From VAN to the Internet

Tape manufacturer uses IPNet to trade data with Lowe's

Newport Beach, CA  April 4, 2002  Manco Inc., a $304 million division of Henkel Group, is using a solution from B2B connectivity specialist IPNet to securely exchange critical business documents with home improvement giant Lowe's, the company's first Internet-enabled trading partner, IPNet reported this week.

A marketer of a range of home, school and office products under the Duck, Loctite and LePage brands, Manco wanted to move from a value-added network (VAN) environment to the Internet in an effort to reduce costs and save time in transaction processing.

"Prior to implementing IPNet, we used a modem to access a VAN," said Vidya Nadig, team leader for e-commerce/EDI at Manco. "With 66 percent of our data processed through the VAN, traditional modem communication was becoming too support-intensive and time consuming. It was obvious we needed a faster process."

In considering an alternative to the VAN, it was important for Manco's ideal solution to not only be secure, but also be based on industry-approved standards. Ultimately, Manco settled on IPNet's eBizness Transact solution.

eBizness Transact supports a variety of security standards, including AS1 and AS2. The AS2 standard, which Manco uses to transact with Lowe's, allows supplier applications to communicate data over the Internet (via HTTP) in a secure manner. IPNet said the solution offers companies a direct and secure method to communicate EDI transactions over the Internet, reducing costs associated with traditional electronic data interchange (EDI). It also facilitates the growing use of XML through its support of XML messaging. When implemented, AS2 enables users to connect, deliver, validate and reply to data securely and reliably.

Now Manco is using the IPNet solution to exchange such documents as purchase orders (POs), point-of-sale (POS) data, remittance advice and invoices with Lowe's, resulting in significant time savings. "With IPNet, what used to take hours can now be processed in seconds," Nadig said.

In addition, Nadig said Manco is also realizing cost savings. "At the rate we are going, we'll realize [return on investment] in months," Nadig said, adding, "Once our remaining strategic customers are connected, the cost- and time-saving benefits will be amazing."

While Manco currently uses AS2 to connect with Lowe's, the company will connect with UCCnet and its additional customers in the near future. These diverse systems are all supported through IPNet, streamlining the administration of Manco's business partner transactions. Through IPNet, Manco can route any file type from XML and EDI to flat or text files. When implementation is complete, plans call for Manco to be connected to UCCnet, a VAN and a number of other strategic customers (including Ace Hardware, Winn-Dixie and OfficeMax), all via IPNet.

Manco is the first Henkel company in North America to rollout eBizness Transact. Other Henkel subsidiaries can take advantage of the product's multiple hosting feature. With multiple hosting, additional divisions can transact with Lowe's by simply setting up a new identification for their division.