Futaba UK

Futaba benefits from monitored managed service

When Futaba Industrial UK Ltd, a subsidiary of leading Japanese automotive manufacturer Futaba Industrial Co Ltd, found itself without a sustainable EDI solution to accommodate a lucrative new contract with a leading tier one automotive manufacturer, Data Interchange was on hand to assist. Combining the functionality of a fully scalable EDI solution with a bespoke monitoring component, the Data Interchange managed service enabled Futaba to exchange messages with their new trading partner and become an EDI-ready business for the future.

Based in the heart of Derbyshire, Futaba UK was established in 2004 and specialises in the automated welding and manufacture of high quality vehicle sub-assemblies for two vehicle platforms. Adopting the ‘Just-in-time’ (JIT) manufacturing model to streamline production processes, Futaba UK achieves an impressive four-hour order-to-supply turnaround, which has secured a diverse portfolio of automotive customers.

In 2015, Futaba UK secured a profitable new contract to supply fuel pipes for a new range of vehicles due to go into production in early 2017. A requirement of the contract was the adoption of a mandated EDI approach and accompanying standards. Realising this meant that it would need to replace its existing EDI system, Futaba UK began to consider its options.

At the time, Futaba UK was using an alternative vendor to supply its EDI service. Whilst this business relationship had begun promisingly, poor technical support and constant upgrade costs had raised questions about the long-term viability of the service. Data Interchange was recommended as a potential new supplier by Infinity, Futaba’s JIT service provider, as Matt Cooper, Information Systems Analyst at Futaba UK, explained:

"Having been told that our existing vendor would not be able to provide a solution scalable for our future needs, coupled with our own reservations about support and cost, we asked who we could call and Data Interchange’s name came up."

Futaba UK contacted Data Interchange and outlined what it needed: a monitored OFTP2 EDI solution to facilitate its entire order processing cycle. "We really wanted a service with localised and dedicated support," Cooper says. "We wanted to ensure that any issues were diagnosed and dealt with as quickly as possible.

The Data Interchange Solution

Data Interchange recommended a managed service to consolidate Futaba UK’s requirements into a single solution and provide a high level of dedicated support. Deploying its EDI integration platform, Odex Enterprise, in conjunction with a secure OFTP2 connection, Data Interchange set up a mailbox on the Dinet integration network to allow Futaba UK to exchange EDI messages. Dinet is Data Interchange’s global B2B messaging network that enables companies to exchange business critical documents with trading partners across the world.

The solution allowed Futaba UK to create and send EDI messages and convert invoices sent from their trading partners into the Futaba UK in-house file format via a series of monitored directories set up in Odex Enterprise. The second part of the solution drew on the expertise of Data Interchange’s managed services team to proactively monitor Futaba UK’s connections and file transactions.

Continually ensuring Futaba UK’s connections are working correctly and that files are being processed successfully, the managed services team can immediately take steps to rectify any issues that may affect the timely transmission of files. Commenting on this element of the solution, Cooper enthused: "In addition to making things so much more straightforward, the support we have received from Data Interchange has been fantastic and has really given us the peace of mind we were after."

The Benefits

The Data Interchange solution enabled Futaba UK to take on a new contract and to easily and quickly adopt a new EDI approach. The managed service element has also provided Futaba UK with dedicated and localised support to ensure that connections and files are monitored at all times. The ‘future-readiness’ of the Data Interchange solution was demonstrated only monthsafter completion, when Futaba UK needing to exchange additional messages with a new trading partner, Toyota. With a different set of requirements, Toyota needed to send Futaba UK a monthly invoice file to consolidate all transactions.

Data Interchange set up a bespoke, secure and direct connection between Futaba UK and Toyota that operated outside of its original solution, requiring no additional components. Commenting on Data Interchange, Cooper says: "I would definitely recommend Data Interchange. The service is brilliant and the solution was completed on time and has everything we need."

Next Steps

For further information, please contact a member of the commercial team
+44 (0) 1733 371311