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Case Study: Automated Rebates and Invoices, Distributors Corporation of America

Overview

Distributors Corporation of America (DCA) is a holding company for three distributors: IAC (electrical/industrial), Mid America (aftermarket automotive), and MidSouth Power (diesel power generation). DCA oversees the central functions such as IT and accounting for these distributors, including EDI implementation and maintenance.

As each distributor’s vendor and customer lists continued to grow, using manual, paper-based procedures for pricing and invoicing was becoming more difficult to manage. To keep up, IAC had fully allocated three employees just to handle the time-consuming price and rebate authorizations and reconciliations.   

In deciding that an automated workflow was necessary, DCA then faced the challenge of how to help vendors through the transition when they themselves had only limited technical experience with EDI.

Solution   

DCA chose the UniLink Group, based on their customer-centric reputation, to begin setting up the IAC vendors who were best prepared to move to EDI. UniLink worked closely with each vendor and with DCA to implement an Infor SX.e solution. This two-pronged approach enabled UniLink to handle all of the technical installation details and complications while also teaching EDI fundamentals and common troubleshooting techniques to DCA staff.

Once the initial rollout was tested and operational, UniLink then incorporated EDI 810 Invoice transactions to accommodate the accounts payable processing for each distributor. This has since expanded to 855 PO Acknowledgement, 845 Price Authorization, 844 Rebate Claim, 849 Rebate Amount, plus the full suite of VMI.

Della Coffelt, the CIO for DCA, has a background in applications, so she always rates software companies on their level of support. “UniLink support has been tremendous—fast response, ability to help guide, answering questions—absolute high marks on all of that,” she says.

The goal for DCA is to have every capable vendor eventually converted to EDI. 

Results

Through automation, DCA has substantially reduced the time and effort necessary to process rebates and invoices. This not only improves cash flow but also allows a single DCA employee to finish the work that once occupied three people. Rebate money is received timely and accurately.

DCA has also used the knowledge gained from working with UniLink to add value to vendor relationships by assisting with basic EDI issues.

UniLink takes care of connecting new trading partners and fixes the more complex problems, which means DCA is able to add new vendors to EDI quickly and efficiently. At the same time, increasing the volume of invoices coming in has not led to a higher workload or expenses for DCA.

UniLink provides DCA with the confidence to move forward with the EDI solution knowing that any issues that arise are handled quickly and efficiently, which is appreciated not only by IAC but also by their vendors and customers.