Wholesaler delivery processes are mostly digitized nowadays – from online order forms to warehouse planning and logistics, right through to billing by means of an ERP system. Communication with suppliers and manufacturers is also usually completely automated using electronic data interchange (EDI). Although digitization has advanced greatly on the wholesaler side, this is not necessarily the case for their customers.
Unwanted media and integration disruption
Particularly in the ordering process, there is inevitably some unwanted media and integration disruption. Many retailers simply do not have the technical capability and financial means to transmit data in a structured way. As a result, they use template-based paper order forms or unstructured electronic documents. Wholesalers receive these via fax, email or by post. Entering such orders manually in an ERP system is always time-consuming for employees. Furthermore, this process is extremely prone to errors and automated content checks are seldom carried out.
Retarus EDI Cloud Services offer automatic text recognition (OCR of faxes or emails)
Retarus EDI Cloud Services can facilitate the automation of manual order processes to a significant extent. Even forms that are filled out by hand pose no barrier — regardless of whether they are sent by fax or scanned and attached to an email. Once the Retarus data center receives the order, a powerful automatic text recognition reader (OCR engine) reads the form, capturing not only the plain text, but also the layout of the form and other elements of the document. It quickly reads and processes faxes with OCR. Thanks to the wholesaler’s catalog data and master data, which is stored in the system and continuously synchronized through EDI, order information can be checked for content and assigned. Retarus then forwards all of the validated data in the required format together with the original document to the ERP system.
Manual processing in ERP if necessary
If certain details on an order cannot be interpreted, e.g. when reading faxes with OCR, because the handwriting is illegible, the corresponding EDI documents are flagged as blocked, which instantly makes it visible in the ERP system that manual processing is necessary. At the same time, the responsible customer service employee is forwarded the original order form in which all unreadable text and areas requiring verification are clearly marked.