Is Data relevant in Hospitality Industry?

You bet!

While we work on multiple projects daily, it is a fact that handling the data can become a matter of concern regardless of any industry.

So, why not have your own Management Application?

Nothing new! But never getting old…

In this case, our newest client – a Hotelier and Restaurateur that certainly has many things to handle each and every day. Watching prospects looking for the perfect ambience at his Restaurant to handling bookings at the Hotel are undoubtedly tedious jobs.

The owner needed an application for smooth running of his Business. His customers and their satisfactions are his top priority. He makes a few but important decisions. And that is when he thought of approaching us such that every little detail can be managed perfectly based on a key decision and lots of available data. Great decision to engage us!

Where do we start!!!

Now, we at dataZen Engineering do not provide something which has already been done before since the beginning of time and with similar formulas. If it is already there, we research and point out to our clients.

However, we are Flexible!

Tell us how you like it and we deliver. Started with the baby steps – understanding their requirements and problems they are facing without a dedicated system in the management. Undoubtedly, they have an impeccable staff working for them but human errors are one of the many things which presents unannounced. If you’re doing bits of this and that there is only a chance of unnoticed mistakes. Implementing a structural framework imparts par excellence to a job.

So, now it’s time to get into Action…

The first thing needed to be done was to sort out Hotel and Restaurant accounts for different transactions. Sort this out! Sort that out! Manage and distribute all the transactions to definite accounts. Keep note of each inflow and outflow. Most importantly, be in touch with all the Customers and Guests; receive feedbacks and criticisms. Considering all the factors, we finally came up with the algorithm to be implemented. But is that all? That perfect at once? That is all they wanted?

Speak now or forever hold your silence… Mmmm!!! Not with us.

Ask questions. Find solutions. Active interaction never failed anyone. Have doubts? Speak up! It’s the only way to find that unbeatable solution.

Modifications and edits only make things better. They had new ideas for themselves and we had better ways of executing them. And when we combined them, the results were an unraveled blend. We are ear to any improvements. Hence, giving them and all our Clients the best of the best which suits their entire requirement is the sole goal we have while creating an application. dataZen Engineering’s mission is innovate, innovate and innovate!

Why was it so Important, you ask?

Information comes in ubiquitously. And, nobody wants valuable Information to be lost. You pay for something and you want its worth in return. That is exactly why it was so important. Customer satisfaction is the greatest reward and nobody wants to ravage that. And it’s all attained when we on our part make sure to keep every detail sorted out.

For them, they had to keep in order the day people checked in and out, whether they were taken care of during the stay, whether each and every request fulfilled and whether everything was in place and reachable to the Customers. They had to make sure that they were present at all times for their Guests and they could only do it when they keep an account of each and every detail of every individual.

And same goes for us too. We promised on giving them a System tied with a process easy to use. And delivered as said! We are Transparent and everything we are about to give you is happening right in front of your eyes.

The owner quotes… “Thank you for making my work so much easier. I almost forgot this was my passion because of all the time consumed in sorting out issues. I wish I had approached you guys earlier. Glad I did now.”

And Happy Customers is all we want.

Is Data Indispensable for Retail Industry?

Let’s see what the Retailer themselves opinionate about it. However first, what influence does Data actually make in your Life?

It’s quite simple! From the time your Alarm goes OFF in the Morning to the time you put it ON the Night before, you are surrounded by Data which are little bits of Information all over. But it is downright impossible for any human to consume all the Information and process it at the necessitated time, especially if you are considering a purchase decision for everyday use.

Importance of Data in Retail  

Let’s talk about how a business that deals with its customers face to face and relationship to Data. Some mastered it better than others. Promotions were involved presented via brochures, handouts, direct mail, catalogs, trade shows, channel publications etc. The data you seldom provided were the most valuable asset for them.

Today, Data is the retail industry landscape changer since consumers began to research and buy products online.  It is now part of any business decisions: a valuable commodity.


A new term has evolved called e-tailer. This is generally towards growth, a competitive advantage for improved item availability, buy, pick-up or delivered, return anywhere for a unified customer experience. However evinced, time and again an improved execution warrants good Data. Better inventory control with enhanced cost control so to speak.

Then comes promoting products and services now for the NEW – The Digital Customer

Examples of Raw Data needed for e-Commerce Digital experience included pricing, logistical and technical information. Essential value proposition includes: WHAT – Find and aggregate Data from multiple sources of truth, HOW – Speed up Data aggregation with simple tools in real time and WHY – It is for this very new consumers whether buy online and get delivered, picked up at the store or some location with access code at a floor space in close proximity.

It is more of selling your Data about your products and Services than the product itself. You want to keep track of your sales, your profit and loss, information on units of the products and account details involving all your Business Transactions; Data is involved through and through. Yes, including supply chain and all the associated intricacies involved with it comply as factors.

Be it large transactions, partnerships, advertisements or even promotions… Data plays a huge role whatsoever. Industries of all sizes realize that Data Loss is an information loss. Whether it be a humungous record or the tiniest information, everything has an importance when it comes to running a successful business.

Thought about what Omni-Channel Retail really mean?

It is actually a cross channel Data, which content approach businesses are starting to leverage for their customer or user experience. All aspects of the channel work in tandem to cooperate. And in return businesses have a direct relationship with a consumer.

For example: you can find a particular brand in various websites and applications via which you can make a purchase. That’s good but not good enough, right? We want a detailed knowledge about the specification of the product or its service. And we want ourselves to be heard in case we want to share any opinion on it. And that is exactly what Unified Commerce World brings to us – Full Transparency. Not only has it a dedicated web presence but it can be approached from anywhere, anytime. Now, that’s Data in work behind the scene whether it is a traditional Database system approach or with more sophisticated like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

E-tailers have comparatively grown in modern days and they are successfully running their operations since they have a committed line to their customers. They receive raw Data and utilize it in various forms be it in their advertising, publications or simply sending a dedicated thank you note.


Hands down it is the Customer Satisfaction!

According to a Survey held in 2016 by BRP (Boston Retail Partners), Unified Commerce prioritizes Customer Feedback the most; the outcome being that majority of the Retailers plans to implement a Unified Commerce platform by the end of 2019.

Now that’s Awesome!!!

You and I can now directly be involved in any purchasing affair we take part in. Our Feedback will be valued and as time goes by results will only get better. Again, undoubtedly it is the Data that clearly drives all this.

However it will only happen when our Feedbacks receive a Retroaction and that action or response in turn will only materialize when proper Data management is involved. Keeping a record of Customer Feedbacks and taking requisite actions will lead to a better and Prospering Retail marketplace. Believe it or not, the new digital customer more often than none reads the response to a customer satisfaction or dis-satisfaction as part of his/her purchase decision.

Tracking out any particular information in time takes up a lot of effort and initiatives. Our brains can process almost 400 Billion Bits of Information per second but then we are just average people doing day to day activities every second too. Just imagine our Brains working every fraction of a second without stopping for once to deal with this massive amount of Data.

So, let’s not put ourselves into merciless conditions and rather take help of one of the Brilliant Inventions of a Human Brain. Babbage gave us the Computers; Alan Shugart gifted us Storage Devices. Store away bits of Information you get lawfully with consent and it’ll certainly prove fruitful someday.  And these Important Information forms the basis of Data that drives everything in any industry. Considering these aspects, one can only conclude that we can see significant importance of Data in retail from a brick and mortar to unified commerce. With the help of many technology options to choose from, go ahead by taking your Retail Business to the Peak and Zenith.

Data as a must currency to invest instead!  

Flying through the Clouds…

Wish you could do that to your business? Well, sure you can!!!


When you’re getting more than you expected, there’s no limit of your satisfaction and happiness. You’re on Cloud Nine.

Likewise, when a fast growing Transport Company in Asia approached us to handle all their hassle for data management, we stepped in right away. Why? They wanted to focus on their core business of moving…hmm… stuff and technology was getting on the way. Now with all the technological advancements all over, we had to come up with an up and up unfaltering strategy. We had to offer the best.


A-team on the job!!!

Customer required a complete new application with an improved process to perform everything from end-to-end. It was like putting all their wishes together to form a potion. Our brilliant minds came together with their unexcelled ideas to fulfill our client’s demands. What do we call that? Did someone say “Innovation”?

So let the magic begin..!!

But hey! Thought of the data backup to keep all the data secure?” Came along the voice in our heads and so did in theirs. And we were ready to answer.

Lo and behold!

dataZen Engineering’s proven technology on Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform come for the rescue. Sure there are multiple other platforms but Microsoft still stands as one of the strongest, reliable and really easy to start with. Besides, they were on Windows. Now, we don’t ever want to run on the conditions others provide but have our own. Ipso facto, gives you the freedom of choice. Keep it, share it – it’s all up to you.


Transport companies necessarily have a huge workforce since they have a diverse amount of utterly complicated and sometimes crazy situations. This implies the ample amount of data they needed to handle on a day-to-day basis.

Now, Can you imagine the extensive volume of data they deal with? Data makes or breaks any business esp. the one who is on steroid that we are dealing with and because if you play with data, you play with fire.

Fast forward just a few months, today they have indefinite control over their data; whenever wherever they like. They have real time access to all their records and transactions from any device, which was not possible earlier without our cloud based application.



And we can say that, because they are worry free and handling their business with an ease. They do not have a constant fear of data loss, data wavering or Plagiarism. If that’s not satisfaction, what can be?

You have weighty heads filled with distress and dissatisfaction and you’re not being able to be resourceful, it’s time to drain out that pressure off your heads.

And this Transport Team surely did that and Flying to their top-notch limits!!!

“In dataZen Engineering we found the best partnership one can imagine handling our logistical and ever present financial data”, writes the CEO.

AND, we ask…”Sir, how was your flight today?”

“Are you kidding me? I am in cloud nine. Terrific !!!”

Is it worth investing our time in small businesses?


According to Tech Media and how various industries are heading in the year 2018, it sure points in that direction!

Haven’t it always been the best thing in the world to get recognized in the first place? It is always good news when you know you are chosen and trusted among the thousands out there. In today’s world, from a big business to the smallest, desire to have a business process drive technology is a challenge. Of course, with the advent of Google God finding a technology is not a challenge anymore though. Even a six grader knows what to type in Google for his or her need including speaking to the technology.

Example: Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Amazon Alexa eliminated multiplication manually. “Alexa, what is the answer for 22 times 22?”  …then play “Play Helpless, Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda”.  Alexa answers 484 and the Broadway music soon after…

Easy enough, right?

That is technology at play. Now think from a real-world scenario where we need to bring on the table that differentiates us from others when we help drive improving business processes with technology.

We need to provide a rock solid, agile platform highlighting business processes first before technology:

  • A suitable Application managing all the Data without error.
  • Eliminating manual labor and including smart technology.
  • Retrieving data till present and eliminating the fear of losing any of it ever.

The question that pops up now is…

Is dataZen Engineering providing them?

Without a doubt!

When a growing Transport Company approached us to help them manage their data, our data management strategy team jumped on to help. Giving them a secured, organized and easy to maintain platform became our prime motive. But, we learned their business process first.

Now how we do it???

By putting the left side of our Brain to work at first!

That is our solutions experts orchestrating like busy bees, gathering critical business information to make the best out of it, presenting the backbone of the application with ready to use technology infrastructure. In essence, bringing that wealth of experience to them, i.e., focus on THAT small business.

Then the Right side of the Brain to assist!

Creativity! Creativity! Creativity!

Making the application flow intuitively, presentable and understandable for everyone at the Customer became our priority.

Therefore, having the Application Engine ready, we needed the oil. Remember, Data is the New Oil!

But will the data last forever? Can it be retrieved when needed? Are they getting their data in a safe place?


Hence, we partnered with Microsoft Azure. Could we have selected Amazon AWS? Sure. But as we all know corporates including small businesses rely on Microsoft tools and means, at least for the foreseeable future. We don’t want technology to drive business processes. Rather the other way around meaning business processes must drive technology to be used.

No worries handling the data whatsoever. Always having secured and reliable storage space will definitely reduce the wrinkly foreheads always worrying about data loss. dataZen Engineering will provide you the best of the services and take away your fuss!! We have surely added to our tremendous assets with this Project!!!

We are back on a growth spurt since 2nd Quarter 2017 but…


In the last 3-5 years we wrote some amazing software applications for the machine tool industry including writing for some of the world’s best brands in the manufacturing arena – from Automotive to Aerospace across North America and a few in Australia. Asia Pacific is hot but slow.

Are these applications complex? Yes they are. Do we continue to write these complex machine tool applications? A big NO for the moment. Why?

Well, this is contingent on many factors. 1) Upon speaking with Industry Veterans, many of them answered somewhat this way; “We just don’t see much demand for 3rd party CNC software in the machine tool marketplace. With shrinking margins, that nice-to-have stuff is always first to get cut”, 2) Though we generated some demands through the channel network, it wasn’t enough to pay the bills and 3) The 80-20 rule finally was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In a nutshell, we were spending 80% of our time writing amazing and complex applications to generate about 20% of our revenue. Are we calling it Quit? Well, no. Just gave a new home called Some of our machine tool applications might go there to die. We will see…

Nothing is wrong with the machine tool applications in general. If anyone is getting rich writing these applications – good for them. Something new called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) but again – show me the money, right?

There are pundits still not convinced that manufacturers in North America are all on-board besides GEs of the world. Well, they are few and far between for sure. If you don’t believe, just visit a small to mid-size manufacturing shop in the United States or Canada – folks at the shop floor still struggles with computers in general and let alone a connectivity that is warranted for “IIoT”. Our company and others in the community tried educating, showing IIoT but figured we must first show them networking. At least they will get the benefit of connected equipment and load their programs from a computer in the network. But then these small to mid-size manufacturers are struggling with budget cuts and often compete with low cost overseas shops that many a time flood the market. It is a sad story, but true.

We have bills like everyone else. We have to keep the lights on, again, like everyone else. So, what did we do?


First and foremost, we had to defend existing income. Remember the 80-20 rule? Then, learned to do one thing well – not many things hoping one will work. Began reaching out to other potential growth opportunities to identify near term demand and finally re-train and re-balance headcounts not engaged in sales growth or direct customer product support and most importantly servicing of existing contracts. Create list of non-essential operational expenses: (phone/internet/service providers, etc.) to reduce operating expenses. Sell non-essential business assets (office furniture / unused equipment / electronic gears, etc.). Downsize. Again downsize doesn’t mean fold. It meant regroup when and where possible, know your strength, capitalize and focus. Rewarded the teams, individuals who are result oriented but compassionate at the same time. Encouraged diversity across the board. Implemented SWOT.


Our focus turned to our core forte i.e., Data Services Business, which we jointly determined to have more apparent upsides. Fine tune In-house confidence & acquire knowledge of industry as a whole. No more commodity price constraints for products offered. Understand and leverage data for profit as a highly sought after trend.


With renewed focus, our pitch is simple. 1) Market – what is the market we are after, 2) Team – do we have the team to do the job? And 3) Products & Services – what are we capable to offer? With that we began to focus on our Business Vision to be an innovative provider of decision support software & services that helps our customers manage, grow their business by transforming DATA into useful and actionable information. Our focus is on the companies who need help Consolidating, Organizing and Sharing their offer data. Check this out.

Most importantly, we focused to take care of our existing customers. Provide them our best minds and capabilities before going after new prospects. Additionally, we defined and executed simple business model for growth based on: 1) Industry Data Assessments & Proof-of-Concepts that is relevant to their business processes, 2) Offer Data Services and Content Management expertise and 3) Leverage Global Operational model for competitive advantage. Check this out.

Then we started building with proven technologies, use open source when and where needed. Our data experts helped provide accurate and timely product data with tiered pricing resulting in perfect orders, fewer restocking charges, reduced inventory and higher customer satisfaction. Just outright quality work.


In 6-Six months ending in 4th Quarter 2017, we fired all our cylinders and ended the year beating all expectations and with the best year since starting of our company back in 2008. Yes, we will be celebrating our 10th Year Anniversary in February 2018 in 3 world class cities where we operate from!

Thank you to all our Well-wishers!

[It is true that Success is a journey and not a Destination. We have a long way to go but we are confident that our sense of agility will serve us and most importantly our customers well. No, we are not looking for funding. Thank you for all the offers though! Yes, we will be hiring and take advantage of the US Tax Plan approved in December 2017]

Data standards?

Product data standards? Which ones? What’s a GDSN?

If you’re doing business electronically you know that compliance with on-line data standards is necessary to get in the game.  For example, if you’re an EDI shop, then you know about “standards” like ANSI X12 that help trading partners “speak the same language” when exchanging EDI documents on-line.  EDI paired with a leased line or VAN provides a highly secure and available means of doing transactional business.  Unfortunately, only about 2% of companies decide to invest in EDI and ANSI isn’t the only game in town when it comes to data standards.

Enter the e-selling experience on the internet and the proliferation of data standards that can be downright overwhelming.   In the early internet days of ecommerce, there was fear and resistance that data standards would only hasten the commoditization of a company’s products. The worry was that price would become the ONLY thing that mattered to the web consumer.  Many companies were reluctant to serve up structured product data fearing that it would allow a web shopper to “compare” their products to the competition.  Some companies chose not to include pricing.  Sadly, that practice didn’t work because price is a critical element in the customer’s selection and ordering decision process.   Lastly, some just hoped that the world of paper would somehow prevail.  Sadly, we all know what happened to the JC Penney and Sears catalogs.

Welcome to today’s omni-channel and the normalization and synchronization of everything for the web.  Bottom line, like it or not, if your product data isn’t suitable for the digital marketplace together with prices, photos and other mandatory “standard” attributes needed for selling through channel partners or direct, you are pretty much out of the game.

EDI processes aside, product data standards for the internet is where things get tricky.  Navigating the world of product data standards from GS1, EClass , ETIM, UNSPSC are acronyms that take some getting used to.  These standards organizations are all presumably helping to simplify the on-line digital experience for consumers / buyers.   And, the value proposition for each one is pretty much the same; by aligning your product data with these standards, you will save money.  Really?

Remember the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) which changed its name to 1Sync to presumably get better brand recognition in light of the “synchronization and normalization” buzz phrase for product data?   It’s not bad to be GS1 or UNSPSC compliant, but just like EDI, there are costs involved in getting there.  More importantly, understanding which standards affect your company and industry takes some digging.  Fortunately, there are folks like us around that have been down this road before.  If you need a little help, we can help you speed up the process.  We’d love to hear from you.

Next, what about standards for other non-data stuff like product photos, videos, drawings, etc.?  More about (DAM) Digital Asset Management standards later.

Have you been part of a new Product Launch?

Inspired by overwhelming response on our blogs, we decided to share some things about product launch processes as it relates to the supply chain in the electrical industry. Sure, your situation could be unique…

First question is – who in the heck launches products in a big manufacturing company for consumption to their trading partners?. Well, not tied to 1-one individual. Think of a consortium of Product Managers, Engineers, Plant Managers, Master Schedulers, Finance Controllers, Analysts, and finally Customer Service.

Yes, believe it or not customer service is a major component. No wonder why some companies do not do well in the long run when doing cost cutting and outsourcing their customer service.

These are some high level steps to consider to get basic data for stocked and non-stocked products for Trading Partner’s consumption when a new product is launched.

Step 1: Product Managers coordinates team consisting of Customer Service, Engineering, Manufacturing Managers, Finance Controller/Analyst, Master Scheduler, Plant personals and Product Information in light of a product launch process

Step 2: Product Management contacts Customer Service and requests that a product be profiled and loaded into their Legacy or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system – homegrown or store bought!
Customer Service is supplied with all the required information to load product profiles into such a system

Step 3: Customer Service uploads these to ERP to create the product profiles. Profiles are initially coded with a specific indicator also called Authorization code to differentiate a product being launched OR a product that is already launched for sale. This also prevents trading partners ordering a yet-to-be-launched product erroneously. Example could be “XX” for products being launched and “YY” for previously launched products and ready for receiving order.

Step 4: After product profiles are loaded into ERP system, generally it takes a certain amount of time to further create its GTIN, commercial reference, SKU, catalog number or part number in the repository. Have you ever searched for a part number in Amazon to see whether you need a replacement?

Step 5: Customer Service advises product launch team when products are loaded and available in the system with a marker “XX”

Step 6: Product Launch team then works with several people in the company:
a) Create or determine whether a product is going to be a standard product or a configured product based on forecasting data
b) Engineering to create Bill of Materials (BOM), Routing and Revision (Versioning). Once completed then Costing is determined in order to release in the ERP system
c) For Stocked products, a workflow is needed and created. Separate templates are invoked for legacy and ERP systems that are required by manufacturing plants to fill out including ordering information. Again, working with Customer Service
d) Warehouse team sets up products to be stocked in specific location or distribution centers
e) Product Information team fills in the blank for certain Industry specific information such as United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) depending on the product line, provide marketing materials and specific trading partner desired data points

Step 7: When the information about product is completed then marketing contacts Customer Service to change the XX indicator to YY in order to designate the products are now release for sale

Step 8: Product Launch team now archives the entire process with data in a secured repository or a content management system for legal and record retention

The big question is how long it generally takes? Again, it depends.

Let’s say all of the above steps are done in a timely manner. How long it takes AFTER to have these products in trading partner’s lap? Well, in most well-oiled manufacturing companies this process takes several weeks if not months. Again after getting all the data accumulated by the Product Launch Team.

However, dataZen Engineering guarantees the data to be in trading partners lap within 2-Two weeks from the date the data is accumulated following our Legendary Quality Assurance processes supporting the entire end-to-end data flow.

An example of data points:

How a conglomerate that makes equipment for the aerospace and building industries eliminates Non-Productive Activity… ahh, scanning a Barcode???


With a market cap of $115B, one of the world’s largest aircraft engine manufacturers bought state-of-the-art CNC machines with OSP 300 controls installed to cut very complex and intricate parts that go into aircraft engines.

Let us tell you a little about what in the heck are OSP 300 controls. Well, Okuma makes one of the best Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines in the world. They recently opened a factory of the future called “DS2” – Dream factory in Japan that is every bit of a smart factory. Now the CNCs we are talking about are very advanced 5 Axis milling beasts. For instance, it takes a concrete maker expert to level it where it is supposed to be installed. These are certainly not for the typical job shops. The ones we are talking about are called MU8000 Vertical Machining Centers. The control on them called OSP 300 is also built by Okuma. The Numerical Control software on them runs on MS windows and that’s where we come in. Gotta love these OSP 300 controls!

So, like any other manufacturing plant in the world, these very advanced machines need highly skilled machine operators. They are not your typical Joe Blow. Again, they are Skilled Machinists. It is a joy to watch them operate these machines in real time.

We don’t want these machinist having to waste time poking around in MS Windows, do we? They are there to run these amazing engineering marvels and not learn MS Windows. They need to be able to load a part into the chuck of the machine, close door, find the right CNC part program, select and load it and finally hit cycle start. Of course, there is more to that right? Like where do they find the part program, who gave them to run, which specific part program, are there any sub-programs associated or call outs, what if the part program needs to be edited for correction? The final result is that a CNC Machine cuts the expensive part and out comes a shiny new thing that eventually goes into an aircraft engine. Amazing huh!

Now, here’s where dataZen Engineering comes in. Inspired by these highly skilled machinists and their process challenges, we came up with a better idea. Goal was to allow these CNC machinists on the 5-axis machines to work even more efficiently.

What and how???

For instance these ultra modern CNC machines are capable of connecting to their Automation Local Area Network (LAN).  Leveraging the LAN, we kept the CNC Part Programs securely stored on a network server, not on the control itself. Security is a critical business driver for this. Next, we wrote an application that scans the operator’s badge#, pulls out the appropriate part program(s), sub-programs etc. from the secured automation network, applies validation, and loads them directly into the CNC machine showing various colors for status of the part program that was scanned – Red (couldn’t find or load), Yellow (searching in the vast connected network) and Green (found to select and load) and ready for the operator to hit Cycle Start. Amazing huh? This is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in action where Humans and devices are connected through technology and a process.

Now if the operator steps away momentarily then guess what happens? The HMI screen of the CNC machine goes into an automatic lock mode. Meaning no one else other than the assigned CNC machine operator can unlock and kick-off the operation again.

dataZen Engineering’s application, called P-SCANNER provided a highly skilled machinist with the ability to scan a barcode from a manufacturing order (MO) or a Traveller and load the associated part program automatically either from local machine folder or from over the network. When the barcode is successfully scanned, the associated program details are populated on the screen in color codes and ready for the operator to hit the cycle start!

Did we eliminate some non-productive time? You bet we did.

Learn more about our productivity platform for the shop floor Learn More

Okay, you implemented SAP. Awesome. But how do you get a simple list of active products from SAP?

In SAP or any other packaged ERP solutions a “Plant” can be a manufacturing location or a distribution center(DC). So output for each plant or DC will generally be a separate record. Guess what that is like multiple records for each product, right?. Well, okay. That is good from a SAP perspective but not good enough for catering data to supply chain network or partner network and in a certain interval.

Lets start with how do you eliminate these duplicate records?

So, essentially to eliminate duplicate records, we will need to write some logic to pull the data records in a certain order so there is only one unique record per product in the output.
DC 1 (Location 1)
DC 2 (Location 2) for items not stocked in DC 1
DC 3 (Location 3) for items not stocked in DC 1 or DC 2
Country specific Primary Manufacturing Plant if not stocked in any of these DCs.
On top, you may exclude certain other location etc. etc.

The first step is to review the list of products that are in scope or rather SHOULD BE in scope and whether they are for retail or channel. Then go the route of Plant or DC specific in SAP.

Ya Ya Ya… but remember we need other information as well. How about extended or enriched descriptions, marketing features and benefits. Those are not in SAP. Should they be? We don’t know… it depends on your business and how it is setup. More importantly how much money you dropped to implement SAP as vanilla or with a lot of customization.

This is where you need an expert who has to BUILD the above logic for you based on the gazillion business rules that are available in SAP or otherwise.

Got it. Well, your trading partners still needs the data in a certain frequency. What’s that?

SAP or other ERP systems generally has a way to automate the logic, the layout AND the frequency of delivery including the format associated. Text, CSV, XML (ooohh!) and certainly NOT MS Excel. If you want MS Excel then just hire a temp perhaps to keep an eye for the generated file above in a specific area of SAP, grab it, use their amazing MS Excel skills. I am sure they would wow you with Pivot table concepts.

Anyways, that someone would have to get the file and save to their local PC (hopefully not a MAC!) in the format needed and then manually push it…hmm…FTP out to a certain server! Really??? Don’t we have bots these days?

Well, just email dataZen Engineering… we will do this for you by applying some technology we learned over the years. I wish we could say free. Its some work but not a whole lot. We do need to work with your ERP technical consultants though. Functional consultants will beat around the bush so to speak!

Once setup though, you can forget about it until a new business rule or process is created. Yes, you get to launch your NEW products for Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc.

(Check out our blog on GDSN soon. Whatever the heck that means!)

How do you conduct a Price Increase process in a supply chain?

In the electrical industry supply chain it is important for the manufacturer to provide product and pricing data well in advance for the electronic commerce of the business. That means the future effective prices are to be supplied at least 45 – 60 days in advance to the channel partners i.e., industrial distributors like Grainger, Graybar, etc. for planning and stocking purposes and the retail powerhouses like Home Depot, Lowes, Menards etc.

What about including any product obsolescence to the mix? Say a certain line of products have a newer product release that replaced the older ones. How do you communicate the cross reference from the old to the new ones? Is it based on form, fit and functions or a direct replacement? How do you ensure to maintain the data integrity all the way until the data is ingested in the down stream processes?

dataZen Engineering created an unique system and a process. We worked with the manufacturer’s product Information and pricing teams along with the associated data exchange pools to schedule & implement future pricing data well in advance. And, communicate any product obsolescence. When the future prices are effective, dataZen Engineering automatically notifies the distributors via data exchange pools of a price change on the effective date on time and before schedule. That also includes communicating effectively and technically to the retail power houses.

How do we do that? Well, first we focus on the process as it exists today. Then we looked for process improvements and finally simplified the process using the right technology. Again, it is the process that comes first and technology later.