FULL SPEED AHEAD ON THE (DATA) HIGHWAY
Lobster_data middleware has been regulating all data traffic for logistics company Logwin since 2008.
As if it were a multi-lane highway, 10 terabytes of EDI data race through Logwin’s IT systems every year, together with 150 million transactions and 45 million conversions. The Lobster_data hub coordinates all this traffic, which travels along at break-neck speed despite the considerable data volumes; not a bottleneck or accident in sight! “Lobster_data is one of the most important systems we use in the company as a whole”, reports Joachim Rosehnal, EDI Competence Centre Manager for the logistics firm.
Many of Logwin’s customers are manufacturers for the fashion industry, where trends can change at the drop of a hat and peak seasons are the order of the day. The companies all rely on seamless, flexible logistics, meaning data, such as orders, delivery notes or invoice data, has to be transported from the customer’s system to Logwin and back again without errors, in large quantities and by the fastest route possible. As the systems all work with different formats, a data hub like Lobster_data is vital to translate everything and make sense of the swathes of information.
Customers manage their own data
Most information is sent to the logistics provider in EDIFACT format, which Lobster_data then translates into a readable in-house format, before forwarding it either to the warehouse or feeding repeated orders directly into the transport management system. Once there, orders can be processed automatically. Customers can also access their data directly via personalised user accounts, from anywhere and at any time.
Access is granted via the EDI4you WebMonitor, which Lobster has specially adapted to Logwin’s requirements. Customers are then able to independently carry out EDI (electronic data interchange) searches and monitor logistics progress. They can accurately track jobs from their profiles, relaunch orders as and when needed, modify, upload and save files locally. The web interface can be displayed in any required language – at Logwin, they offer German, English and French. “Customers manage their information themselves, meaning we don’t have to provide so much support”, says Joachim. “We rarely do anything manually anymore. The entire transfer process is now fully automated with Lobster_data.”
Stable and flexible despite huge volumes of data
Although Lobster_data processes up to 400,000 transmissions, 120,000 conversions and 30 gigabytes of EDI data every day, the system is stable and is, in Joachim’s own words, far from at its limits. A total of six IT employees are responsible for defining EDI processes at Logwin, whilst 16 cores and 48 gigabytes of RAM main memory hum away in the background. “We’re nowhere near max capacity”, underlines Joachim.
Lobster_data handles all common data formats, integrating all important industry standards (EDIFACT, IDoc, VDA, Fortras, XML, etc.) and ensures communications can take place via different protocols (SMTP, AS2, FTP, X.400, OFTP, WebServices, etc.). Joachim explains, “we’re completely flexible and no longer need to think about what will and what won’t work.”
Easy electronic customer connections
Partnerships in the logistics industry would be nigh-on impossible without electronic connections. The fact that Logwin is able to offer rapid integration thanks to Lobster_data, even when working with its international customers, is greatly appreciated by the logistics company’s clientele.
What’s more, the software is also designed to be so user-friendly that every user – no matter how much, or how little programming experience they have – can easily operate it. It also helps, that the price is right. “We opted for Lobster because the price-performance ratio was simply unbeatable. It’s definitely paid off for us!”, concludes Joachim.
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