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Investing in the Future

Founded by a new mother in search of a better baby carrier, in just two decades, Ergobaby has become an award-winning and trusted source of ergonomic baby carriers, strollers, highchairs and more. The company sells its parent-praised products across the globe through a network of more than 700 retailers.


There was a problem, however. A company built around the idea of fostering stronger connections in young families, Ergobaby™ needed to dramatically improve the efficacy of its linkages with its trading partners. A long-time Epicor Kinetic customer, Ergobaby carefully weighed options for a smart electronic data interchange (EDI) solution and chose Epicor EDI.

Speeding Up Time to Market

Ken Hayes, Senior Director of IT at Ergobaby, explained, “Big trading partners and large retailers expect an effective EDI solution from us. If we can’t come to market quickly, it can derail the project. I don’t want our EDI to be the gating issue for a potential new revenue stream.”

That was the unfortunate situation with the company’s previous EDI solution; onboarding a new partner took anywhere from 12 weeks to six months. “The driving reason for moving to Epicor EDI was speed to market. Now, onboarding is complete in two to six weeks – a massive improvement,” Hayes remarked.

Aside from the strength of the Epicor solution, Hayes attributes the improved speed to Ergobaby’s dedicated technical resources. He revealed, “It’s no longer throw a ticket over the wall, get in a queue, and explain everything from the ground up. Our Epicor tech is extremely responsive, and he is an expert on both Epicor EDI and our business. It makes for very quick, efficient, and pleasant interactions.”

On-Point Implementation

That level of care and attention was obvious from the outset. Hayes shared, “The EDI migration project was well managed. Epicor assigned a project manager who established a weekly call that included our third-party logistics provider (3PL).”


The weekly meetings offered the Ergobaby project manager, the Epicor technical lead and the 3PL representative an opportunity to align on priorities, clarify issues and work out any technical complications. As Epicor Kinetic was already in place, the integration of As Epicor Kinetic was already in place, the integration of Epicor EDI was seamless; no data was lost in the migration process.

The driving reason for moving to Epicor EDI was speed to market. Now, onboarding is complete in two to six weeks – a massive improvement.

Hayes continued, “Since our 3PL does all the fulfillment on our behalf, there must be clear communication between them and Epicor Kinetic. This also enabled us to work out the entire process and build a foundation for bringing retailers into the system.”

Improved Agility

With a smooth implementation behind them, Ergobaby was ready to reap the benefits. Hayes adopted the Ergobaby core value of “We get things done” for his IT team: “We make IT a value-added group that enables the business and eliminates friction in our processes. We find a way, make it right, make it efficient. Technical processes should never stand in the way of the business.”

He points to Epicor EDI and its communication with Epicor Kinetic, as key accelerators of this goal.

“Because it was so time-consuming to deal with our other EDI provider, we discussed the feasibility of hiring an EDI expert in-house. But in conversations with Epicor and some of their users, it became clear that we needed our own dedicated EDI expert team, which we have with Epicor,” Hayes acknowledged. The result has been a substantial reduction in the amount of time Hayes and his team spend on EDI, eliminating unexpected interruptions as well as the need for additional headcount.

Hayes cited a specific example: “A trading partner in Canada made a change to their invoice specification. It took 90 days for our old provider to make the change, with a dozen back and forth comments on the ticket and multiple failed tests. In the meantime, we couldn’t send invoices or get paid on those accounts. With our Epicor tech resource, similar changes get made in ten minutes, a massive productivity boost.”

Simplification and Visibility Gains

In addition to dramatically faster trading partner onboarding, Ergobaby has noted several other key benefits of Epicor EDI, such as error handling.
Hayes elaborated, “Our old provider would send a daily e-mail list of EDI documents that had an error without any specification of what was wrong or any recommendations on how to fix it. Now, our tech lead sends an e-mail that identifies which invoice failed and why and asks for the missing information. I don't have time to research why an invoice failed, but I can certainly answer an e-mail with a specific question. With Epicor, that’s all I have to do.”

Another key advantage is the streamlined view of Ergobaby’s processes provided via the Epicor EDI Visibility Portal IntelligentXchange® (IX). With the previous solution, communication was done via flat files. With the IX portal, Hayes’ team gained end-to-end tracking in a conversation view, which helped them see the whole picture of the customer quickly. Hayes explained, “I can look up an order and see that we sent it to the warehouse, access all the details, confirm that it was received and when it was invoiced.

It makes it easy to answer questions from our finance or operations teams because I have the entire chain of information in one single place.”

A trading partner in Canada made a change to their invoice specification. It took 90 days for our old provider to make the change, with a dozen back and forth comments on the ticket and multiple failed tests. In the meantime, we couldn’t send invoices or get paid on those accounts. With our Epicor tech resource, similar changes get made in ten minutes—a massive productivity boost.

He added that Epicor EDI is extremely flexible in terms of file formats and shared, “Whenever we need to add new fields or add new document types, Epicor can accept and allow whatever we need. Most vendors tell you what format they will accept. Epicor asks how you want to send it and they will map to whatever is required.” That flexibility also allows Hayes and his developer to easily write BPMs and API integrations to import data to Epicor Kinetic which ensures there is one complete and accurate source of EDI data.

Hayes explained, “Epicor Kinetic has a flexible API that makes it easy to access a single source of EDI data—the integration between the two is completely transparent.”

Expansion on the Horizon

Epicor EDI is live across Ergobaby’s U.S. sites and Hayes is currently working on deploying in the European Union, and Canada slated for go-live in late 2023. He projected significant benefits; “A large retailer in the EU operates in six or seven countries and its EDI format is slightly different for each. This has caused perpetual invoicing issues with our old provider, and we expect Epicor to alleviate those for us.”

“Historically, EDI had been one of the least favorite parts of my job. And since we've partnered with Epicor EDI team, it's not something that I have to worry about anymore,” Hayes concluded.

Company Facts

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Specialist Industry: Consumer Goods Manufacturing
  • Website: www.ergobaby.com

Challenges

  • Lengthy partner on-boarding timelines
  • Insufficient resources to manage EDI
  • Lack of flexibility and speed of change

Benefits

  • Decreased on-boarding time up to 500%
  • Slashed time to make changes from 90 days to 10 minutes
  • More efficient EDI without additional headcount

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