How EDI and Microsoft Are Helping Healthcare Brands


January 26, 2022

Integrations across software, specifically across EDI platforms and Microsoft-based business systems, can streamline the ordering process, simplify compliance, and save employees from headache-inducing workarounds.

Learn how these three innovative companies were able to implement TrueCommerce EDI for Microsoft as a much-needed solution to their supply chain woes while integrating with Microsoft for seamless automation.

BPL Plasma

BPL Plasma is a long-time leader in the plasma collection industry and a part of the UK-based Bio Products Laboratory. For over 25 years, they’ve collected high-quality plasma throughout the U.S., which they sell to pharmaceutical companies worldwide to be processed into a number of life-saving therapies, including those used to treat conditions such as hemophilia and immune system deficiencies.

Having already purchased Microsoft Dynamics NAV to transact business with its vendors, the next task was to find a suitable EDI solution, especially since BPL’s highest volume vendor was EDI-capable. Val Gameiro, Senior NAV Analyst, noted that TrueCommerce EDI was “by far the most cost-effective and low-impact option…”

By integrating EDI with Dynamics NAV, users such as Mr. Gameiro no longer had to process transactions via a tedious, time-consuming manual process. Prior to TrueCommerce EDI, the supply chain team needed to save purchase orders created in Dynamics NAV in PDF format. Once this was downloaded, they then needed to email them to the supplier. In addition to being time-consuming, this also left the potential for human error as technicians had to reenter the emailed information once received. This would have to be done for every single purchase order – export a PDF, attach it to an email, address the email to the correct parties, and then send them out for each individual order.

With TrueCommerce EDI, all the purchase orders are handled at the same time as a single operation. As per Mr. Gameiro, “we upload it and it’s done.” In addition to saving time, the process is significantly easier. In fact, in Mr. Gameiro’s experience, the three or four people who have learned the EDI system and how it works have been able to handle everything without needing a lot of expert support.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals

Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. was founded in 2008 with the goal of developing and delivering effective solutions in the field of cardiometabolic therapeutics. By the year 2013, the Drug Quality and Security Act, or DQSA, would be in full swing, a measure that required medical manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers to keep track of pharmaceutical drugs electronically.

Kowa took advantage of the opportunity to switch to a new EDI system, not just to meet the needs of the DQSA but also to streamline the ordering process and improve communication with its trading partners.

Jim Teegarden, Director of Trade Relations at Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, said that he saw this as the best time to “spearhead the process of ensuring that all our trading partners were utilizing EDI for the exchange of order information.” Mr. Teegarden reached out to roughly ten customers still placing their orders via fax to discuss with their teams the transition from fax orders to using EDI. He quickly established EDI as the sole process for exchanging order information going forward.

The next step was to take their EDI to the next level – something that would leave nothing to chance when it came to Kowa’s supply chain documents. It was time for Kowa to upgrade to web-based TrueCommerce EDI which was designed to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics AX. The integration between EDI and AX allowed for a proven and scalable managed services hosting model, as well as the flexibility necessary to adapt to the organization’s AX workflow without the need for complicated programming.

At Kowa, every product order today is received through TrueCommerce EDI. The platform’s “Scheduler” add-on allows the EDI to send and receive order information to and from Microsoft Dynamics AX at predefined times. And the AX system can pass EDI information to and from Kowa’s warehouse management system or WMS.

Most authorized users work within the EDI directly through AX and can see PO’s and other EDI transactions on their end in real time, as opposed to the former procedure which involved waiting for warehouse personnel to email all of the brand pharmaceutical orders they would receive. By working directly in the EDI solution, they can address any discrepancies right away, whether that involves canceling the order or asking the buyer to place another order, eliminating mistakes and preventing inaccuracies.

“Without EDI, Kowa would require additional full-time employees just to deal with manually creating invoices and other documents,” says Mr. Teegarden. “I’m extremely pleased with TrueCommerce EDI, and very happy with how things have gone with the new solution.”

Mobi Technologies

Mobi Technologies, Inc. produces a wide range of personal awareness devices, computer and peripheral accessories, surveillance and wireless monitoring, and software and accessories for hand-held electronics. At the time, the organization utilized a smaller, web-based EDI application that was not meeting the requirements of their largest trading partner customers.

With two months’ notice from their customers to update their EDI, right around the time they had already chosen to upgrade their Microsoft Dynamics GP business system. If they were going to choose an EDI system, it had to be cost-effective and it had to be GP compatible.

Of the two providers considered, operations manager Yani Herrera narrowed it down to TrueCommerce EDI because the pricing was competitive and the operation was more intuitive – the other provider required multiple, more complicated steps to achieve her goals.

So, TrueCommerce was a clear choice, but now it would have to be implemented quickly and successfully to meet the timeframe imposed by Mobi’s trading partners. TrueCommerce’s Service and Support team made this possible. They got things up and running immediately, with essentially no downtime.

Prior to TrueCommerce EDI, Herrera was unable to automatically import orders into Mobi’s accounting system. Information had to constantly be double entered to and from the external warehousing company. Nowadays, transmitting this information is as simple as the click of a button. “I’ve estimated that we’ve reduced costs by approximately 45% a month compared with our previous system and we’ve improved productivity by 30%,” she said.

Getting Started with Integrating TrueCommerce EDI with Microsoft

If you’re looking to integrate your solutions but are unsure of what is possible or just how easy it might be, we at TrueCommerce can help, especially if you need agile EDI software to integrate with your Microsoft solutions.

Our team of experts is prepared to give you informed answers on how you can use EDI to streamline your efficiency throughout the trade partner process, helping reduce your stress while improving your team’s productivity. If you want to learn more about how we can help you do business in every direction, contact us today!

About the Author: Ryan Tierney is the VP, Product Management focused on Integrations at TrueCommerce. He has spent the last 17 years with TrueCommerce in various roles with services and Product Management. He and his team are responsible for the TrueCommerce TC.Net platform, Business System and Channel Integrations as well as Trading Partner Mapping. Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 sons and in his spare time enjoys golfing.

Stay ahead of the competition

Get expert supply chain insights delivered directly to your inbox weekly.