer, so if you count the chirps for 15 seconds and add 37, you are left with the approximate temperature in Farenheit.

- In 1922, the Libyan Desert reached a scorching 136 degrees in the shade!