Inventor switches EDI, reducing order management from hours to minutes while adding control and visibility

  • INDUSTRY

  • Housewares, Kids, Food

  • PROBLEM

  • Time-consuming EDI, Repeatedly entering data, Order errors

“Their EDI software is easy to use, fast, and error-free, and their customer service is fantastic. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

The Company: Zipzicle

Every entrepreneur has her inspiration. For Zipzicle® zip-top ice pop pouches founder Shawna Palmer, it was her son. “Luke has food allergies, which made school parties and other gatherings a challenge,” she recalled. “We are a family who often looks at things and thinks, how could I make this better? We came up with the zip-top ice pop pouch idea so we could control the ingredients, and also create a portable fun snack that all Luke’s friends would want to share as well.”
Zipzicles might have stopped there – as a personal solution to a family problem – if Luke had not pushed the envelope. Shawna remembers how on almost a daily basis, Luke would come home and ask, “Hey mom… when are we going to work on our company?” Although she had a high profile and demanding position as a pediatric neuropsychologist, Shawna agreed to give it a go. And it’s a good thing she did.
Turns out Luke was not the only one who needed a fun and healthy snack that all kids could enjoy. The day Shawna launched the Zipzicles website in May of 2013, it received hundreds of hits—with no SEO. “There was a real gap to fill, and real demand,” Shawna recalled. She received email after email from parents and kids thanking her for coming up with the idea. After school, she and her family would spend time filling hundreds of orders to individual customers, and soon big retailers showed interest as well. It wasn’t long before Shawna found herself transitioning from her career responsibilities to working as a full time inventor and entrepreneur.

Good News: Big Retail Orders, Bad News: Clumsy EDI

When Shawna began filling orders for Bed Bath and Beyond, she had her first encounter with EDI—and it wasn’t a pretty one. “The EDI solution I was using was extremely time consuming,” she explained. “The process took multiple steps. For example, first I had to wait for the EDI company to provide me with an Excel document that contained the purchase order information. Then I had to upload the documents into shipping platforms. The process had to be repeated back to the EDI company who would then send information back to my retailers. This not only took a lot of time, it opened the door for errors. In addition, any PO changes were 100% manual. I had no visibility into what was going on with the trading process in real time, and no control.”

An Entrepreneurial EDI Partnership

Luckily, Shawna belongs to Inventorz Network (a professional organization supporting inventors), and one day she tuned into an EDI for Inventors webinar presented by eZCom. “The webinar showed me that EDI doesn’t have to be a necessary evil—it can serve as a tool to make the trading process more time and cost efficient,” she explained. Shawna signed up for eZCom’s EDI solution Lingo that very same day.
“Once I switched to Lingo, my order management process went from hours to minutes, which is incredibly important when you are a startup company with limited personnel,” stated Shawna. “The solution is very easy to navigate, and features multiple automated functions to cut down on chances for error and to save time. I can batch process EDI documents, the internet-based platform is incredibly convenient, and it notifies me of purchase order changes and gives me real time control and visibility over how I deal with them.”
Shawna also expressed confidence in Lingo’s ability to scale with her as she grows. “As we shift more and more from working through a direct-to-customer model and start doing business more exclusively with retailers, I know I can count on eZCom. Their team can do a seamless, customized integration of EDI with inventory and back office, and Lingo has all my prospective retail trading partners’ guidelines built in,” she explained. “No matter where this business takes me, I now have the EDI partner I need.”
Shawna additionally reported an overall excellent experience with eZCom’s customer service team. “The team sticks with me until my question has been answered or my problem solved.” Shawna further shared how if one team member didn’t have an answer, they would immediately find someone who did—and stay on the phone with her until the correct information or fix had been supplied.

The Recommendation: Streamlined and Easy, Great Customer Care

When asked, Shawna stated she would definitely recommend eZCom to a colleague. “If you want control and visibility when it comes to your order management, this is the EDI company to work with,” she stated. “Their EDI software is easy to use, fast, and error-free, and their customer service is fantastic. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Learn more about Lingo EDI user Zipzicle.

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