TradeCard Inc, the financial supply chain services provider, has announced technology that will allow buyers and suppliers to communicate with each other regardless of the standards each uses, via TradeCard’s web platform. As more retailers – most notably Walmart – ask suppliers to communicate via AS2 over the internet, declares TradeCard, the problem of varying standards has become critical. By supporting the latest messaging standards, such as AS2, as well as legacy communication methods like EDI VANs and FTP, TradeCard’s web platform will remove complicated IT issues for both buyers and suppliers, especially smaller ones.
With the TradeCard system, buyers and suppliers can use different connectivity technologies whilst communicating with each other, with TradeCard providing the translation between the two standards. This means that suppliers can continue to use older technologies (eg, FTP, more basic EDI, or simple internet browsers) for communication with their buyers, even if the buyers are larger companies which are already AS2-enabled.
In an April 2003 Report, AMR Research stated that with regards to EDIINT AS2 products “for most manufacturers, the decision quickly moves beyond complying with one customer’s demands to preparing for the next retailer to most likely ask for or require EDIINT AS2”. Acting fast in adopting AS2 is a clear advantage and TradeCard corporate members who already use its Internet-based connectivity and transaction technology can easily access TradeCard’s AS2 conversion service. At the same time, TradeCard helps its supplier members to stay connected with their customers who use AS2 without forcing the supplier to adopt AS2 as well.
The majority of suppliers in Asia, the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In Taiwan, for example, the number of SMEs amounts to around one million and in Hong Kong, according to the SME Information Center, there were 230,000 in June 2003. The majority of TradeCard supplier members fall into this category.
Most of these smaller companies have many different system requests from powerful customers but do not always have the time or resources to accommodate all these requests. These suppliers are looking for solutions that enable them to deal with the many varied systems through a single and consistent interface – this is what TradeCard can offer them, especially in light of the new integration with AS2, claims the firm.
The benefits of using AS2 include:
Decreased Value-Added Network (VAN) charges
Near real-time communication for sending documents, such as advanced shipping notice, purchase order and invoices
Increased security for the messages being sent, including non-repudiation and message notification