The steel and engineering wholesaler Lemvigh-Müller exchanges around 45,000 EDI documents every day with their customers, suppliers, and distributors. Offers, sales orders, delivery notes, invoices, and other business documents are sent back and forth between the company's SAP system and about 3,500 partners' ERP systems. Such extensive document exchange places high demands on Lemvigh-Müller's e-Business integration team, that have to support both external and internal partners. That is why they use the integration platform Link.
"Before we got Link, we always had to involve our developers when we needed to set up new partners," says Henriette Svendsen, the team leader for the e-Business integration team at Lemvigh-Müller. "We always had to wait for the developers to have time to help us, which meant that it could take a while to set up new partners. It was frustrating for us at the e-Business integration team that we couldn't set up new partners ourselves, and at the same time, the developers thought it was some very trivial and tedious tasks.
"With Link, we've got a tool that makes everyone's work-life both easier and more fun - adding more value to our workdays," continues Henriette. "We can set up new partners ourselves and no longer have to depend on our developers. As soon as we learn which ERP system, consulting house, or portal a new partner uses, we usually know which formats they would like to use for exchange. And we can have them set up in no time!"
"If there are any requirements for a custom mapping from a partner, we need a developer to develop that specific mapping, of course," adds Henriette. "We can then test the mapping and files with the partner ourselves using the Link portal. It really saves us a lot of time."
At one point, Lemvigh-Müller considered whether they could just use the EDI functionality in SAP instead of using Link. "It was like driving a Ferrari and then being told we were going to drive a moped instead," says Henriette smiling. "And I knew that my job satisfaction would slowly disappear if we had to downgrade in support functionality."
It is not only in the case of setting up partners that the department has become more efficient. Henriette elaborates: "Link gives us unique opportunities to seek information about the documents we exchange. For example, if a customer calls with an inquiry regarding an order and we search the order number, we can see both the sales order, order confirmation and invoice. That way, we can immediately provide our customers with information about everything they have received from us. We receive a lot of commendation for this kind of service from our partners."
"We have more than 3,500 partners we exchange documents with, so it is vital to us that we can easily find the information we need," explains Henriette. "If one of my colleagues calls for an order from a customer or wants to know if a particular invoice has been sent, we can quickly check it. It is easy to see if an error has occurred and why it has happened - and above all, it is easy to fix. We are also able to see the raw file and all the mapping steps. That way, I can see exactly where the error has occurred so that we can fix it right away."
"People often ask me if EDI isn't a black box, but it's simply not the case with Link. I might be a semi-nerd, but with Link, the EDI world is also open to those who aren't as nerdy. For example, we've given our colleagues in the finance and logistics departments viewing rights to Link so that they can find much of the information they need themselves. They've become much more self-reliant."
"There's no doubt that Link is the most important tool in my workday," concludes Henriette. "For the rest of the company, SAP is the primary tool, but for me, it's Link. The Link portal makes us much more efficient and means that we can utilize our respective competencies and resources way better than before. And then it gives me much greater job satisfaction because I can provide a much better service to our partners than they're used to."