Within two months of an initial consultation, Data Interchange provided Bolta US – a subsidiary of international polymer manufacturer, Bolta Werke – with a bespoke and tested standalone EDI (electronic data interchange) solution.
Data Interchange's timely delivery ensured that Bolta US' new contracts with Volkswagen Group and Plastic Omnium were honoured and trading began in accordance with the agreed deadline. The solution has now been operational since July 2015 and, in the year since its implementation, its robust reliability has helped Bolta US to maintain its favoured supplier status with Volkswagen.
Opening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2013, Bolta US was setup as a storage warehouse and trading port for products shipped from manufacturing plants in Germany and Mexico. Facilitating trade expansion in American markets almost immediately, Bolta US quickly secured lucrative new business contracts with both Volkswagen Group and Plastic Omnium.
The contracts required Bolta US to quickly adopt the long-standing and mandated EDI approaches of its new trading partners. With nearly everything else in place, Bolta US just needed a suitable EDI solution to complete its new infrastructure.
Engaging another vendor to work on the project initially, Bolta US was confident that the strict deadline date set by Volkswagen Group would be met without issue. After a number of months, it transpired that the vendor was unable to deliver an OFTP2-ready EDI solution, a fundamental requirement for trading with Volkswagen Group. Running out of time and unable to trade without a workable EDI solution, Bolta US found itself with a serious problem. Recalling the events, John Morgan, IT Specialist at Bolta US, says: "We had no EDI capability, a non-negotiable deadline and only two months before the partnership was due to go live, so it was an extremely worrying situation."
Re-assessing their circumstances, Morgan describes suddenly remembering an earlier recommendation of Data Interchange and its standing in the automotive sector: "When we had to start looking for a new vendor, I remembered a colleague had done a lot of work in Europe and was quick to mention Data Interchange's expertise, recommending them as a replacement EDI provider."
Contacting Data Interchange, Bolta US outlined what it needed: an OFTP2-capable EDI solution that would allow it to create and send advanced shipment notices and receive forecasts from multiple trading partners. "The emphasis was very much on speed," Morgan says. "We knew the clock was ticking. We needed a workable solution that would meet our trading partner's specifications and it was crucial that it was delivered on time."
Responding to this pressing urgency, Data Interchange streamlined the solution delivery for Bolta US by liaising with Volkswagen on a daily basis and regularly staging solution deployments remotely. Commenting on the speed of the implementation, Morgan remarks: "We were incredibly impressed with how Data Interchange responded to our circumstances. They quickly established working relationships and constantly moved things along to ensure we met our deadline."
The solution itself was deployed in two stages. Data Interchange's Odex Enterprise integration platform was deployed as an integrated connection point for internal and external system communications. Connections were then established to both Volkswagen and Plastic Omnium, before Data Interchange's order processing solution, Darwin, was deployed and configured to meet the customers' specific EDI requirements.
The solution set allowed Bolta US to collaborate with its new trading partners using a combination of short-term and long-term forecasts and advanced shipment notices. The long-term forecasts were sent to the Bolta manufacturing plants in Mexico and Germany and advised on the type and quantity of components that would need to be built. The short-term forecasts were used to tell Bolta's plants when to package and ship the parts out to the Bolta US storage facility in Tuscaloosa. Shipment details were entered into Darwin to create an advanced shipment notice for each order, to notify Volkswagen Group or Plastic Omnium when the goods were shipping.
Whilst currently in the midst of another transitional phase that will see the wider company migrate to a SAP system, Morgan reflects: "I have no doubt that I will recommend Data Interchange to people in the future. The customer and the personal service we have received in such difficult circumstances has been second to none. The willingness to go above and beyond for customers is something Data Interchange should be commended for."