October 31, 2002, 12:00 AM

Getting Connected

(Page 4 of 4)

Although the service bureau route was an improvement over Acorn’s earlier system of exchanging documents, more improvement was yet to come. A year ago, Sears provided Acorn with a way to bypass the faxing and instead use web forms that send electronic documents directly between Acorn and Sears’s The Great Indoors store. After taking a one-hour online training course, Macedo says, she and her staff now send and receive documents directly from their desktops. Acorn pays $1 per transmitted document compared to what could have been $10 or more for an EDI document plus the cost of EDI software. And not only is there less error-producing manual data entry, which Macedo says “saves a lot of my time fixing errors,” but documents are exchanged much more quickly. “We get our money faster,” Macedo says.

To get purchase order data into its back-end accounting system, Acorn still must print out a web form and manually input information into its accounting software program. But even that step has been abolished at Cyber Acoustics LLC, which provides computer desktop speakers to retailers like Best Buy Co. Inc. By implementing the Accpac Exchange software suite from Accpac International, Cyber Acoustics automatically integrates its incoming EDI-over-Internet documents directly with its back-end accounting system, says Jeff Mastin, Exchange product manager.

He notes that the cost of deploying Exchange varies based on a company’s size and number of trading partners. But for a $10 million company exchanging purchase orders, invoices and advanced shipping notices with three trading partners, Exchange would cost about $10,000 for the software, $7,500 for implementation and training, and $100 per month for ongoing data transmission service.

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