Buyers ask suppliers to join Tradecloud so you can both work together efficiently and sell more with less effort. Clear communication on orders, shipments and forecasts between you and your customers is important but difficult to reach by e-mail, fax and Excel sheets. When it comes to order handling and clear communication, the Tradecloud platform can save you a lot of money, time and resources. Suppliers can work via the online portal or via real time integration with an ERP system on the suppliers side. This document describes all the options and required steps.
Our mutual goal is to create a fast, flexible and effective supply chain. Depending on your situation there are multiple ways to work with Tradecloud. If you are a small or starting supplier with low volumes you can work via the Tradecloud portal for free. In the portal you will receive orders from your customers and you have to confirm them manually.
If you a larger proffessional supplier you can benefit from full ERP integration on your side. This will make orders automatically go to your own ERP system and will send order confirmations automatically back to your customers.
Step by step approach to working with Tradecloud
Via the portal
If you work via the portal there is no implementation needed. After you have been invited you can connect to your customer and start receiving and confirming orders. You will be informed of any new orders or changes via email.
Via ERP integration
If you want to benefit from full ERP integration there is the following process:
- Choose your integration method
- Process alignment
- Process alignment is essential and has to be done between Buyer and Supplier upfront
- See the functional checklist below
- Setting up the connection
- Technical implementation
- First test
- Default Tradecloud message exchange is validated by supplier
- Connectivity test has been completed, messages are transfered
- Default Tradecloud test scenarios are used with real-life data
- Onboarding dates are confirmed by Buyer and Supplier
- Acceptance test
- The client provides an acceptance ERP environment with representative data. This data needs to be accurate production like data – no changes in the test data
- Two sessions are planned with a lead time of 2 weeks; one for End to End testing and one for Go Live
- The customer will formaly validate and accept the integration
- Beyond this date, an RFC for additional support is required
The following functional conditions and/or process related questions have to be checked before the integration can start.
Not addressing these issues will result in a delayed implementation. Please ask your ERP consultant for assistance or contact Tradecloud.
- Item codes
Buyer and supplier have to align item codes and units of measurement for orders to be exchanged automatically.
- Missing item codes
Describe the proces when the Buyer sends an order with no Supplier Item Code.
- New items
New items have to be aligned on both sides before they can be ordered. The Tradecloud Item Management module can be used for this.
- Order (line) data and fields
Check the fields on the order and order line in the Tradecloud portal, this is the information you will also get via an electronic interface, is all requirement information correct and available?
Price unit quanity. Tradecloud support differences in price unit quantities. (ordered by 1, confrimed price per 100). If this is needed the field has to be used.
- Price formats
Price formats and rounding, are agreed prices in the same format before and after the ‘.’ ? (1.23 Euro)
- Order acceptance
Buyer and supplier have to agree that an order is only final after both parties have agreed on the confirmation. (in case of differences in date/quantity/price)
- BOM and routing
Bill of materials (BOM). Tradecloud will only send the item number from the buyer, so transferring this into a BOM must be done in the ERP system of the supplier
- Drawings, revisions and specifications
How are specifications and revisions communicated? Tradecloud has a module for automatic uploading and linking of CAD drawings.
- Packing instructions
How are packing instructions communicated?
- Order line splitting
The splitting of order lines by the supplier is default off. This means that the buyer has to split the order line if multiple delivery lines need to be created.
- Order confirmations
Suppliers need to confirm the requested date, quantity and price in a separate message. 100% confirmations will be automatically updated in the ERP of the Buyer. Exceptions will be handled in the workflow of the Buyer.
- Updates of existing orders
The buyer may update an existing order. Can the supplier handle this?
- Urgent orders
There is no technical solution for urgent orders. Buyer and supplier have to agree on a separate process for this.
- Multiple legal entities?
Tradecloud standard supports connecting 1 supplier to 1 buyer. Please inform us if you have more entities or you want to receive orders from multiple legal entities / customers.
- Final check
What other actions are sales persons performing manually now that should be automated?
Please make sure that all these topics are discussed and agreed upon before start of the technical implementation.
- Messages to be exchanged:
- Purchase Orders from the Customer, via Tradecloud, to Supplier
- Order Confirmations from Supplier, via Tradecloud, to the Customer
- Updates of orders by the buyer (e.g. changed date), can they be handled in the ERP system? (standard off for EDI messages)
- If an FTP server is needed, the Tradecloud SFTP server will be used
- The interface to the platform is based on the available fields in the latest available version as described on https://test.tradecloud.nl/api/v1/docs
- The end-customer is responsible for which messages they decide to send or receive via Tradecloud and the data they provide or require
Conditions for success
- Process alignment needs to be done upfront
- Please provide upfront Tenant IDs, EDI party information, article numbers, code mappings, etcetera
- This checklist will be completed after commercial agreement (official start). For each client very minor changes can be made to facilitate better communciation.
- After acceptance, changes in scope and planning are not allowed before go-live. These will be considered only as a new version of the integration or additional work
- Each integration will be released, tested and put in acceptance environment one by one
- Tradecloud will coordinate & perform the end to end test with the client. The integration consultant will be stand-by during the date of the end to end test