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EDI Cuts Communication Distance among Global Suppliers

  • APICS partners
May/June 2017

Challenge: Managing production and shipping from hundreds of vendors
Solution: DiCentral’s EDI software service
Company: Arhaus
Headquarters: Hudson, Ohio
Operation: Home furnishings design and retail

The challenge

Founded in 1986, Arhaus’s mission is to provide unique, high-quality, and well-designed home furnishings to its customers. The company designs its own products, searches for the best manufacturers around the world while controlling quality, and brings the furniture directly to its customers through an online store at arhaus.com and more than 60 retail locations throughout the United States.

In order to expand the business’s reach, Arhaus leaders knew they needed to streamline communications with the company’s hundreds of suppliers in 16 countries across 5 continents. Many of its suppliers are small artisans and craftsmen who had been relying on faxes and emails for exchanging order information. The communication process was further challenged by limited access to electricity and internet in certain areas of the world, which created difficulties in sending order updates and discussing production disruptions. As a result, actual product quantities often varied from the amount ordered.

The solution

As a first step in optimizing supply chain operations, Arhaus leaders decided to streamline the product-receiving process by implementing an electronic data interchange (EDI) solution that enabled vendors to print and apply labels to products. After facing challenges with an in-house program, Arhaus chose a managed service solution from DiCentral. With this tool, DiCentral facilitated business-to-business communication, data transformation, and community enablement and management, providing Arhaus vendors with a web-based management tool for exchanging EDI documents and printing labels. DiCentral also helped Arhaus overcome any obstacles that slowed the progress of the implementation.

An Arhaus employee uses DiCentral's EDI software solution.

In addition to the initial scope, Arhaus decided to leverage DiCentral to roll out the EDI system to the firm’s two third-party logistics (3PL) carriers to manage domestic merchandise and its freight forwarder to manage international cargo. “Partnering with a leader in their space has been very important for us,” says Arhaus Chief Innovation Officer John Rutter. “I anticipate there will be new projects that will come up, and because we did the right thing and went with the industry standard … we will be able to leverage this multiple times in the future.”

The results

Since the partnership with DiCentral began, Arhaus has reported more than 75 percent vendor package labeling compliance, 80 percent fill rate accuracy, a 10 percent improvement in order delivery accuracy, and improved first-delivery quality.

With DiCentral deployed, Arhaus now is expanding its use of EDI 214 and 315 transactions to track inbound ground and ocean shipments and confirm deliveries to its warehouses. The next step is to use these transactions to monitor outbound deliveries through its 3PLs as items are transported and moved through multiple distribution centers.

“DiCentral has been there for the long run; they devoted their various teams to support the relationship,” Rutter says.“Those are the kinds of partners that I know, if I have an issue or new business opportunities, they are going to be there to help me be more successful.”

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