Article: Approach for system and business process integration with EDI business partner along with the case study.
Summary: Article includes the case study for EDI integration helping companies to create system-to-system integration and seamless business processes.
Author: Kamal Dial
Created on: 18st September 2014.
Author Bio: Kamal is a Consultant at Infosys and has over 4.5 years of professional work experience as business process and domain consultant. He is engineering graduate from PEC Chandigarh and post graduate in Management from Symbiosis Pune. He would like to thank his team member Amerjit Singh Mann for his valuable contribution and guidance towards this implementation.
Introduction– EDI integration for seamless business process continuity.
Integration between different business processes within an organization and across organizations is very important for a successful SAP implementation. Integration includes interfacing with legacy systems, communicating with third party partners, and integrating business processes across different systems. EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) technology is used for integration which uses IDOC (Intermediate Document) interface for exchanging data between different systems. EDI provides business process integration across companies by exchanging business documents such as sales order, order confirmation, delivery notes, shipment notices, invoices in electronic form using industry standard formats such as ANSI X12 and EDIFACT.
Purpose: Purpose of this integration with EDI partner is to optimize the business process and improve overall efficiency by eradicating manual intervention in the current process.
Case study: This case study is about major agribusiness client having high volume business with third party EDI partner which involves exchanging information related to order management, order acknowledgment, availability, delivery, invoice. It required a B2B system integration using standardized communication process considering high transactional volume and inefficiencies in the current process.
As Is Business process
This B2B scenario involves exchange of various documents and information between business partners at different point of time. Usual steps involved as followed:
- Sales Order is placed by EDI business partner with sales representative executive of Agribusiness company using email as mode of communication.
- Data provided by EDI partner involves parameters like EAN code, Quantity required, sold to partner details, ship to address.
- Sales representative maps above provided information to SAP customer, material master data and proceeds with manual order creation in SAP system.
- Once order is saved, information related to availability, delivery date, order reference number and other parameters are sent back to EDI partner for confirmation.
- Similarly any change required in the order management is being handled via mail communication.
- Subsequent flow and information related to Delivery, invoice, and return process is also exchanged via mail.
Problem statement: This process has various drawbacks as below:
- Long processing cycle time due to human intervention and other dependencies involved.
- Error prone process.
- Highly inefficient and laborious due to manual effort involved.
- Cannot be tracked easily and lack of clear visibility in the process.
- Poor customer satisfaction due to delays and errors.
- Cost involved is high considering the manual work and human involvement at various steps.
- Involves redundant data entriesand tasks
Usage of SAP Process Integration which is a platform to provide a single point of integration without changing existing complex network of legacy systems. It’s a powerful middleware by SAP to provide seamless end to end integration between SAP and non-SAP applications inside and outside the corporate boundary.
TO BE Business process:
Automate process of order creation: Orders will be initiated by EDI partner directly which would flow to SAP system (of agribusiness company) via IDOCS.
Interface: Net weaver Process Orchestration provides process integration and business rules management to help companies create system-to-system integration and seamless business processes.
Order responses: The order confirmation will happen in SAP depending upon the availability of material and order response will send the information to EDI partner via IDOC after validation
Delivery, invoice– Other information and documents related to order changes, delivery, invoice will be also exchanged via IDOCS.
1. Order creation/ change order: For order creation/change setup partner details in SAP using transaction WE20-
- Creation of new partner profile under partner type (KU) i.e. customer.
- It involves configuring of inbound parameters like Message type, process code and mapping it with function module as per business requirement.
Technical changes involved in include – LVEDAF2U using enhancement spot in program SAPLVEDA to populate values in inbound IDOC using below mapping
- Mapping order type with SAP order types, partner number mapped using EDPAR table in SAP, material mapping using EAN code from IDOC and other parameters mapping like sales division, order reason and delivery block etc.
By default, order is created with predefined delivery block since it needs to be validated by sales representative before confirming back to EDI business partner. New customized order reason can be used to distinguish a normal order from an EDI order.
2. Order response used for sending order confirmation, outbound parameters are maintained for EDI partner in transaction code WE20.
Prerequisites before configuration outbound parameters are:
- Output type with V1 application needs to be created with required access sequence and assigned to output procedure in NACE transaction.
- Port creation (receiver port) in WE21 transaction code which is used transferring data needs to be created and configured.
- Creation of new directory in AL11 transaction code where IDOC will be placed.
Outbound parameter setup require below steps:
- Configuring outbound parameters like Message type, Message code, output mode.
- Receiver port created above needs to be configured here.
- Standard or customized IDOC basic type and extension to be used.
- Application (V1) is mapped with output type, process code and corresponding function module.
Technical changes: Requirement routine created to trigger the output only when delivery block is removed by sales representative executive after order validation. This routine is configured in output procedure itself
3. Delivery and invoice related information is being sent to EDI partner, for that outbound delivery/invoice based parameters needs to be configured in outbound parameters.
- Message type, message code
- IDOC basic type and extension needs to be configured.
- Creation of new output types for V2 /V3 application for mapping it with process code and function module.
- Receiving ports and directory creation.
4.Notification updates: Customized report is created to provide below information to sales service officers
- The list of the IDOCS (inbound/outbound) failed with the list of errors within this IDOC (unknown partner, unknown material, Division etc.).This enables them to take corrective actions.
- The list of the Sales orders successfully created – using this CS officers are able to confirm the sales order and release it for further processing.
- This program runs via batch job and sends output after every 15 minutes to key users/customer service officers.
Process and system Integration after implementation:
Automation and seamless integration of business processes achieved. Orders are triggered by EDI partner directly which would flow to SAP system (of agribusiness client) through IDOCS via SAP PI interface. Once confirmed and checked by sales representative executive, order response is being sent back to EDI business partner automatically. Delivery and invoice related information is also being sent to partner automatically using outbound IDOCS.
Key challenges involved:
- PI interface should be able to handle high volume due peak season to ensure stability and sustainability of the interface.
- Consistent and error free master data at the source. The goal is to avoid misaligned, erroneous data at the point of creation.
- Complete and accurate customer, material master data mapping and maintenance in SAP is required.
- To deliver the expected business result without any adverse impact on the system or any other existing order management process. This involves continuous program management between the business organizations.
- Continuous monitoring of the interface after go-live to ensure seamless business process and system integration.
- Failure Notifications and success updates should be sent instantly to end users without any delay so appropriate action can be taken up immediately.
- Error handling process to reprocess failed updates and IDOCS to resolve issues.
- User training and guidelines to be provided to adapt new ways of working and business process.
- Automation in order management, Delivery, invoice information exchange with third party EDI partner.
- Enhanced visibility and transparency in the overall process.
- Reduced overall cycle time with system and business process integration.
- Increasing efficiency of the business process and customer satisfaction with decreased overall lead
- Cost effective solution and process automation.
- Enhanced business process with reduction in the processing time.
- Reliable and better- delivery plans with correct scheduling arrangements due to automation.
- Reduction in manual work and effort savings.
- Customer satisfaction leading to repeat customer sales.
- Increase in overall sales and cost optimization.
- Post implementation it is required to maintain complete and error free master data, appropriate mapping is also required in production environment.
- Implementation of new Z program to provide list of the failed IDOCS with the list of errors (unknown partner, wrong material, missing data etc.).Report also provides list of sales orders which are successfully created via inbound IDOCS. Using SAP batch job, this information is provided to relevant business stakeholders and functional support team.
- Adequate training for the end key users to adapt new ways of working and business process.
- EDI -Electronic Data Interchange.
- IDOC- Intermediate Document.
- ANSI X12 -American National Standards Institute.
- EDIFACT- Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport.