As its business grew, Rosenthal & Rosenthal wanted to ensure that it could continue to pay its clients in a timely manner—but managing multiple EDI systems made it difficult to process invoices quickly.
Rosenthal & Rosenthal consolidated multiple systems and processes for EDI to a centralized solution —enabling faster, more efficient transaction processing.
Cuts costs by USD60,000per year by dramatically reducing maintenance requirements
75% faster processingfor electronic transactions facilitates on-time client payments
100% reductionin client calls to the company’s helpdesk over a 12-month period
Business challenge story
Responsive services drive growth
For Rosenthal & Rosenthal—a leading provider of financial services headquartered in New York City, New York—delivering high-quality services is a top priority. The company aimed to continue to drive successful growth by adding new business without compromising on the high-quality services that its clients had come to expect. Mark Gorman, EDI Coordinator at Rosenthal & Rosenthal, takes up the story: “Advance factoring is one of our most popular services. Particularly for clients in seasonal industries, factoring provides the assurance that invoices can be converted into liquid capital rapidly to mitigate cash flow risks. “Because we receive such a large volumes of invoices, we rely on automation from our electronic data interchange [EDI] infrastructure to manage the factoring process cost-effectively from end to end. This includes sending statements, collecting cash and applying that cash to the relevant invoices. “Previously, we relied on four separate systems to manage our EDI processes, each from different vendors. As the business continued to grow, we recognized that the cost and complexity of managing and maintaining our EDI solutions was steadily increasing—threatening our ability to deliver high-quality experiences to our clients.” He continues: “For example, our previous EDI configuration forced us to run four separate process in hour-long batches, one after the other. If one of our clients sent an invoice and missed our first process of the day—even by a minute—their transaction had to wait four hours before it entered our end-user portal and they could actually see the transaction data and take the necessary action. “The result was that many of our clients were concerned that their transactions had slipped through, and would call our helpdesk to confirm that their data had been posted. To continue to delight our clients, we wanted a way to provide a faster EDI service for invoice processing, and timely updates about the status of their messages.”
Building a standardized solution
To solve the challenge, Rosenthal & Rosenthal decided to replace multiple approaches to EDI with a single, standardized solution based on IBM® Supply Chain Business Network Premium. “We were looking for a solution provider that could take all of our different trading-partner data feeds and consolidate them in a centralized platform,” recalls Mark Gorman. “We determined that IBM Supply Chain Business Network Premium would enable us to meet our key EDI requirements and more—and at a significantly lower cost than an on-premises solution.” Rosenthal & Rosenthal, working together with an expert team from IBM, analyzed its existing trading partner connections and planned the changes required to transition its EDI and FTP services to the IBM cloud. “Our IBM solution really represents a sea-change for EDI at Rosenthal & Rosenthal,” says Mark Gorman. “Thanks to IBM Supply Chain Business Network Premium, we were able to move away from time-consuming single-threaded EDI processing and adopt a multi-threaded approach. We knew that the IBM solution would enable us to offer a near-real time service to our clients—one of our key goals for the EDI project. “The IBM team’s assistance during the implementation phase was invaluable, and the go-live itself went very smoothly. From day one, I was receiving all of the expected end-user application data with no issues; it was almost like flipping on a switch.”
Faster processing, happier clients
With IBM Suply Chain Business Network Premium as its end-to-end EDI solution, Rosenthal & Rosenthal is achieving its goal of delivering a responsive, high-quality service to every client. “We can now run three of our 60-minute EDI mailbox processes in parallel,” explains Mark Gorman. “This multi-threaded approach enables us to shorten our transaction processing cycles from four hours to just one hour, a reduction of 75 percent. “Better still, once a transaction is sent into the IBM system, it is submitted to our end-user portal in near-real time, without any need for the added complexity of using mapping tools. The effect is that we can become far more responsive to our clients. Today, they have the confidence of knowing that our transaction cycles run like clockwork every 60 minutes, and that they can confirm on the status of the processing online at any time.” He adds: “Another consideration for selecting the IBM solution was its scalability. On occasions when a trading partner sent a very large volume of transactions, our internal mapping process could take more than 60 minutes to complete, and any overlap would cause application errors. With our EDI platform in the cloud, we can scale out our compute resources elastically—enabling us to process large volumes of transactions with no delays at all.”
In 2014, Rosenthal & Rosenthal seamlessly processed more than 5.3 million invoices in its IBM solution with a total value of USD6.9 billion. In that same year, the company also processed more than 584,000 credit requests and 25,300 electronic payments—and the company is now reaping the benefits of improved client satisfaction. “Before, it was not uncommon for client calls to be coming into our helpdesk every five minutes,” says Mark Gorman. “In the 12 months since our IBM solution went live, we have not had a single client call to our helpdesk—we’re delivering all the information they need online. Furthermore, the IBM cloud services infrastructure is extremely robust. We have not experienced a second of unplanned downtime, and we could hardly be more confident in the availability of the platform.” By migrating its EDI services into the secure IBM cloud, Rosenthal & Rosenthal is reducing its operational costs. “Naturally, our 100 percent reduction in client helpdesk calls has had a positive impact on our operational costs—but it’s not the only contributing factor,” says Mark Gorman. “Because our previous platform had so many separate moving parts, we were often in the position of firefighting maintenance issues. For example, when we discovered at the last minute that our certificates for a key trading partner had expired, the time and manual effort required to remedy the issue was substantial. “With IBM Supply Chain Business Network Premium, we avoid the cost and complexity associated with managing multiple EDI platforms—our infrastructure really does fade into the background. The result is that we have reduced our maintenance requirements by one and a half full-time equivalents, or the equivalent of USD60,000 per year.” Mark Gorman concludes: “As a growing business, we see the ability to maintain exceptional service quality as a powerful way to nurture the loyalty of our clients, and protect our hard-won reputation. Thanks to EDI in the IBM cloud, we are achieving just that.”
About Rosenthal & Rosenthal
Founded in 1938 and headquartered in New York, NY, Rosenthal & Rosenthal is a privately held finance company that provides factoring, asset-based lending, and specialty lending services to clients across a wide range of industries. Rosenthal ranks as one of the largest privately held firms in New York City, with annual volume in excess of USD8 billion.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Supply Chain Business Network Premium, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: https://www.ibm.com/marketplace/supply-chain-business-network-premium