With Data Growing Like Weeds, Scotts Turns to Business Integration Solution

Lawn care specialist deploys Sterling Commerce platform to manage increasing data exchange, proliferating standards in retail sector

Lawn care specialist deploys Sterling Commerce platform to manage increasing data exchange, proliferating standards in retail sector

Columbus, OH — September 29, 2004 — Lawn care products giant The Scotts Company has deployed a business integration solution from Sterling Commerce as part of an initiative to manage the growing amount of data exchanged between the company and its customers.

Headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, Scotts offers products for do-it-yourself lawn care and gardening, including under the Miracle-Gro and Ortho brands. In fiscal 2003, Scotts reported net sales of $1.9 billion.

Scotts sells numerous name brand products to consumers through the world's largest retailers, which means the company must be able to support secure AS2 data communications, Global Data Synchronization, XML, EDIFACT and a number of new initiatives mandated by these retailers in an effort to streamline the exchange of data.

The company wanted a single solution that could handle the myriad of new integration requirements. To tackle this challenge, Scotts opted to implement Sterling Commerce's modular business integration solution, Gentran Integration Suite.

Gentran provides a range of capabilities, including support for Internet B2B, Web services, electronic data interchange (EDI), business process management, enterprise application integration and enhanced file transfer, according to Sterling.

"Standards for B2B initiatives continue to evolve as more and more companies use them and identify areas of improvement," said Lori Boyer, EDI coordinator at Scotts. "In some cases, different industry sectors have developed standards that are specific to their community. With Gentran Integration Suite, we have one unified platform that supports the latest standards and handles any type of per-partner format requirements."

The Gentran suite offers the necessary flexibility and capabilities to tailor processes to each company's way of doing business, according to Sterling. For Scotts, this means managing more than 5,000 business transactions per day globally from customers using numerous communication vehicles and data formats.

"Gentran Integration Suite allows us to feed information from customers directly into SAP, which supplies the applications that help us manage our more than 800 [stock keeping units (SKUs)] in the largest retail centers around the world," Boyer said.

Scotts is looking to implement Gentran's Web extensions to allow company employees to view business information online. "Now, we get numerous calls from customer support and shipping asking about document status," Boyer said. "This tool will put the information into the hands of the right people so decisions can be made quickly."

Nolan Rosen, chief marketing officer at Sterling Commerce, noted that retailers are turning their attention to a variety of B2B initiatives to improve the availability and use of information within their supply chain, such as collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR), scan-based trading (SBT), radio frequency identification (RFID) and other information-dependent initiatives. "An increase in internal and external information access, exchange and use carries with it several technology requirements that an integration toolset must be able to provide," Rosen said.

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