The Challenge: Process-Heavy Global Exportation, Logistics, and Compliance
With thirteen diverse business units that serve individual agricultural markets, CTB Incorporated is a worldwide manufacturer and designer of agricultural systems and solutions. The company aspires to help feed the world through a number of practices that serve the grain, poultry, pig, and egg sectors of the global food supply chain. Beyond traditionally ag-oriented solutions, CTB provides infrastructure and software solutions for food refinement.
Inherent to nurturing a global network of distributors and dealers comes operational, legal, and logistical procedures required at every step of the exportation process. Among the challenges in exporting goods to many countries are the predictable, yet diverse requirements for taxation, invoicing, documentation, and compliance. As such, the exportation process generates an immense amount of data that can be difficult to manipulate, but if managed correctly, can be powerful.
In endeavors to help feed the planet, CTB understood it to be vital to nourish the logistical needs for the processes used for its vendors and international trade. So, business systems leaders at CTB sought to enhance its JD Edwards for efficient exportation procedures, enhanced vendor connectivity, and improved auditability.
The Solution: Emerging from Excel into DAS for Exportation Logistics
Although it is an economy that accommodates businesses to sell goods globally, it remains a world governed by trade agreements. For those exporting products to a myriad of nations, the amount of paperwork generated to satisfy compliance and legal requirements becomes monumental.
CTB had to encumber an entire business unit with the duties of preparing commercial invoices, bills of lading, certificates of origin, and the entirety of records that exportation demanded. Furthermore, the standard procedure for satisfying exportation documentation was arduously being executed using Excel and Word. To perform this process, staff copied, pasted, and retyped every bit of country-specific data into digital documents, followed by manually publishing the paperwork, again and again.
Next, the company developed macros for its Excel spreadsheets that would import the necessary information specific to the destination country. Yet, it became evident to CTB that its spreadsheet approach for leveraging its JDE data could be less labor-intensive. So, management sought a solution that paired its JDE data to reporting software to accelerate the documentation process.
CTB has since evolved its exportation data management systems using Data Access Studio (DAS) from ReportsNow to automate all aspects of its paperwork. DAS is an all-in-one, JDE-centric reporting and business intelligence solution that boasts the entire spectrum of report building and distribution capabilities. Now users key in order numbers from JD Edwards into DAS which extracts precise data for particular orders. Based on the destination country entered, DAS autofills commercial invoices and automatically creates detailed bills of lading, and certificates of origin. These paperwork originations are also performed using the necessary specific verbiage required for each country, all in the corresponding destination’s native language.
Consequently, CTB’s exportation processes are now enhanced to be precise and swift, ultimately requiring less effort and resources.
Automator and Bursting for Vendor Communications
Complementary to streamlining logistical processes for exportation, CTB pivoted to augmenting the back-and-forth data exchange mechanisms it used in doing business with its vendors. It was essential for its vendors to receive data regarding on-hand product balances to induce reorder actions. To initiate the transfer of information from CTB to vendors, users were continuously sending specific data, to the right places, at the right times.
On multiple days of the week, over 200 reports had to be individually scheduled on a continual basis. The result was a complicated schedule brimming with vendor management procedures using a scheduler. When the scheduler malfunctioned, users were strained to manually email hundreds of reports to vendors until the system was fixed.
Accordingly, CTB turned to the ReportsNow Professional Services team to construct vendor reports using Automator and a bursting function to create reporting schedules that dispense automatically. Automator is a complete suite that dispenses mission-critical reporting information. As a result, only one or two reports containing vendor information are needed daily. Furthermore, the vendor spreadsheet has modifiable fields regarding report delivery time and a modifiable distribution list, providing ultimate distribution agility.
Today, IT is freed from having to monitor a scheduler, saving numerous hours of maintenance per week. Additionally, queue time on its data warehouse is liberated from having hundreds of reports ran on a recurrent basis.
CTB has since taken its new automated process one step further by sending weekly open order reports to its major customers. Open order reports provide high-level visibility to vendors for unshipped orders so that they can consolidate loads, providing efficient freight costs.
Creating A Streamlined Auditing Process
Prior to DAS, accessing its order cache was difficult for CTB causing internal audits to be problematic and feeble. The only mechanism to audit documents and track orders was to take quotes and follow them all the way back through JDE to the system invoice. CTB found its internal audits to be an area needing enhancement to the accessibility of its JDE data and providing information to auditors.
Previously, commercial invoices were manually created, providing no way of tracing them back to JD Edwards, except for the invoice number. Invoice numbers were also manually created at invoice onset, incorporating work that had areas naturally susceptible to human error. Auditors were not comfortable with this invoicing system.
Given those pain points, CTB sought the modernization of its vendor documentation so that it could better fulfill auditing requirements. DAS was then enacted to automatically generate its commercial invoices and invoice number. Now auditors are able to use DAS to access invoices and wield greater accessibility to CTB’s JD Edwards data. Straightaway, multiple business units and auditors enjoy a more effortless auditing system because of DAS.
One Solution, Multiple Applications
Scores of businesses use ReportsNow tools to solve JDE reporting pain points that haunt a variety of business ecosystems. Furnishing more reporting power to end users relieves IT departments of repetitive report creation and modification requests. In efforts to nourish the logistical needs for vendors and international trade, CTB adopted a solution that provided a data-propelled competitive advantage. Ultimately, it overhauled labor-intensive processes during exportation, vendor go-between, and internal audits to save countless hours and resources.
Find out how DAS and Automator can empower your business to streamline processes and wield data for a competitive advantage.