Whirlpool Aims to Simplify Trade Customer Integration

Appliance manufacturer taps SEEBURGER EDI technology to advance SAP NetWeaver and UCCnet initiatives

Appliance manufacturer taps SEEBURGER EDI technology to advance SAP NetWeaver and UCCnet initiatives

Atlanta — September 13, 2005 — Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation is set to use technology from SEEBURGER to provide a standardized business integration solution for thousands of trade customers that use electronic data interchange (EDI) to automate business transactions.

SEEBURGER said its adapters embedded in the SAP NetWeaver technology stack will eliminate the need for multiple solutions and also support Whirlpool's global use of the mySAP Business Suite as well as the company's initiatives to implement the NetWeaver platform.

"The use of SEEBURGER adapters for data translation and communications will simplify Whirlpool's network architecture, both by allowing the company to move away from non-SAP-compliant solutions and by eliminating the need to use trade customer integration solutions from different vendors," the solution provider said in announcing the deal.

In addition, SEEBURGER said that its AS2 connectivity services will aid Whirlpool's efforts to migrate more suppliers and customers to the AS2 standard in order to reduce costs and maximize its investment in global data synchronization through the UCCnet data pool service.

Whirlpool is currently using SAP NetWeaver's master data management (MDM) capabilities to synchronize product item information with UCCnet, the SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI) to provide integration broker services, and the SEEBURGER AS2 adapter to meet UCCnet's requirement for Internet-based AS2 document exchange. That data synchronization effort will help Whirlpool comply with its trade customers' demands for uniform product information, while also lowering supply chain costs by reducing invoice and product shipment errors, according to SEEBURGER.

One of Whirlpool's trade customers recently migrated to the SEEBURGER-based AS2 service with UCCnet connectivity. That customer's system will be used to demonstrate the benefits of AS2 and UCCnet to other trade customers, SEEBURGER said.

"We have more than 5,000 trade customers in the U.S., but fewer than 20 are using AS2 capabilities today, with the vast majority of our business coming in on EDI over a value-added network," said Thomas Ehrman, director of global enablement services for Whirlpool Corporation's Global Information Systems. "By using SEEBURGER to help move more trade customers to the AS2 communication platform, we expect to see significant cost reductions with VAN elimination while also bringing more suppliers and customers into the UCCnet and AS2 fold."

Whirlpool Corporation's transition to SEEBURGER's connectivity solution set is part of the first phase of its SAP NetWeaver and SAP XI implementation. The company is using SEEBURGER's SAP consulting services to deploy the adapters, link to UCCnet and configure the message formats required for each trade customer. Whirlpool is scheduled to activate SEEBURGER's EDI Translation adapters later this year.

"This implementation is significant because it reflects two major IT trends for consumer packaged goods companies today," said Scott Lewin, president of SEEBURGER US. "The first is the move to consolidate on a single global platform — in this case the mySAP Business Suite and related applications — to reduce costs and enable the service-oriented architecture required to efficiently link business processes. The second is the push for global data synchronization through UCCnet and other trading pools."

Lewin added that SEEBURGER's integration with SAP and 20-year history of providing electronic communication among trade customers would support Whirlpool's efforts in both of these arenas.

Additional Articles of Interest

— For a look at how Newmont Mining is connecting to its supply base through e-marketplace Quadrem to form a global supply network, see the article "Making Global Supply Chains Work" in the August/September 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

Rising supply costs have hit steel, paper, plastics and other markets, and many companies are facing the Hobson's choice of paying the higher prices or going without supply. For a look at how some companies are confronting this challenge, read the article "The Blowback of Reverse Auctions," the Final Thoughts column in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— For an in-depth look at how supplier diversity and supply chain enablement initiatives are coexisting within the enterprise today, see the article "Supplier Diversity and e-Procurement: Why Your Initiatives Are Not At Odds" in the August 2001 issue of iSource Business (now Supply & Demand Chain Executive).

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