Larsen had about 12 months to implement EDI, and integrate it smoothly into the current Morningstar system.
Morningstar had two software systems: Blue Link ERP accounting, and QLogiTek. Working with QLogiTek’s software system meant they didn’t immediately need a link to the accounting system.
“We could go online and ‘fake’ EDI so to speak – but there was no link between our two systems.”
Invoices would be received through Blue Link, and then would have to be manually entered into QLogitek’s system. That had worked for a while, but then as distributors, including HMV, doubled their business with Morningstar, it became increasingly cumbersome. In addition, the extra work from the Wal-Mart contract would only add to the manual labour costs – and the time delays.
Larsen went to Blue Link with an urgent request to get the EDI implementation done – and get it done now!
The cost of the EDI system was not the overriding factor for Larsen. For him, factors such as dealing with a local company, and having accessible customer service were more important.
When Larsen initially approached Blue Link for an accounting system it was because of certain important factors: they were a local company in Ontario, and had good customer service – “everyone I called had nothing but good things to say about them.”
When he considered dealing with other companies, Larsen says he found he was always dealing with resellers – “if there was a problem, I had to call the company – and that could be anywhere, the mid-West, India…I didn’t feel comfortable. I want to know that when I have a problem I can get in touch with someone fairly quickly.” Larsen had considered one other company, from California. But he found that although the representative was in New York and flew into Toronto every couple of weeks –”… if I had an emergency which couldn’t be fixed remotely, then I had to pay to fly the guy from California.”
So, having used Blue Link for Morningstar’s initial accounting needs – and been satisfied with the product and the customer service – Larsen decided to call Blue Link for their solution to his EDI problem.
He found that they were working with Virtual Logistics to develop an Integration Manager (IM) module. In Morningstar’s case, IM meant that information could be transferred from Blue Link into a string that Virtual Logistics could use to transfer into HMV’s, or Costco’s, accounting system.
With EDI, the company could electronically and automatically generate orders, make order modifications, generate confirmations, and produce invoices.
It took about six months for the EDI system to be implemented to where it was running properly without any major problems. Because of the need for customization, there was a lot of back and forth conversations with the integration manager.
One element that Larsen would like to have with the EDI module is reports. He would appreciate being able to get daily reports by date and order number, and then follow up manually if necessary: “What went through the system, what did we send. Everything is about reports. Just for my comfort level, I’d be really happy.”
Larsen, however, acknowledges that the EDI system from Blue Link can include modules for reporting, at additional cost. He decided not to order that module – but now says, “I wish I had included it.”