COVID-19 Statement

COVID-19 Update 

March 23, 2020

Commport has been advised that due to the current unprecedented pandemic event and subsequent reliance on telecommunications, there are widespread and intermittent issues with voice calls being processed by Rogers, Commport’s voice telephone service provider.

Rogers is working very hard to expand, optimize and improve its network infrastructure as quickly as possible and is responding to service incidents as they are reported and investigated. That said, there may be times when calls are not able to be connected, are dropped or are otherwise of poor quality.

Please know that the Commport Network is up and running and the Commport team is ready and available to help you if you need any kind of assistance with Commport products or services.

As a part of our COVID-19 response plan and in protection of our staff and community, Commport has instituted a work from home policy. We are very fortunate to be able to offer this capability to our staff and customers as we continue to provide high quality support services on a remote basis, just like we do every day.

If you are not able to reach us by telephone on our main line, please reach out via email. Our actively monitored support email address is support@commport.com.

Please continue to check back here for updates as they become available. 

COVID-19 Statement

March 13, 2020

As COVID-19 has made its way across the globe and The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we at Commport want to ensure that our employees, customers and partners are supported.

Commport has updated our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to ensure business continues as normal while minimizing any potential disruption.

Commport’s standard work from home policy has been updated to include unrestricted access for all employees to work remotely and the use of web tools to hold meetings via video call, if necessary.

Online web tools will be utilized to eliminate outside visitors within the building.

Any business travel has been put on a temporary hold until April 30, 2020, at which time this decision will be reassessed based on current health and travel advisories.

Commport owns and operates our own data center so all business systems are to continue as normal during this event.

Commport has strongly encouraged our employees to follow government guidelines and procedures to reduce the chances of infection and spread of the virus.  

We appreciate our employees, customers and partners’ cooperation to ensure business will continue as normal. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your Customer Success Manager or Commport Support.

Please continue to monitor Commport's Website for further information and developments as they become available.

QUICK LINKS

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak Information from the World Health Organization. 

 

Retail Council of Canada – Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series Event

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Retail Council of Canada

Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series Event

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Speaker: Alan MacDonald, Executive Vice-President, Retail, Canadian Tire Corporation

I attended another RCC retail event this morning to hear the Canadian Tire success story from Allan MacDonald, who runs the retail businesses.  It was another very candid and informative session. Diane Brisebois, the CEO of RCC, was on the stage with Allan, and she was asking pertinent and sometimes hardball questions to Allan. Allan did not disappoint and responded with thorough, candid, insightful answers.

CTC is not only doing well, they are making very smart strategic decisions that are helping them grow their business, increase loyalty, protect market share and increase ROI. My biggest takeaway, which Allan mentioned many times, is they make all their business decisions using, in his words, “Data and Analytics”. For over three years this has been their methodology. Allan indicated that their top 200 executives have all talked a one week course on data and analytic decision making skills. He gave a timely example of how data and analytics works. In Nova Scotia they sell 75% left-hand shot hockey sticks and in BC they sell 75% right–hand shot hockey sticks. This is the type of data they have right down to the store level. And, due their loyalty programs and 10 million people who carry a CTC MasterCard, they have it at the customer level.

Commport exchanges EDI procurement data with CTC pretty much every day and being a data company ourselves, we are continuing to promote our Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) services.

New Year, New ERP?

New Year, New ERP?

Many companies realize the importance of streamlining their supply chain processes - the myriad of benefits reaped from automating manual processes in order to better manage large volumes of paperwork, reduce hours of administrative duties, and reduce the potential for errors that could be encountered at any step of the supply chain process.

When companies make it a priority to invest in a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, a large investment for any size company. A common mistake companies, regardless of size, seem to make when preparing to move to a new ERP business system is not involving EDI experts earlier in the process.  Most companies tend to place EDI on the bottom of the priority list.

The backbone of your business comes from your ability to fulfill customer orders and, in turn, receive prompt payment for those products.  The most important factor in streamlining your supply chain process is ensuring you can integrate purchase orders received from your customers, as well as issue invoices as simply and efficiently as possible.  A key component of establishing full integration is ensuring your import and export data files have mapping layouts available for your EDI solution provider to utilize when setting you up to trade with your customers.

Commport’s EDI analysts run into issues when brought in too late in the game. Some of these issues arise from third party IT professionals creating import and export files without knowledge of EDI standards and best practices. Companies are then forced to pay additional third party fees to revise layouts once they begin working with their EDI solution provider, resulting in a large amount of back and forth between your EDI provider and ERP system provider, thus causing your implementation fees to skyrocket.  Consulting subject matter experts early in the process allows them to work together with your ERP system support team to create/generate the correct EDI or flat file (.csv, .xml etc.) output and input files in a single effort, resulting in large monetary and time savings.  

ordermanagement

When considering the move to a new ERP system, call your EDI solution provider to provide consultative services to ensure you are following EDI standards and best practices when setting up your supply chain internal processes. Our implementers’ extensive experience assisting with these migrations provides invaluable direction on simplifying and streamlining your processes and creating correct import and export files to best suit your business needs.

To aid you in selecting an ERP business system, or planning your company’s migration to a new ERP software, Commport has created a checklist of items to review. We have also indicated the times at which investing in EDI consulting from your EDI provider is recommended and highlighted any red flags that should alert you to a possible software inadequacy.

Review

Review the supply chain and logistics components of the new ERP system to ensure you will be able to fully integrate your EDI documents.

EDI Consulting

Secure the consultative services of your EDI provider at this point in the process to help review the EDI components of the business system you are considering and to advise you on the pros and cons of the EDI platform it provides.

Import/Export?

Ensure the EDI component of the business system has the ability to import/export data files containing all the information in your documents.

Mapping Layouts?

Look into whether or not your system has file mapping layouts that identifying all data locations in the data file required for import/export documents.

File Format Sample

Provide the exact output file format (sample) that your EDI Provider will be creating to import/export to and from your ERP system.

Sample Data

Does the ERP system provide sample data files for each transaction required together with the data file map?

Best Practices

If the files are not readily available, involve your EDI provider’s Implementation Analyst to consult with your team and the third party ERP system support in reviewing your supply chain processes, offering recommendations and providing feedback on EDI standards and best practices, as well assisting with mapping your documents.

TP Contacts

Ensure you have EDI contacts for all of your Trading Partners.

Contact US!

When in doubt, contact the subject matter experts, your EDI provider.

RED FLAGS

No mapping layouts of the required formats for both import and export files.

Cannot provide sample files of import and export formats from their business system.

Staff unable or unqualified to map a file into your ERP.

Download a usable copy Here!

Home Hardware Changes – Article by Hardlines.ca

Providing EDI services to Home Hardware and their supplier community for the past 14 years, Commport has come to see just how in touch Home Hardware is with their community focused, members first attitude.

Over the last number of months we have been working with Home Hardware to onboard many suppliers to become EDI compliant. Their goal is to “tighten and strengthen the relationship between Home Hardware and their vendor base”.

Published by Hardlines (www.hardlines.ca), titled “Home Hardware CEO seeks change while preserving a distinct culture”,  highlights changes that are being made by the new Home Hardware CEO, Kevin Macnab; to read a preview of the article go to: https://hardlines.ca/gp_dailynews/home-hardware-ceo-seeks-change-while-preserving-a-distinct-culture/.

It’s been a pleasure working closely with Home Hardware and their supplier community making their business processes more efficient. We welcome the opportunity to continue to work with Home Hardware in the future to reach their goals.

Retail Council of Canada Annual STORE Conference

rcc

Commport’s Brian Miles attended the RCC STORE event May 28 -29 at the Toronto Congress Centre. RCC has done a great job of growing its membership, expanding the STORE Conference and attracting both sought after speakers and over 2,000 attendees to the STORE event.

This two day event had a number of noteworthy speakers. Diane Brisebois, the RCC President and CEO opened the conference telling the story of the RCC success over the past few years. Kevin Graff, President of Graff Retail TV was the MC for the 2-day event and kept everyone on schedule and showed a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge in introducing each new speaker.

Day 1 had one of Canada’s leading retail guru’s, Tony Chapman, presenting and then interviewing other quests. Day 2 was highlighted by a presentation from Walter ROBB, CEO Whole Foods and then Michael LeBlanc coming on stage to interview Walter.

The overriding theme of the STORE Conference was change in the retail sector. In the news it talks about the demise of retail but in fact in a lot of areas retail sales are growing. The integration of retail with eComm and all facets of a business “omni-channel” is now getting more sophisticated by leveraging big data, AI and most of all, experimenting with new and different ways to attract, retain and excite customers. It is the growth on omni-channel that is bringing customers back to stores.

Everyone keeps hearing about the amazing success of Amazon and other eComm sites, and they are growing quickly, but the almost “shocking” news we heard is that on-line sales only represent 8% of the total Canadian government retails sales number; it is 10% in the US. The major reason for these low numbers is that retail spend also include cars, gas, all food bought in-store or restaurants and other categories.

My compliments to Diane and the RCC staff as I learned a lot, met some new contacts and was inspired to make a few changes in what I do.... Great Event.  – Brian Miles

 

Commport Attends MEDEC MedTech Conference

Commport attended MEDEC MEDTech 2019 Conference on April 3rd. Although not as well attended as some have been in the past, the topics and presentations were well done and extremely relevant.  Many of the presentations were formatted using highly interactive panelists in a relaxed atmosphere.  The focus for the most part was on Innovation in Healthcare and involved Patient Outcomes as part of the discussion.  In a few panel discussions, actual patients were on stage and involved.

The highlight of Day One of the Conference was the final speaker of the day, Mr. Stan Cho, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board of Ontario.  Mr. Cho spoke about the “New Entity” plans for Healthcare and what exactly that means.  He made clear reference to the Export Panel Report and how that report illustrates that savings of $500 million can be achieved with very little turmoil in the market.  The New Entity plans, as he presented, are to follow the recommendations of that report. 

Mr. Cho presented a cost-saving example using rubber gloves.  Rubber gloves are an item procured by the healthcare market in large numbers, but at varying prices depending on the hospital’s contract with the supplier.  By having a single entity procure rubber gloves for all hospitals, there would be a single contract price for those gloves, with potential cost savings of an additional $500 million with minimal effort.

Commport, of course, supports this undertaking and is highly supportive of the single entity concept after seeing how well our project in British Columbia is going.      


MEDEC is the national association representing the medical technology industry in Canada. Our members are committed to providing safe and innovative medical technologies that enhance the quality of patient care, improve patient access to health care, and help enable the sustainability of our publicly-funded health care system. We are committed to supporting the growth of a strong and vibrant medical technology industry that contributes to Canada’s innovation economy. www.medec.org 

Consider Moving to a New ERP System?

Many companies realize the importance of streamlining their supply chain processes - the myriad of benefits reaped from automating manual processes in order to better manage large volumes of paperwork, reduce hours of administrative duties, and reduce the potential for errors that could be encountered at any step of the supply chain process.  Companies make it a priority to invest in a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, a large investment for any size company. A common mistake companies, regardless of size, seem to make when preparing to move to a new ERP business system is not involving EDI experts earlier in the process.  Most companies tend to place EDI on the bottom of the priority list.

The backbone of your business comes from your ability to fulfill customer orders and, in turn, receive prompt payment for those products.  The most important factor in streamlining your supply chain process is ensuring you can integrate purchase orders received from your customers, as well as issue invoices as simply and efficiently as possible.  A key component of establishing full integration is ensuring your import and export data files have mapping layouts available for your EDI solution provider to utilize when setting you up to trade with your customers.  Commport’s EDI analysts run into issues when brought in too late in the game. Some of these issues arise from third party IT professionals creating import and export files without knowledge of EDI standards and best practices. Companies are then forced to pay additional third party fees to revise layouts once they begin working with their EDI solution provider, resulting in a large amount of back and forth between your EDI provider and ERP system provider, thus causing your implementation fees to skyrocket.  Consulting subject matter experts early in the process allows them to work together with your ERP system support team to create/generate the correct EDI or flat file (.csv, .xml etc.) output and input files in a single effort, resulting in large monetary and time savings.  

When considering the move to a new ERP system, call your EDI solution provider to provide consultative services to ensure you are following EDI standards and best practices when setting up your supply chain internal processes. Our implementers’ extensive experience assisting with these migrations provides invaluable direction on simplifying and streamlining your processes and creating correct import and export files to best suit your business needs.

To aid you in selecting an ERP business system, or planning your company’s migration to a new ERP software, Commport has created a checklist of items to review. We have also indicated the times at which investing in EDI consulting from your EDI provider is recommended and highlighted any red flags that should alert you to a possible software inadequacy.

ERP Checklist

RCC’s Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series – October 17

On October 17, 2018 Commport was excited to attend the Retail Council of Canada’s Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series* featuring Sarah Davis, CEO of Loblaws. RCC’s CEO, Diane Brisebois interviewed Sarah on stage in front of over 400 people and asked a number of pertinent questions related to Loblaw and Canadian retail industry. 

Sarah is a gifted communicator and answered all the questions with a lot of clarity, depth and honesty in telling the Loblaw story and handling hot topics such as on-line competition and how the largest Canadian retailer manages its various loyalty and credit cards. The Loblaw story is a great Canadian success story and with Sarah at the helm it appears to be in very solid hands.

*The Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series provides an exclusive and unique opportunity for vendors and suppliers of goods and services to hear directly from senior leaders of Canada’s biggest retail brands. https://www.retailcouncil.org/ 

The Security of EDI Data

The Security of EDI Data 


 

Since 1975, corporations of all sizes have put their trust into Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to exchange commercial transactions with their trading partner community, and since 1984, they have relied and put their trust into Value Added Networks (VANs) to move these transactions in a Store & Forward model for data handling.

Commport entered the EDI Services industry and became a VAN in 1985, and built a reputation for service and customer support based upon adding to and justifying this trust.

A 'Value-Added Network (VAN)' is defined as a private network provider hired by a company to facilitate electronic data interchange (EDI) and/or provide other network services such as message encryption, message translation, and management reporting. 

Edi Security

When a company hires or contracts with a VAN, that company trusts that their data will be safe from loss and kept confidential between them and the trading partner, and that the VAN will manage this delivery request and any returned transactions.  The ability to maintain the trust of the VAN or VANs involved depends upon the security of these deliveries – they went where they were supposed to go and nowhere else.

For almost one year now (all of 2017), Commport has been receiving misrouted EDI transactions from Global Health Exchange (GHX) who seem incapable of or unwilling to correct this very serious issue. In the retail world, such transgressions would not be tolerated and the perpetrator would suffer financially as confidential information between competitors could be involved. 

That is why all internal processes involved in handling Customer data have been developed to ensure at every step that the data is correctly formatted, correctly routed and correctly delivered to destination.  If an issue is found, the application involved immediately alerts Support and the issue is addressed within minutes.  For over 30 years, Commport has ensured that retailers and their vendors or customers get the correct data.

However, the traffic involved is Healthcare related which means not just money but patient safety is involved, and that is serious business.  In one three month period, traffic from one manufacturer experienced a 60% misroute issue with EDI destined for one hospital misrouted to another.  The costs to find and correct this issue at the hospital, at Commport and at the manufacturer are significant, but just as importantly the trust is beginning to wane for the trading partners involved.  Patient safety becomes the major concern.

In general, it is not nice to hang a competitor’s dirty laundry out for all to see, but we repeat, Patient safety is a major concern. To learn more on how  Commport can protect your EDI, visit here.

How Do I Start Doing EDI?

How Do I Start Doing EDI?

EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is a method of exchanging business transactions between parties, electronically. Based on internationally recognized standards, EDI is used to support a diverse range of  important business processes such as supply chain management (purchase orders, shipment notifications, invoicing), business reporting (sales volume, payment status) and healthcare management (insurance claims). In fact, every time your dentist files your visit claim with your insurance company, they do so using EDI!

Most organizations embark on an EDI journey in response to an identified business problem or opportunity. Many times a large customer will ask to exchange their supply chain transactions using EDI and that is oftentimes the starting point. Other times, organizations find themselves in the position that they don’t have the information they need, when they need it, which leads them to the use of EDI to help solve that problem.

So, you have found yourself embarking on an EDI journey… but you aren’t sure what path you should take.

Some questions to consider:

  • Are you familiar with EDI?
  • Do you have an existing EDI solution?

         o    What do you like about it?

         o   What don’t you like about it?

         o   What would you like to see changed?

  • Are you responding to a customer mandate?

         o   How much business do you have with that customer?

         o   Do you have other customers who have requested an EDI connection with you that you haven’t actioned?

         o   How much business do you have with that (those) customer(s)?

  • What resources do you have available to spend on EDI?

         o   In terms of the initial selection of a solution or provider as well as on a day to day basis?

  • What systems and business processes are you already using?
  • How will engaging with an EDI process affect your operations?
  • Should you consider integration?
  • Are you getting the information you need to operate your business, in a timely fashion?
  • What kind of timeline are you working towards?

 

The answers to each of these questions help inform your EDI journey. To learn more about EDI click here