PAPERLESS LOGISTICS: Data automation at NTDE Group
National Trading & Developing Enterprises is one of the first distributors in the UAE to automate the exchange of business documents with its supply chain partners.
This data automation project is a great example on how to digitize not only the flow of commercial documents with retailers, but also the flow of the 3PL logistics documents with partners.
Implementing data automation at National Trading & Developing Enterprises was a big and challenging project that evolved over time. Started back in 2017, when Infinite IT Solutions launched the exchange of purchase orders with one buyer for a trial.
After successful tests, Infinite IT Solutions and National Trading & Developing Enterprises agreed about the full project roll-out in a way that ensured seamless transition to data automation.
“We know that giving up paper documents and exchanging orders, delivery notes or invoices digitally can seem a long and complex process to our clients at first glance,” says Łukasz Spirała, area manager at Infinite IT Solutions DMCC.
“That is why, it’s crucial to adjust technological solutions, such as our data automation platform, to the existing business processes of a client, not the other way round. That’s what we did at National Trading & Developing Enterprises.
“To avoid duplicate entry of data, Infinite Data Automation Suite was integrated with the ERP system used by the client via API. ERP integration makes it much easier to track any changes, ensuring full traceability of documents.”
Now, National Trading & Developing Enterprises exchanges orders digitally with major retailers in the GCC, including Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarkets, EMKE Group and Spinneys, while there are plans to establish connection with other retailers as well.
The company also started its transition to paperless B2B invoicing by launching e-invoice. Also, as many as 6 types of logistics messages go directly system-to-system between its 3PL logistics provider: Integrated National Logistics (INL) and business partners.
What is data automation in supply chain relations about?
Every product that you move across the supply chain comes with at least a couple of commercial documents – purchase orders, GRNs, delivery notes, returns, stock adjustments and many other.
In a typical supply chain scenario, a distributor like National Trading & Developing Enterprises would receive a large number of sales orders for new stock fill-up from its buyers by e-mail. These orders then need to be printed and analysed, followed by the manual data entry process to record a document in the ERP / back-office system. All this just means the two parties are engaged in a time-consuming process of exchanging trade and logistics documents, which are all paper-based and prone to error.
NTDE Group decided to go the alternative way and automated the flow of commercial & logistics documents with supply chain partners. In the paperless scenario, Infinite Data Automation connects National Trading & Developing Enterprises, retailers and 3PLS to ensure smooth, fully automated and secure exchange of validated data. Once a digital document is entered to our IT ecosystem, it stays there for good. - explains Ranjith Thomas, IT Project Lead at NTDE Group.
Digitized documents offer National Trading & Developing Enterprises access to enormous amounts of business data. This data is filtered and used for informed decision-making, especially by logistics, accounting and financial departments. It allows the organization to track deliveries, analyze ordering trends, improve order-to-cash process.
How does NTDE Group benefit from data automation?
Data automation is a game changer not only for a client, but also its supply chain partners. What effects did the implementation of data automation bring for National Trading & Developing Enterprises?
- Saving a couple of hours on order processing with each retailer connected to data automation software
- Cutting the cost of paperwork, e.g. filling, sending, storing paper documentation
- 100% data accuracy while processing orders
- Higher SLA with retailers thanks to faster order processing and error-free documents
- Real-time access to business data (stock availability, status of order, payment status) and the ability to analyze it in a fraction of time
“Digitizing the exchange of orders, GRNs, delivery notes, returns and others was a good move, we receive positive feedback from our business partners and employees alike,” says Ranjith Thomas, IT Project Lead at NTDE Group.
“Infinite Data Automation Suite helps us tap the maximum potential of employees, because they no longer have to cover repetitive data-entry tasks. When it comes to our business partners, we deliver the procure-to-pay experience that is timely, error-free and secure.”
Implementing the strategy for paperless supply chain – who is it for?
Eliminating paper from purchase-to-pay processes will bring tangible improvements and cost cuts from day one to all trading establishments that exchange significant volumes of documents – be it a buyer or a supplier. Logistics, FMCG, retail, pharma, MRO – these are all industries with significant potential for “paperless”.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Infinite Data Automation Suite is saving retailers, 3PLs, manufacturers and distributors significant costs on their supply chain operations. Infinite IT Solutions DMCC has helped several brands realise their digital transformation goals which include National Trading & Developing Enterprises, Integrated National Logistics, Hisense Middle East Trading, Truebell Marketing and Trading.