EDI and the Potato Chip

I know, right?  You’re probably wondering, “what does EDI, short for the industry standard Electronic Data Interchange, and a potato chip have in common?”  If you’re literally comparing the two items, then probably nothing.  But if you think about how technology can be used to solve problems, you’re on the right track.  As an experienced EDI evangelist, I’ve come to realize that all computer technology should improve efficiency, be reliable, and solve problems.  When I was getting my start in the EDI world, I worked for a different software company.  At the time in the late 90’s, we were asked to solve a problem using our EDI technology that other larger companies turned down, making the challenge even more appealing.

Before buying books online and utilizing dial modem/telephone technology, we were approached by a major Potato Chip retailer.  I won’t name names, but you’ve probably seen their advertising at the Super Bowl each year.  The situation was this.  How do we get all the potato growers (farmers) to communicate with the major Potato Chip retailer and make the process as efficient as possible?  What were they communicating you ask?  The size of their potato crop and when it would be harvested and ready for pickup.  Well, if your goal is to communicate efficiently between multiple parties in a common language then EDI makes perfect sense. (Rocket EDX comes to mind as well.)  That’s exactly what it was designed to do.  The farmers simply needed a computer and software that allowed them to type the data needed into a form, then that data was translated to EDI and communicated to the major Potato Chip retailer.  The clever name for all this EDI greatness was called PIX or Potato Information Exchange.

I don’t think this is still happening today; maybe someone wrote an API to do this, but it reminds me every time I eat a yummy potato chip that technology and software probably played a part in making that salty snack available to me.

“Calling all MV customers and partners – did you know Rocket has an EDI solution and that we’d love to talk to you about how we can help solve your EDI needs?”, asks Mike Winsor.

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Mike Winsor 1 Posts

Mike Winsor is a Senior Product Manager at Rocket Software responsible for the product roadmap of the Rocket EDX’s EDI and integration product. Mike started his career in EDI over 25 years ago and leverages his wealth of knowledge and experiences to create a world class EDI solution for the up and coming EDI users of the world.


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