Old Dog, New Trick

VWR uses EDI-to-XML conversion to connect with customers

Denver  May 10, 2001  Scientific equipment and supplies distributor VWR International is finding the EDI needn't stand for "extremely difficult integration" with its major trading partners.

The $2.2 billion company is using technology from a company called RioLabs to leverage its existing EDI systems and conduct live, two-way XML-based transactions with its buying community, which includes Eastman Chemical, Shell Canada and Weyerhaeuser.

VWR International is using RioLabs software to connect with the Commerce One.net e-marketplace and conduct transactions with five of Commerce One.net's largest buyers.

"RioLabs made leveraging the Commerce One.net e-marketplace simple and extremely cost effective, allowing us to utilize our existing EDI infrastructure and processes." said Rick Schwartz, vice president for e-business at VWR International. "The power of the e-marketplace is in allowing us to make one basic investment to connect to every one of our customers, worldwide. That makes both economic and practical sense, giving us the cost benefits of e-commerce with the freedom to do business on a worldwide basis  online."

Prior to implementing RioTrade, VWR could receive incoming EDI transactions but could not automatically acknowledge receipt, instead relying on manual responses via email and fax. VWR now receives incoming XML transactions from its corporate buyers through Commerce One.net, completes the XML-EDI conversion of information and generates an automatic XML response back to the customer.

VWR can use RioTrade's XML-EDI conversion capabilities to create business rules for controlling document processing and integrating with its trading partners' workflows. VWR will also use RioTrade to connect with additional customers via Commerce One.net.

VWR International, headquartered in West Chester, Penn., is a worldwide distributor of scientific equipment, supplies and chemicals for the industrial, government, life science, education, electronics and pharmaceutical markets. VWR is part of VWR Scientific Products, a company of the Merck Group.

For another example of how a company is using RioLabs' technology to manage customer orders, see "In Full Bloom," the ROI column in the May 2001 issue of iSource Business.