As a forward-thinking company who places continual improvement at the core of its operations, Seafresh Group, UK, sought to streamline its order-to-cash processes with a fully integrated and automated EDI solution. Seafresh Group chose to outsource its EDI requirements to TrueCommerce, a Highjump company, Cranberry Township, Pa., for a scalable solution that would meet the company’s requirements.
Background and challenges
Seafresh Group is a leading seafood company with over 30 years of experience in the global seafood market. Working with global retailers and foodservice businesses, Seafresh Group provides high-quality and responsibly sourced seafood.
Seafresh Group’s customers include Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer. As part of its customers’ trading requirements, Seafresh Group trades via EDI, exchanging key business documents electronically, including orders, invoices and ASNs.
A key element of the culture at Seafresh Group is a strong belief in always being able to improve the quality of the products and services they provide. When system and service issues with the company’s incumbent on-premise EDI solution threatened to affect customer service levels, Seafresh Group decided to look for an alternative provider.
“The perishable nature of our products means that supply chain errors can be extremely damaging and costly. In our line of business, there is no room for error and is essential that we have an EDI platform that we can trust,” says Tim Hunter, group head of IT at Seafresh Group.
The first priority for Seafresh Group was to comply with its customers’ EDI requirements. Seafresh Group initially migrated across to the TrueCommerce web EDI solution, using the portal to receive and acknowledge orders, create and send ASNs and SSCC pallet labels and create and send invoices. The solution enabled Seafresh Group to migrate from its existing unstable solution quickly and easily, with no investment required in software or hardware.
“The TrueCommerce portal was great when we didn’t have an ERP solution or the time to stop and think about a more joined-up approach. However, when I joined the business, I saw an opportunity to build upon the benefits we had seen since we moved to TrueCommerce through automation and integration,” says Hunter. “We wanted to eliminate the risk of human error and eliminate the time and effort that was being wasted in rekeying and cross referencing data, which were required due to the disconnect between our new ERP system and the information being sent from our customers through the TrueCommerce portal. Ultimately, it’s important that our team focuses on activities that add maximum value, and this wasn’t the case.”
The decision was subsequently made to integrate the TrueCommerce EDI solution with the company’s Oracle ERP system and WMS solution.
“An implementation like this is not without its problems, and we experienced a number of delays due to changing priorities on our side, however the TrueCommerce team were very patient and helped us work through any problems,” says Hunter.
Since integrating EDI with its back office systems, Seafresh Group has benefitted from significant productivity and efficiency benefits. The company now has a stable and scalable electronic trading solution that maximizes efficiency and customer service levels.
“We’ve seen a reduction in risk by removing manual, error-prone processes, and an opportunity to re-focus the team on tasks that can add value to the business as we continue to grow,” says Hunter. “The online portal also makes troubleshooting issues and testing very flexible, and we get great visibility of messages flowing in and out of the business.”
Seafresh Group benefits from the TrueCommerce-managed service model, which includes specialist teams that look after the onboarding of customers on the company’s behalf and ongoing support, including the pro-active monitoring of the TrueCommerce platform for message validation errors.
“Ultimately, seafood is our area of expertise, not EDI, which is where TrueCommerce come in,” adds Hunter. “Support is a key element of the TrueCommerce service. In August, we needed a high priority change making to the order messages for one of our customers, with only a few days’ notice. TrueCommerce understood the importance of this to us, and turned the work around in time to meet our deadline.”
As a fully scalable solution, the TrueCommerce-managed service will enable Seafresh Group to add functionality as and when required.
“Following the success of integrating orders, invoices and ASNs with our back office systems, we are looking to build upon this to further reduce manual processes,” says Hunter. “We are currently implementing a new warehouse management system, and once this is completed, we’ll be looking at EPOD integration, as currently our finance department manually matches these against the invoices. The allocation of remittances is another area we will be looking at.”