One of the hottest topics in computing is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), this means that rather than re-typing something from one computer to another, it is transferred electronically. Whether this is done on your own network by copying files, or by throwing a floppy disc to your colleague, or by emailing information to a supplier or customer on broadband, it’s all EDI.

For those of you who run businesses, but aren’t keen on computers, all you need to know is this is the bit that will save you money!

EDI removes the need to employ someone to look at a page of computer print-outs from one system and to copy type it back into another computer system. This print-out could be an incoming sales order for some frames or glass, it could be your stock requirements for next week, or it could be your specialist bought to order components, for instance toughened single glass. It could also be an invoice or payment. As we all know, the supermarkets have been doing this for decades.

Clear Thinking have been doing a huge amount of evangelising work in this field, and their sealed unit program can accept glass orders from all of the major window program manufacturing programs (Business Micros, Caliburn, First Degree Systems and Windowmaker Software), some of the links will pick up the Georgian bar configuration with no further input from operators. This is particularly relevant to window firms who own their own glass factories.

At the other end of the supply chain, they have perfected their electronic toughened purchase ordering system which can then output to all the major glass software systems – including their own (Albat & Wirsam, Lisec, etc.).

For example, several of Clear Thinking’s larger customers in the 3000+ units per week bracket are now ordering their single toughened glass from Super Toughened Glass based in Park Royal, London. Super Toughened have recently made a huge investment in their infrastructure, and have been able to substantially increase the volume of orders processed with no extra office staff. “We’re not paying banks of people to sit and do a lot of boring re-typing, with all of the delays and inevitable human errors that you get in this job”, says Harish Kerai, “now orders are emailed to us, and imported straight into the system. This helps us to provide a 24 hour turnaround service as standard, rather than being an express service”.

So it doesn’t matter if your suppliers or customers are using alien computer systems to yours, these links can be made to work, talk to your software provider soon.