Promise and Challenges

Cyber Monday: Promise and Challenges

Cyber Monday encourages Thanksgiving holiday shopping on the internet and even the recent reports stated that this big day has surpassed the sales of Black Friday and retail giant Amazon’s 2-day special sales events in the last few years. The shoppers bought US$7.9 and US$9.4 billion worth of products in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 

But did all the web stores profit and had a booming sales day? No! Many of them faced the following challenges:

  • Online searches failed to satisfy close to 40% of the customers.
  • Technical glitches prevented 13.4% of consumers from placing an order.
  • More than 38% did not receive their orders on time.
  • And 48% of buyers were not satisfied with the fulfillment options.

But these challenges should not deter the upcoming retail web stores. They can still carve out a niche by understanding these contemporary promises and challenges:

Online Presence

Even large businesses with a big market presence failed to capitalize on Cyber Monday. The lack of online visibility hindered them. These companies had multiple physical stores in various locations. But they did not have a proper and functioning web store or E-commerce site.

Even small companies did not rise to the occasion. They lacked the resolve to start a competent digital marketplace. Yes, some businesses tried to set up a makeshift retail store for online shoppers. But they lacked scalability options to handle the peak hour sales volumes.

Thankfully, there are viable, low-cost solutions to tackle these obstacles:

  • Start a full-fledged retail store with product catalogs and shopping carts. 
  • Facilitate easy payments, convenient browsing, and user-friendly features. Also, personalization, customization, and cloud-based storage and processing can help the business to flourish.
  • Modern, tech-savvy customers seek an efficient website to do their shopping. The store has to provide product data and descriptions. 
  • Product information management (PIM) software can enhance content discovery, item searches, order placements, and post-sale chats.

Impactful Marketing

You can create a website with sophisticated SaaS and EDI technologies. You can also deliver superior services and fast delivery times. But these investments do not bear fruit unless the store creates a buzz on the internet. And it would help if you had effective digital marketing and sales strategies to succeed:

  • Upgrade and fine-tune the store for a superior look, feel, and functionality. Deliver a memorable customer experience with a captivating site design.
  • Improve the number of organic searches through SEO and SEM. Achieve higher profits through backlinks, sales funnels, blogging, embedded links, and site maps.
  • Design and deploy a smartphone-friendly website with flexible features. It should have responsive design features with an optimized screen resolution, menu, navigation, and more.
  • Use banners to highlight special offers, discount alerts, and new product arrivals. Segment the products and set-up category pages with inbound links to engage the paying customers.
  • Rely on prompt email communications to create a loyal customer base. Offer discount coupons or send a reminder mail to those who abandon shopping carts. 

Successful Logistics

Retail store’s reputation depends on fast and accurate deliveries. But manual order processing and inventory management is a big drawback. The challenge gets exacerbated by an inability to handle large sales volumes. Also, shipping and packing delays can result from labor shortages in the store.

These obstacles can be overcome by automating the fulfillment process. Supply chain and shipping software can help reduce redundancy and human errors. Besides, the retailers can always partner with reputed wholesalers and distributors. They can also provide options for last-mile deliveries, curbside collection, and physical store pick-ups.

SWOT Analysis

Finally, analytics and artificial intelligence are at the next level. Cyber Monday sellers can capitalize on these technologies in diverse ways. They can set-up multiple channels to manage online sales, marketing, and management issues. More efficient customer services are possible by thoroughly analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • Customer data can get processed to deliver real-time product messages (ads).
  • Relevant communications via email, social media, web site, etc.
  • It is essential to offer secure payment options to ensure the buyer’s privacy.
  • Easy returns policy can get implemented by integrating physical and online stores.
  • Business can be expanded by partnering with like-minded retailers.
  • Innovative retail models help to keep the overall overheads low.
  • A comprehensive platform with predictive analytics can increase sales by 35% to 40%.

It is imperative to pick the right set of solutions and strategies to suit your target audience, mission, and budget.

Importance of Agile Project Management (1)

Importance of Agile Project Management

Modern software development is a complex and sophisticated activity. The agile techniques have emerged and evolved to support the industry. They facilitate efficient project management through various principles, tools, approaches, and cultural values. Let us have an in-depth look into them:

The Approach

The agile approach assists the development phase and the entire project lifecycle. It emphasizes iteration, adaptability, and responsiveness in product builds. The developers take a non-linear path to allocate fixed resources for a limited time. They also deliver the products using successive cycles of development. In contrast, the waterfall approach relies on the scope as a driver to evaluate the costs and time consequences.

Agile lacks a specific structure, and the managers get propelled by these four central values:

  1. People are prioritized over processes and tools in the project work
  2. Contracts take the back seat to produce client-centric outcomes
  3. Flexibility and responsiveness to signals are preferred over rigidity
  4. Problem-solving gets priority over record creation and maintenance

5 Key Components

These five primary components of the agile approach give pre-eminence to people. They make investors, managers, data architects, users, and other stakeholders crucial in the cycle.

1. User Stories

Analysts write short and simple descriptions from the client’s standpoint. They outline the quantum of work and the final product’s look.

2. Sprints

The products and services get improved in short bursts of 1 to 3 weeks. Iterations are useful to make improvements and upgrades.

3. Agile Board

Whiteboards and software visualization tools are essential for reporting team progress. They improve efficiency, commitment to work, and deadlines.

4. Scrum Meetings

These are short, daily conversations between project teams. Each member stands for 10 minutes and quickly talks about their assigned modules to others.

5. Backlogs

Unresolved tasks get assigned during sprint planning to the developers. This product backlog lists features, team activities, infrastructure changes, and bug-fixes.

Basic Principles

There is an excellent range of agile project management tools with features like real-time visualization, report generation, tracking capabilities, record maintenance, templates, and interfaces. They automate various vital processes and ensure smarter and faster team collaboration. 

All these software options, however, draw inspiration from the fundamental principles. Yes, agile has a manifesto developed by software professionals to teach values. It also gives direction to various stakeholders through these important principles:

  1. Assure customer satisfaction by consistently delivering value in real-time.
  2. Be open to change during any stage of the development to benefit clients.
  3. Focus on frequent deliveries by emphasizing the need for faster completion.
  4. Customer interactions and daily team collaborations are mandatory.
  5. Motivate the developers by creating an environment of trust and timely support.
  6. Implement persuasive communication techniques like face-to-face interactions.
  7. The final product or working software should be a measure of success.
  8. Teams have to work in tandem for motivation and sustained development.
  9. Stress on agility without losing track of design goals and technical acumen.
  10. Extract maximum productivity from the least effort by keeping it simple.
  11. Self-organized teams can come up with significant architecture to attain the goals.
  12. Encourage behavioral adjustments through frequent introspection and feedback. 

Common Steps

The agile approach has no uniformity, and there are multiple methodologies. The most popular ones are Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. Scrum focuses on daily activities by including the Scrum master, product owner, and team members. 

Kanban achieves task-orientation using visual displays and boards, while the Lean method focuses on waste reduction, a clutter-free system, and value addition. There are other methodologies, too, like Scrumban, DSDM, Crystal, Extreme Programming, and even agile agnostic frameworks.

Despite the differences, there are some common and much necessary agile steps. They are project planning, product map creation, daily stand-ups, and sprint reviews. These steps encompass the teams, tools, daily targets, roadmaps, timelines, and SWOT analyses.

Conclusion: Excellent Benefits

Agile productivity managers note that the approach empowers people and their interactions. They also say that the methodology consistently delivers value to the enterprise in a short span:

  • Client and end-user touchpoints get strengthened to build engagement.
  • Facilitates a light-weight framework to reduce wastage of resources.
  • Provides the management with greater control by offering flexibility.
  • Incidents and issues get discovered early, and they get quickly resolved.
  • It is easier to promote diverse viewpoints, idea sharing, and higher accountability.

CloudGen’s Project Management approach is an end-to-end solution that includes a vision definition, a strategy roadmap, project planning, and management, requirements, and uses case definition, system design, development, test, deployment, and evaluation. We assure quality control during the entire process.

Efficient-Packaging-1

Supply Chain And The Best Sustainability Practices To Know

Businesses have to manufacture and distribute their products and services at a reasonable cost and low error margin. Their managers rely on supply chain networks to achieve this goal. But the complex process involves dynamic variables like people, political factors, demand, and resources. Sustaining this activity for the modern age has become a very big challenge. Pollution and new laws are the latest problem areas in this genre.

Thankfully, creative strategies, information technology, and effective designs are coming to the rescue. Also, automated workflows help in streamlining and sustaining these business transactions. 

Let us find out the best supply chain sustainable practices that can benefit every business transaction.

Software Competence

The order processing methods involve too much paper documentation, redundant manual-intensive tasks, and high-error prone calculations. This old-fashioned way is now obsolete, and automation helps to simplify this step. Computers, printers, email tools, tracking systems, inventory management, and other software are some of the multiple tools that help to create simplified billing and fulfillment processes.

Likewise, the digitized workflows are not only fast but also scalable and error-free. Electronic files help to store and handle sales orders and inventory details. Invoices and shipping manifests can also get transmitted and received online. And an integrated electronic data interchange (EDI) system can manage multiple trading partners while enforcing superior technical standards.

Efficient Packaging

Products have to be packaged, labeled, and shipped to far-away destinations. This process involves a lot of plastic and hazardous materials. Recyclable materials can replace such inept items to enhance sustainability. The right type of boxes, shipment method, and other means help to avoid heavy packing.

Specifically, using Shelf-ready casings and automatic techniques can reduce wastage. The management software can help assess the storage capacity to avoid over-stocking, prolonged transportation, and other inefficiencies. Selecting the right size and shape box for a package can save money, energy, and space. Material usage can get minimized by reducing layers and accurately calculating the parcel’s mass and volume.

Optimal Deliveries

Managing and tracking shipments is a big challenge in the supply chain. If the cargo can get consolidated, then the transportation costs come down drastically. The order requests can get combined to deliver the products in fewer trucks by choosing an optimal route. Consolidating the items also facilitates accurate last-mile deliveries. Fuel costs can reduce by using geofencing, GPS, automatic routing, etc.

Responsible Suppliers

The supply chain efficiency is not completely under a company’s control. The business has to deal with a variety of suppliers and distributors. Choosing such trading partners wisely can go a long way in enforcing sustainable transactions. Make sure the supplier sources the raw materials in an eco-friendly way. Select your partners based on their reputation, social responsibility indicators, and responsible behavior. You can take the help of NGOs and rating agencies to choose the best.

Enhanced Inventory

Implementing environment-friendly measures within the company is not sufficient. You have to partner with other tech-savvy traders too. For example, inventory processes can get automated to reduce wastage. Your vendor managed inventory or VMI system can help you achieve high standards.

The technology improves visibility and optimizes restocking efforts through superior scheduling. It can also satisfy location or regional demands faster. Also, manufacturing and distribution processes become cost-effective. You will not have to dispose of unused materials or even spend more on transportation and fuel expenses.

Analytical Support

Supply chain management is a continuous learning process, and data can be a powerful tool to ensure higher performance. You can rely on insightful analytics to identify the weak processes. Such an integrated software system can deliver timely reports to assist in decision-making.

The process managers can operate a streamlined business at a low cost with this data. They can positively identify the growth drivers and remove or modify the inefficient workflows. Regular analyses are also vital for a more holistic understanding as well as business expansion efforts.

Circular Models

In the traditional supply chain, production materials and supplier wastage were not concomitant. But with a cyclic or circular model, no item will get carelessly discarded. This non-linear scheme facilitates open access and creates more value. 

The unwanted materials get recycled, reused, repurposed, and returned. In particular, plastic is reused in imaginative ways to reduce pollution of air, water, agricultural, and forested lands. Only reputed and eco-friendly producers and suppliers actively recycle and repair the pallets, cardboard boxes, cartons, and other packaging materials.

Best EDI Transactions for Every Partner

Best EDI Transactions for Every Partner

The era of digitization has seen a tremendous change in almost all the business platforms and especially in supply chain. The shift from heavy paper documentation to the paper-less work is one of the major reasons to accelerate the rate of transaction growth between various business partners and partner systems.

The emergence of Electronic Data Exchange (EDI), has been eased up the exchange and a communication of data between various stakeholders.

With the use of codes and transaction sets, organizations are now having various options to deal with the partners and stay ahead in the competition. The security and diligence by which the data is shared are unmatched. With no leakages, one can ensure that the business is not hampered at any point of time.

In this article, we would like to shed some light on different transactions and transaction sets that are implemented frequently to achieve the desired EDI goals. In short, there is a different EDI transaction defined for every business partner.

EDI Transactions

When there is an opportunity to expand and reach far, the business never ceases to grow. Every new relationship in a business is seen as a chance to generate profit and earn better satisfaction.

With a large number of the transaction sets covering all the stakeholders, industries, and business types, EDI is in fact offering the same business dynamics. Based on the standard framework to decide how each of the messages should operate, EDI has also achieved sophistication in business dealings.

The following are the various types of EDI transactions for trading partners, that are best and fruitful to be adopted by the enterprises, small or large organizations.

Order Series

When the transactions are related to both order and payment, this particular transaction set is beneficial for both distributor and the supplier. It helps to generate the notifications of order management, tracking, creation of the bills, item maintenance, and inquiry by the buyer, agreement drafting, etc.

With the predefined set of codes, this transaction is quite crucial when it comes to the perspective of expansion and daily business running. Some of the prime codes used here are:

  • 180 Return Merchandise Authorization and Notification
  • 810 Invoice
  • 816 Organizational Relationships
  • 832 Price/Sales Catalog
  • 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice
  • 850 Purchase Order
  • 857 Shipment and Billing Notice

Transportation Series

To reach the world faster, a well-established channel of communication and transportation is a must. This particular set of quotes is used by the logistics and transportation partners when the transportation takes place via air, sea, rail, or road.

With the information about the logistics channel and the status of booking, theses codes intimate the trading partners about the exact situation of the package, booking status, general condition, and other related services. Some of the codes here are:

  • 104 Air Shipment Information
  • 106 Motor Carrier Rate Proposal
  • 110 Air Freight Details and Invoice
  • 214 Transportation Carrier Shipment Status Message
  • 240 Motor Carrier Package Status
  • 250 Purchase Order Shipment Management Document
  • 920 Loss or Damage Claim – General Commodities
  • 109 Vessel Content Details
  • 301 Confirmation
  • 313 Shipment Status Inquiry (Ocean)
  • 161 Train Sheet
  • 422 Shipper’s Car Order
  • 466 Rate Request

Financial Series

The invoicing, account maintenance, billing, payable and receivables maintenance, and extracting the sales report, is crucial for the sales and revenue department in any business. These sets of codes assist to achieve a clear analysis of the financial position of the enterprises. Some of the common codes here are:

  • 248 Account Assignment/Inquiry and Service/Status
  • 810 Invoice
  • 811 Consolidated Service Invoice/Statement
  • 812 Credit/Debit Adjustment
  • 818 Commission of Sales Report
  • 819 Operating Expense Statement
  • 822 Account Analysis
  • 827 Financial Return Notice
  • 828 Debit Authorization
  • 829 Payment Cancellation Request

Warehousing Series (WAR)

A bulk of the stock is always stored in the warehouses and is extracted when required. The need to keep pace with the stock available to know the ordering status and future requirements is a must for the smooth business progress. The codes that are used here by the business units are basically related to warehousing team:

  • 883 Market Development Fund Allocation
  • 884 Market Development Fund Settlement
  • 886 Customer Call Reporting
  • 891 Deduction Research Report
  • 940 Warehouse Shipping Order
  • 945 Warehouse Shipping Advice
  • 990 Response to a Load Tender

In addition to theses series, there are various series for other stakeholders like government, quality, mortgage, and many more, that are used by the business for their swift operations.

Conclusion

The growing business and the never ending need for advanced as well as best method of documentation and communication is always a challenger factor. CloudGen’s SmartEDI has emerged as a powerful tool to serve all the purposes at one place with assured success rate.

Our product standardizes the communication process and enables seamless exchange of information, keeping pace with the fast-changing world. The ease of documentation and archival is now on fingertips with SmartEDI.

EDI Business Advantages

EDI Business Advantages…Supplier or Distributor…You are Always at the Advantage End

Electronic Data Interchange or EDI is the most advanced way to interchange the data between the business partners. The exchange of data between buyer and supplier, usually consist of purchase orders, invoices, shipping documents, payment receipts, and other related documents.

With the advanced facility of EDI, the ease of virtual connectivity between the businesses has grown in manifolds. With no hassle and quick communication, the EDI offers a series of benefits to the suppliers and distributors.

The EDI has ensured the seamless flow of information, and advanced technology, it has opened up doors to various benefits that are listed here for you.

Business Advantages to Suppliers or Distributors

The EDI has developed a lot in the past few years. With the foundation of automated processing and hassle-free management, it improves the overall trading partners’ relationship and enhances overall productivity. With a multitude of benefits to suppliers and distributors, this has emerged as a proven means to better supply chain predictability. With this, let us have a look at the benefits EDI offers.

Reduced Paper Usage

The furthermost benefit of EDI is reduced paperwork. With the facility to process all the transactions online, the need for printing is quite minimal. Additional to minimized paper usage, it also leads to a reduction in the expenses related to storage, print, postage, mailing, and recycling.

Better Data Quality

Manual data entry is slow, and the chances of the clerical errors are high. With the usage of EDI, there is a proven reduction in data entry errors. The management of accounts receivables and payables also gets a lot streamlined. With the accurate data fed, the forecasting about the business prospects and trends can also be done.

Improved Timelines

With the real-time processing and data transfer, the timeline of communication and processing enhances too. With the elimination of the manual transfer and order processing, the time-lag of dealing shortens. The smooth dealing between the various trading partners involved in the business helps to open up new doors for better and profitable business opportunities.

Inventory Management

The use of EDI shifted to offering better visibility of inventory. With everything available at one place and digitally accessible, it is quite easy to access the stock available at any point in time. With the quick and correct analysis of inventory, one can easily ensure that there is no instance where you have surplus or markdowns. With EDI automation, the check on the backorders can be ticked timely.

Reduced Turnaround Time

The businesses are considered to best when the request and order turnaround time is least. With the better business cycle and quick processing of records, the time lapses are reduced significantly. Compared to the time invested in manual processing, processing through the EDI automation, the time required reduces to just half. Time is the essence of business and order processing, which is taken due care in EDI automation.

Secured Transaction

With less paper usage and all data kept intact in digital mode, the security of the data transmitted increases. With the secured data sharing protocol and high-security standards, the digital movement of data between trading partners ensures the application of secured communication protocol to reduce data leakage and loss.

Operational Efficiency

With a bunch of benefits and enhanced business practices under the EDI automation, the time taken by the staff to create and process the invoices manually is optimized a lot. Quick and efficient processing leads to better operational processes and efficiency.

Go Green

Less of paper and more of efficiency is the concept on which EDI automation operates. With the migration from the paper-based to electronic mode of transactions, that reduces CO2 emissions and promotes corporate social responsibility, which is the need for today.

The Advantageous End

To stay on the peak in any business, it is a must to keep pace with the advances and technological up gradations that come in between. With the changing business environment, the need for a smoother and quicker communication cycle has also increased a lot. The most common benefits include:

  • Exchange of business documents like invoices and receipts
  • Transmission of data
  • Better management of inventory and stock
  • Error-free documentation
  • Refined logistics information
  • Self-populating order fulfillment

Modern EDI solutions are cloud-based, and with the open computing system, the simple and affordable implementation is sure to help you a great deal. Businesses with EDI implementation enjoy the benefits of better lead time, profitability, accuracy, and seamless processing. These are the utmost advantage to distributors or suppliers with added cost-savings.

Conclusion

With tremendous ways to increase the business and a bunch of benefits to suppliers or distributors; EDI has emerged as a boon for all the business units. With smooth processing and quick response channel, managing vendor relationship and customer service have benefited a lot.

In this regard, our CloudGen’s SmartEDI solution helps the customers to overcome many complex scenarios by reducing the implementation time, simplifying the setup task and enhancing the ease of use. We offer:

  • Easy and Quick rollout of EDI project
  • Fast track partner on-boarding
  • Minimizes failed transactions
  • Maximizes efficiency
  • Reduces time required for manual setup and mapping
  • Increases operational efficiency and cost savings
  • Reduces EDI implementation time
  • Elimination of manual errors
  • Supports multiple standards

A well-established communication channel and seamless sharing of transactions and documents, EDI has emerged as a powerful tool with rich features for distributors and suppliers. Adopting it in business will act as a turnaround point, surely.

Retail Industry and The Facts to Remember

Unknown facts of Retail Industry…know where to invest and How

A small shop at the corner of the colony or the big stores offering you everything from pin to electronic gadgets, the retail industry has changed a lot. With the customer-centric approach and better services, many retail stores are experiencing the real boom in their business.

With the advent of the e-commerce, and linkage to the digitization of the retail industry; especially in the area of online order and home delivery, the consumers are now getting inclined towards businesses that offer easy shopping ways.

The need to scrutinize every moment in the shopping experience right from the start of the moment customers enter the store to after-sale services is a must to meet the level of competition. But what makes the Retail Industry as a strong competitor to other industries? Ever checked with the facts? We help you to know few…

Facts of the Retail Industry

With the ample opportunities and options, the retail industry has scope and space for a lot of people to enter. The savvy retailers know very well that the information is key to success. With the perfect vision and updated system, analyzing and transforming it into the application, focusing on targeted market communication, product descriptions, pricing, and promotion, is the solution to the best retail business.

The facts that one needs to be aware of the retail industry before planning to invest in it are listed below.

Customer Experience

Customer is king- this is the basic idea on which any retail business sticks on. Knowing about the customer’s needs and expectations, and fulfilling them is must, to grow and reach the peaks. With the customer-centric approach and reaching the highest level of customer expectation, the retail industry aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

Digitization – the need of today

In the current fast-paced world, the time has shrunk to the least. Ordering all the prime consumer durable goods at the comfort of home is more preferred. With the online ordering method and home delivery, the businesses are fast shifting their model to an e-commerce portal. With the ease of tracking and opportunities to get feedback, the retail industry has shifted in recent years.

Bottle-necked Competition

The entry of the foreign direct investment and opening of the giant retail stores, the competition for the small local retail vendors, has increased a lot. With the opportunity to check and buy, compare and contrast, the products at the mega-stores, a paradigm shift has been seen. Consumers feel it better to buy when satisfied with the product features which are offered by all multi-brand stores around the globe.

Inventory Movement

Managing inventory is crucial for any business. Excess or short of inventory hampers a lot. Also, the focus on the trends, the market demands, customers’ preference, and brand value needs to be focused while buying the stock to arrange on the shelf. The products preferred by the majority are sure to get a positive response.

Human Touch

The businesses are considered to best when the staff and owner communicate with the customers to know their needs better. The speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, positive attitude, need-based understanding, and friendly service are the most crucial elements of positive customer experience. A positive attitude reflected towards the customers is sure to go a long way.

Secured Transaction

There are so many available options to transact and pay where the customer-experience has been always smooth and better. The online payment modes, payment via cards, and cash have given the options. With no need to run to ATM every minute you go to market, the satisfaction level of customers has increased in manifolds.

Invest in Retail Industry

Retailers face several key issues. The major ones are poor economic conditions, increased regulation and competition, and channel disruption. To stay on the peak in any business, it is a must to keep pace with the trends and advances as well. The investors who look forward to investing in the retail industry focus on the four R.

The need to quantify the returns is the prime concern for all the investors. To understand the business metrics, to better understand profitability and financial health, the prime analysis points are listed for you.

  • Return on Revenue: The cornerstone of all the retail operations that guide on the revenue made in the form of the gross profit on the inventory and investment.
  • Return On Invested Capital: The amount of the profit generated based on the initial investment is arrived by using this.
  • Return on Total Assets: The total value of the operating profit generated from the assets invested in the business is ROA.
  • Return On Capital Employed: The efficiency by which the capital is utilized and the net earnings before tax arrives, is obtained here

Understanding these R’s, one can move ahead with the plan to invest and get benefits from the retail industry. With so much scope, the best sector to invest in retail in consumer durable goods. With the least investment and stock management, one can get higher returns and profits.

Conclusion

The tremendous business opportunities in the retail industry and the basic knowledge of the trends, one can move ahead with investing in the retail industry. The use of available data and focusing on the key customers is prime factor of success mantra. The booming retail industry filled with savvy investors always outperforms the broader market.

SmartEDI Strategy

Understanding When and Where to Implement an EDI Logistics Strategy

With globalization, the export and import of goods and services have grown tremendously. To cater to the demands of the global market smoothly, the requirement for a well-structured and sophisticated communication and supply chain channel is required. To answer this need, we have the EDI logistics strategy.

To improve the overall efficiency channel, and increase the visibility; a well-structured logistics channel is a must. The EDI logistics strategy must take a comprehensive plan that involves supply chain and communication.

Right from the stock management, shipping service, invoice creation, bill payments, and logistics tracking, every task has become so quick with the advent of the logistics EDI. Especially in case of the overseas business involving export and import, the EDI logistics has the crucial role to play as the manager of logistics operations.

With being time savvy and budget-friendly, the EDI logistics strategy has proved to be effective in reducing the business’s environmental footprints.

Benefits of EDI Logistics Strategy

With a bundle of benefits and ease of communication, EDI has become an integral part of the business world. The industry standard and B2B transactions, the reaping benefits of technology that the EDI offers, many large-scale suppliers are already using the EDI logistics strategy.

The benefits of the application of the EDI Logistics strategy for the businesses are jotted down for you.

Automation

With the automation of the messaging processes related to generation, sharing, and recording of electronic data related to shipment and dispatch, without any human intervention, the logistics EDI is a boon.

Better and Quick Management

With the business catching up high, the need for error-free processing is a must. The data with the help of the digital generation and sending of commercial messages, the communication related to logistics management is at best.

Traceability

With the traceability of the product dispatched throughout the transit period, the person in charge can easily monitor and track the movement of the product. With the ease of validating the information, the trust factor between the supplier and distributor is managed too.

Standardization

With the standardization of the message and the exchange of information through the electronic mode, a standardized message to share with the receivers can be formatted. Without any language barrier and a predefined format, communication has eased a lot.

Supply Channel

Maintaining the stock is a tedious task. And to keep track of the order by the distributor, the EDI logistics strategy can control a lot. When the product is perishable, the EDI strategy can ensure that the product reaches its destination well on time, and no damage occurs.

Real Time Integration

With real-time integration with all the modes of transport, the chances of delay in services diminish. It henceforth streamlines and provides secure administrative procedures. It reduces lapses in services and better coordination between the business partners.

Need of EDI Logistics Strategy

In any business, the need for updating and advancement as per the trends and pace is a must. Still, some will contradict the fact stating that what is the actual requirement of the EDI logistics strategy?

The basic answer to this question is to streamline the process and to ensure seamless working. Apart from these, various other factors come to limelight as the need for EDI logistics.

With the bulk of need that the EDI logistics fulfill for its users, the major ones can be categorized as below:

  • Better and complete synchronization between manufacturer and distributor.
  • Well-managed and flourished channel of communication between various stakeholders of the business like manufacturer, distributor, transport, storage, customs, and others.
  • Perfect end-to-end supply chain coordination.
  • Transparency and traceability of the merchandise in transit
  • Real-time information about the status of the product, especially beneficial for perishable goods.
  • Ease of on-boarding new logistics partners or distributors based on the existing framework.
  • Common codes used by the EDI logistics software that enables better understandability.
  • The standardized format of invoicing, receipts, and messaging to ensure synchronization and sophistication in business.

Conclusion

With the global connectivity capabilities and the scope of reach to every nook and corner of the world, EDI logistics has proved that a business has no boundaries. With limitless area and unlimited exposure, a business can enter the market of any location with the ease of logistics.

To enter the export or import segment, safe and efficient communication between the origin and final destination of the product is a must in addition to the pricing. With the effective relationship built by the EDI technology between the various actors of the business world, the administration is simple.

The dream of a more sophisticated and controlled business backed by real-time traceability and transparency, quick delivery, and communication, is now possible. The EDI logistics strategy with standardized code and framework to suit business organization is ready to change the face of the business world most unimaginably.

As a solution to all the above questions of implementation, CloudGen’s SmartEDI’s Automated Trading partner agreement enables our customers to roll-out their EDI projects quickly and efficiently by reducing the time invested in manual setup & mapping. Also, our Automated EDI On-boarding process helps the customers to increase their focus on overall business development of organization.

Elucidating How to Maintain Data Consistency, Accessibility and Retainability while using High Available (HA) Openshift clusters

October 7th, 2020

How are stateful workloads handled ?

How are distributed pods able to access the data all time ?

How is accessible data made consistent ?

And at times of failure , How is data retained ?

These are some of the questions that intrigues most of us while running our application on an High Available (HA) Openshift cluster .Let us find the answers

Firstly the pod workloads are handled by distributing it across the cluster to make the application highly available, it can be done by:

Using replica sets and Anti-Affinity rules

nfs1

  • Replica sets gives us the pod count, increased number of pods would ensure that specified number of pods are available in an healthy state at any point of time.
  • Pod workload is handled by scheduling these pods on different computable nodes of the cluster and also making sure that no two similar app pods are on same node
  • For this purpose, combination of nodeAffinity and podAntiAffinity rules are set so that the application pods are distributed evenly.

Secondly, data consistency, accessibility and retainability is achieved by provisioning NFS storage that uses persistent volumes.

  • Here, NFS acts as persistent file storage device and we can make this storage instance available to cluster using static provisioning which requires creation of persistent volumes manually
  • Hence, NFS acts as persistent file storage device and creation of NFS directory acts as a shared volume

2

Below is the procedure for setting up :

1. Creating NFS-server EC2 Instance

  • Launch an Amazon Linux 2 AMI EC2 Instance (supports centos, rhel and fedora)
  • Configure Instance details with Openshift cluster VPC , associate related public subnet in the same zone , proceed with default settings.
  • configure security groups , allow NFS port 2049 .
  • proceed for launching the instance .
  • Now access the AWS terminal through putty and proceed for NFS- server installation

2. Installing the NFS-server

  • Install these packages on the CentOS server with yum
  • yum install nfs-utils

  • Create the directory that will be shared by NFS:
  • mkdir /var/nfsshare

  • Change the permissions of the folder as follows:
  • chmod -R 755 /var/nfsshare
    chown nfsnobody:nfsnobody /var/nfsshare

  • Start the services and enable them to be started at boot time:
  • systemctl enable rpcbind
    systemctl enable nfs-server
    systemctl enable nfs-lock
    systemctl enable nfs-idmap
    systemctl start rpcbind
    systemctl start nfs-server
    systemctl start nfs-lock
    systemctl start nfs-idmap

  • Share the NFS directory over the network as follows:
  • vim /etc/exports
    /var/nfsshare 192.168.100.2 (rw,sync,no_root_squash,no_all_squash) ##192.168.100.2 is the NFS client IP
    ## Validate with below command
    showmount -e 192.168.100.1 ## gives exports list.

  • Finally , start the NFS service
  • systemctl restart nfs-server

This completes setting up of NFS-server

3. At NFS-Client End

  • Connect to worker nodes of openshift cluster which are NFS-Clients .
  • ## NFS Client installation inside worker nodes
    yum install nfs-utils # need to install for non-coreOS

  • create the NFS directory mount points:
  • mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/var/nfsshare

  • we will mount the /var/nfsshare directory:
  • mount -t nfs 192.168.100.1 :/var/nfsshare /mnt/nfs/var/nfsshare/ #192.168.100.1 is the NFS-server IP

  • check if its mounted correctly :
  • df -h

4. Deploying Storage Class

  • Below is the sample storage class used , one can edit storage class name and the provisioner name accordingly.
  • #vim class.yml
    apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
    kind: StorageClass
    metadata:
    name: nfs-storage
    annotations:
    storageclass.kubernetes.io/is-default-class: "false"
    provisioner: example.com/nfs
    parameters:
    . archiveOnDelete: "false"

  • Once updated the class.yml file we can execute the file using oc create
  • # create storage class file
    oc create -f class.yml
    #check if storage class got created
    oc get storageclass

5. Creating Persistent Volume (PV)and Persistent Volume Claims (PVC)

  • PV contains file storage details like NFS server IP and NFS shared path, thus it gets pointed to file storage device , that is to the NFS server. /b
    • Using a reclaim policy of “retain”, a persistent volume will not be deleted or erased. Hence the relationship between pod and storage can be re-established

    ## create pv
    kind: PersistentVolume
    apiVersion: v1
    metadata:
    name: pv-nfs
    spec:
    capacity:
    storage: 1Gi
    accessModes:
    - ReadWriteMany
    persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
    storageClassName: nfs-storage
    nfs:
    server: 192.168.100.1 ## nfs server IP
    path: /var/nfsshare ## nfs server shared path
    ## creat pvc
    kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
    apiVersion: v1
    metadata:
    name: pvc-nfs
    namespace: < project name >
    spec:
    accessModes:
    - ReadWriteMany
    resources:
    requests:
    storage: 20Mi
    volumeName: pv-nfs ## should be same as pv name
    storageClassName: nfs-storage

    ## to create above scripts
    oc create -f pv.yml
    oc create -f pvc.yml

6. Creating Pods to use Persistent Volume Claims

  • Pods utilize this shared volume using persistent volume claim(PVC)
  • apiVersion: apps/v1
    kind: Deployment
    metadata:
    name: deploy-nfs
    labels:
    app: deploy-nfs
    spec:
    replicas: 2
    selector:
    matchLabels:
    app: deploy-nfs
    template:
    metadata:
    labels:
    app: deploy-nfs
    spec:
    containers:
    - name: deploy-nfs1
    image: busybox
    command:
    - sleep
    - "3600"
    resources:
    requests:
    cpu: "0.01"
    volumeMounts:
    - name: pv-nfs
    mountPath: /mydata
    affinity:
    nodeAffinity:
    requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution:
    nodeSelectorTerms:
    - matchExpressions:
    - key: kubernetes.io/hostname
    operator: In
    values:
    - < worker1 hostname >
    - < worker2 hostname >
    - < worker3 hostname >
    podAntiAffinity:
    requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution:
    - labelSelector:
    matchExpressions:
    - key: app
    operator: In
    values:
    - deploy-nfs
    topologyKey: "kubernetes.io/hostname"
    volumes:
    - name: pv-nfs
    persistentVolumeClaim:
    claimName: pvc-nfs

    # create the pod using deployment.yml file
    oc create -f deployment.yml
    # check for pods status
    oc get pods -n < project name >

7. NFS Validation

  1. NFS-Server end, create a sample file and check if getting replicated to nfs client and in pod as well.
  2. NFS-Clients end, create a sample file and check if getting replicated to nfs server and in pod as well.
  3. At Pod level, create a file in the container mount path i.e /mydata , it would get reflected in NFS-server and in NFS-client machines.

Takeaways

we can now make our data persistent , accessible and retainable through NFS by means of static provisioning that requires manual creation of persistent volumes.

Whats ahead ?

Can we claim the persistent volume without actually creating it ?

Yes , without actually creating a persistent volume we can allocate storage volume just by creating persistent volume claim , this reduces time in bringing up the application.

In next post we will see how a dynamically provisioned NFS storage is set up .

WRITTEN BY

Saicharan Adavelli

DevOps Engineer| hands-on with Cloud Platform Infrastructure-AWS| Redhat Openshift Certified

Traditionalizing the Modern Approach  How EDI is Shape Shifting Your Legacy Systems

Traditionalizing the Modern Approach

How EDI is Shape Shifting Your Legacy Systems

Communication and data transfers are no longer elective activities for a business in both B2B and B2C models. And Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) plays a significant role in establishing viable communications. Organizations that stay up-to-date in this regard achieve greater success.

EDI has been around for a while, and it helps in the standardization of the data transfer process. But the long-standing technology is currently under scrutiny. It is because organizations have become much more complex, and their enterprise-level requirements are growing on a global scale.

Yes, legacy EDI systems still exist, but they can pose new challenges. Modernization of EDI protocols and processes is the only solution. This process of modernization of legacy systems is particularly essential if one of the business partners is still stuck with older technologies. Emerging solutions are the order of the day to improve their profits.

Future-oriented Solutions

Workflow Unification

Diverse legacy EDI systems become fragmented and unwieldy. For example, Value-added networks (VAN) get disjointed and require multiple tools. Otherwise, it is not possible to ensure file transfer and mapping or back-end integration. Such systems can also stretch the wits of the trouble-shooters.

Workflows get slowdown as different tools are essential to process orders. Communicating with trade partners and system upgrades also become challenging. But modernizing EDI improves end-to-end workflows. It also enhances supply chain visibility and facilitates faster upgrades and system repairs.

User-Friendliness

Legacy systems can challenge the HR resources of any company. The staff has to undergo training for diverse tools usage. It makes the process of building teams, and expertise takes time and cost money too. Not all employees will be on board and thrilled by the prospects of reading lengthy manuals, either.

Modern EDI systems have convenient UI/UX and friendly drag-and-drop features. They eliminate coding needs and provide a single, seamless front-end for quick mastery. The visual interfaces appeal to the users, and they even show a willingness to do remote work.

Faster Productivity 

Asynchronous file transfer and batch processing were the banes of older EDI systems. These processes were slow, and scheduling demands stressed out the managers. But now, cloud computing and mobile phone access is a reality. 

Data collection, storage, and back-end processing are faster. They happen in real-time, and syncing features resolve data redundancies and replication issues. Cost control becomes efficient and overall productivity and profits of the organization increase.

Innovative Edge  

In the future, companies that adapt to modernity will thrive. They will have an innovative edge over their competitors on a global scale. Technologies and tools have also become more reliable and refined. Web interfaces, robust APIs, mobile data collection, and superior security are assuring.

Data decentralization through Blockchain technology enhances transparency. The modern EDI tools are faster, convenient, and more reliable. 

Superior Security

Older IT systems and legacy EDI tools have multiple security flaws. They are vulnerable and require constant upgrades and updates. This requirement increases maintenance costs and disrupts the workflows. But modern EDI VANs ensure data security, compliance, and optimized supply chains. They reduce the risks of data storage and file transfer and address privacy issues also.

Complementing APIs 

Modern EDI solutions are not in conflict with APIs. The developers are endorsing their simultaneous usage. Legacy system problems like rigidity and inflexibility can get dealt with API-first architectures. Cutting-edge interfaces like JSON, REST, and OData create feature-rich apps. Besides, customized, code-free APIs enhance workflow integration, data access, and publication. Developers can provide secure, real-time access, even to legacy databases, Excel sheets, etc.

Scalability 

Integration with legacy EDI requires considerable investment. The specialists have to set-up expensive servers, cloud interfaces, web, and mobile apps. Modern solutions reduce such complexity through container technologies. The project managers can design scalable solutions in advance, and even implement them quickly and accurately with superior software development tools.

Collaboration Support 

Legacy desktop applications rely on version control systems and package repositories. It facilitated data maintenance and collaboration to a limited extent, but modern EDI solutions create an eco-system using APIs, web, and mobile interfaces. So, collaboration becomes more rapid and reliable.

Flexibility

Traditional IT infrastructure gets limited by platform dependencies. It extends from hardware to operating system requirements. Thankfully, modern EDI deployment and integration are platforms- agnostic. You can set up the system on UNIX and Windows, or run it as a cloud-based application. 

This flexibility accelerates end-to-end workflows without compromising security and privacy. Moreover, the modern system is not only interoperable but also easy to maintain and upgrade. It also addresses the organization’s business needs without a breakdown in supply chain processes.

Conclusion

To conclude, modern businesses operate in a dynamic environment. They are under pressure to compete and resolve complex problems very quickly. Mere automation of business processes and data communications is not sufficient anymore.

Modernizing EDI is not easy for business partners in e-commerce. They have to deal with legacy systems and spend on new technology. Also, integration with existing IT infrastructure is challenging. But the emerging solutions are too enticing, and safety in familiarity is not an option anymore.  

CloudGen’s SmartEDI is one such solution, which can be a perfect fit into any of the B2B transactions. Easy setup and implementation with accelerated onboarding process is our promise to the struggling new companies, to head out successfully in taking off the EDI systems. Contact us for a live demo, which helps you to understand more.

blog 1 advantages

The Advantages of EDI in Logistics and Supply Chain

Orders, invoices, catalogues, instructions, sales reports, quotations, and more – the list of documents required in logistics management is endless. Logistics and supply chain is heavily reliant on documents for transactions and communications. But this increased paperwork translates to the increased expenditure of time, money, and resources. And don’t forget the risk of errors.

Electronic data exchange (EDI) is a computer-to-computer exchange of business documents, which allows you to eliminate cumbersome paperwork, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.

In this article, you’ll learn about the key benefits of EDI in logistics and supply chain.

Let’s jump right in.

Cost Savings

First things first, EDI helps you save costs. As discussed, logistics management comprises copious amounts of paperwork, including printing, storage, reproduction, postage, and retrieval. All this can add significantly to the overall logistics expenses. Utilizing an EDI system enables you to lower your transaction costs by 35-45%.

Besides, manual administration of documents is susceptible to illegible faxes, incorrectly taken orders, or lost orders, which can add up to the losses. EDI eliminates human involvement, thereby alleviating the risk of losses.

Lastly, manual documentation can eat up your valuable resources. For instance, you’ll need to have an employee present to handle the tasks, along with machinery, to print, send, and receive paper documents. EDI automates the entire process and allows you to make better utilization of your resources.

Improved Speed and Accuracy

Electronic data interchange can accelerate your supply chain procedures by up to 60%. For example, it can speed up exchange transactions to a few minutes, instead of waiting for days in case of postal service. Apart from speed, EDI also enhances data quality by delivering a minimum of 30-40% reduction in transaction errors. It excludes mistakes emerging from illegible handwriting, keying/re-keying errors, or lost mail/faxes.

Using EDI can also help you reduce the order-to-cash cycle time by 20-30%, thus, improving business partner relationships and transactions. In addition, using EDI enables you to handle a significantly larger task load with better accuracy.

Improved Business Efficiency

EDI automates paper-based tasks, which allows you and your staff to focus on more productive, higher-value activities. Besides, it helps you and your transport management provider to spend more time on hand-getting shipments where they need to go, instead of spending hours juggling through paper documents and email communications.

Another benefit of EDI in supply chain management is the quick and accurate processing of business documents, which results in fewer stock-outs, cancelled orders, and re-working of orders. It ensures you’re able to send business-critical data on time and track it in real-time.

EDI further allows you to improve cash flow and reduce order-to-cash cycles, along with shortening order processing and delivery times to reduce your inventory levels.

Streamlined Communication Between Partners

Communication plays a key role in the success of logistics operations. However, paper-based documentation impedes communication between trading partners. In addition to streamlining transactions, EDI also advances all types of trading partner interactions.

This results in improved partner-customer relationships and more sales. For example, EDI allows you to shorten your sales cycle. So, you can take and confirm orders more rapidly, giving your customers confidence in your ability to deliver remarkable service.

Peak Inventory Management

Maintaining optimal inventory levels is one of the hurdles most logistics managers face. Not having the right inventory levels means you won’t be able to meet your customer demands, which will lead to losses and a degraded reputation.

EDI helps you maintain ideal inventory stock levels for the future. It provides you access to real-time updates and latest market trends, which you can use to streamline proper resource allocation and manage shortage or excess inventory levels.

Promotes Strategic Planning

One of the major hurdles logistics companies and managers encounter is the lack of transparency and visibility into the status of transportation transactions. EDI resolves this challenge by offering real-time visibility into transportation transactions, which, in turn, promotes faster decision-making and enhanced responsiveness to changing market demands and customer preferences.

EDI also conduces to strategic business planning in the following ways:

  • Cuts down the lead times for product improvements and new product delivery
  • Enhances corporate social responsibility and sustainability by replacing paper-based procedures with electronic methods. This helps you save money and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Enables you to enter new markets and territories by providing a common business language for facilitating business partners across the globe.

Conclusion

We live in the era of digitization, where businesses need to evolve and amp-up their operations. Electronic data exchange allows you to gain more information on your fingertips in the quickest possible time. You can trace orders and see their status in real-time.

EDI also helps you manage your inventory levels and enables you to keep up with the fluctuating market demand. On the whole, EDI promotes strategic planning and gives your businesses an edge over others.

CloudGen has the right smart solution called SmartEDI, which can perfectly fit into your Logistic needs and make the business happen in the most acceptable desired format. Our team of experts never fail to satisfy customer expectation and always maintain maximum delivery excellence.

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