Outsourcing halves EDI bill for Farne Salmon and Trout

Farne Salmon and Trout, a £60m-a-year fresh fish supplier, has cut its Electronic Data Interchange costs by half following a switch from an in-house, standalone system to an outsourced service.

Farne Salmon and Trout, a £60m-a-year fresh fish supplier, has cut its EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) costs by half following a switch from an in-house, standalone system to an outsourced service.

The six-man company, based in Duns, Scotland, is using a service from network supplier Innovisworks to accept orders electronically from companies including Tesco, Delhaize (Belgium) and Labeyrie (France).

Jacques Jean-Paul, Farne Salmon and Trout's IT project manager, said the company deals with 21 suppliers, including trawlermen, and about 10 large European retailers who need fresh fish daily.

Switching to Innovisworks has given Jean-Paul more time to attend to other IT projects. The old system required him to be constantly upgrading it to keep up with customers' demands. "Now all that format translation and protocol work is taken care of," he said.

Farne Salmon and Trout had little choice about using EDI. "It is the way our customers do business," said Jean-Paul. "If we hadn't done it, we would have lost them."

Farne Salmon and Trout is on a flat-rate deal with Innovisworks, which fixes its monthly cost for EDI transactions, making it easier to budget, Jean-Paul said. In addition to freeing his time, it has also cut the annual EDI bill from around £6,500 to around £3,500.

With tons of fresh fish at stake, Farne Salmon and Trout needs reliable systems. "The network hasn't stopped once, so we are very happy," Jen-Paul said. But he hasn't thrown out his fax machine, just in case.

Now that the orders are working well, Jean-Paul plans to add confirmation of delivery documents, which will tie into the electronic invoicing system so that the firm can get paid online.

Farne Salmon and Trout receives preliminary orders daily at around 6am and confirmed orders at 2pm for delivery the following day, Jean-Paul said. Tesco uses up to 12 depots, but the other firms have a single delivery point, said Jean-Paul. The final orders and deliveries can therefore become quite complicated. "It's every day, five days a week," he said.

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