Henkel Continues with the Electronic Data Interchange, Now Also with Lidl8. April 2020
8th April 2020, Brno – The company Henkel and the chain of supermarkets Lidl are now communicating with each other via EDI. They have already begun exchanging invoices using electronically structured messages, and will soon follow suit with orders, too. By doing so, Henkel, which owns products such as the Persil laundry detergent, the Ceresit grout and the Schwartzkopf beauty care products, has come significantly closer to increasing the volume of their EDI communications with their customers to 100%.
Henkel and Lidl started working on using electronic data interchange for their communications back in October 2019. Currently they are exchanging all their invoices – and, in Slovakia, also all their orders – using EDI. In the Czech Republic, the first real EDI orders are scheduled to start during the month of April.
„Lidl was the last of our big customers with whom we were not using EDI. By making this happen, almost all our customers are now on board. We only have two small ones left, who are eligible for using the Orion eFakturace service by Grit, in which we can send an invoice in the EDI format from our system and our customer receives it in the format of an electronically signed PDF“ says Eva Malíková, EDI/ECR Project Manager for Henkel.
She considers integrating Lidl into EDI communication a success from which both companies are bound to benefit. „For the most part, the biggest help for us consists in the orders, whereas Lidl will benefit from the invoices. Thanks to EDI, we will be able to process our orders more quickly and there won‘t be any order picking errors, which is a plus for our customer service. As for Lidl, using EDI means that they won‘t have to overwrite their invoices manually – all invoices will be automatically loaded and rewritten into the company system,“ says Malíková.
As for the implementation itself, she views it as problem-free, partly thanks to Lidl‘s special portal as well as support from the part of the EDI solution‘s supplier, which is the Czech company Grit. „Lidl has their own portal for implementing EDI to their suppliers; it is called Self EDI Portal. The portal led us through the whole process in a very clear manner, through all the settings, from the testing of the invoices‘ validity until the start itself. I also appreciate the support of Grit, which was particularly helpful when it came to technical details,“ says Malíková.
Henkel can serve as an example for other suppliers of Lidl, who would like to communicate with the supermarket chain using EDI. „Such a supplier will first need to discuss the registration into Self EDI Portal with Lidl, but after the registration, the process is very rapid. For instance, testing the validity of invoices is often a question of a couple of hours, and, what‘s also important is that the portal allows you to keep a track of the whole process. If such a supplier needed help with the set-up, we are, of course, happy to help,“ says David Reichel, Product Manager of the Orion EDI solution for Grit.
The digitization of data interchange has proven unexpectedly useful to the company Henkel also in the light of the current situation, in which the whole world is coming to terms with the coronavirus epidemic. „Even though we are all working from home, the invoice flow hasn‘t been impacted. On the other hand, we do know of cases where companies have had to hire a student to take care of invoices at reception, wearing a face mask or respirator,“ concludes Malíková.