Textile Manufacturer Gets EDI Help from Robot
June 3, 2014 Alex Woodie
When Standard Textile decided to move its EDI translator from IBM i to Windows, the company knew it needed a solid way to make the new Windows-based EDI talk with its core JD Edwards system running on IBM i. The company found what it needed in the guise of the Robot/SCHEDULE software from HelpSystems.
Standard Textile makes a variety of textile products–including sheets, blankets, window treatments, upholstery fabrics, uniforms, workwear, and napery–and sells them to customers all around the world. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company is privately held, and employs about 4,000 people.
About 80 percent of Standard Textile’s orders come into its JD Edwards ERP system via EDI. The company had used an IBM i-resident EDI translator for years, but decided to move away from it when it became apparent that it couldn’t support new file mappings.
The company’s EDI manager, Brian Michael, selected a new Windows-based EDI translator that could support the new requirements. The next challenge was getting the new EDI translator communicating with its IBM i server and JD Edwards applications.
“Our translator, now Windows-based, needs to interact with jobs on the iSeries,” Michael says in a case study on the HelpSystems website. “That’s where Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise came in. I needed something simple to go across platforms and automate trigger jobs that would kick off a downstream job once the data translation occurred.”
Michael is also using HelpSystems’ operator assistance language (OPAL) to automate many of the business processes that are handled by the Windows and IBM i systems, and to minimize the chance of orders falling through the cracks.
Today, when JD Edwards jobs produce purchase orders, acknowledgements, and invoices, it triggers an EDI job, according to the case study. The OPAL code then monitors for data in the physical files. If data is found, it triggers an EDI job. “It’s been very helpful,” Michael says. “I’m not missing things.”
Michael also appreciates the fact that Robot/SCHEDULE sports a GUI rather than a green screen. “It’s more inviting,” he says, particularly for users who aren’t familiar with the IBM i platform.
The company is also using Robot/ALERT to automate the execution of alerts. If something goes wrong with EDI, Robot/ALERT notifies Michael directly via email, eliminating the need to involve the IT staff.
Overall, Michael sounds pleased with the software from Robot, which is now a division of HelpSystems. “Robot is simple to set up, easy to use, and very powerful, especially compared to other schedulers on the iSeries, which are kind of clunky and repetitive,” he says in the case study. “It’s critical to the business that EDI works, and I’ve got it humming with Robot.”
To read the entire case study, go to www.helpsystems.com/solutions/success-stories/robot-adds-cross-platform-flexibility-edi-standard-textile.