Automating data exchange for common business processes creates business efficiency by eliminating time spent on paperwork and fixing errors from manually entered data. This in turn allows more time for store personnel to spend on store operation and management, as well as interaction with customers. Automation can be achieved through electronic document exchange of invoices, payment advice, item/price files, item/promo files, predelivery notices, and purchase orders.
While EDI (X12) has become synonymous with electronic file exchange, the complexities and infrastructure required to implement it is a barrier to many in the c-store and retail fuels environment. As an alternative, the Conexxus EB2B Retail Merchandise Committee created “NAXML.” Relying on XML (a coding language used to create schema that is both human and machine readable), NAXML is a more user friendly and readable format than EDI. In addition, implementers of NAXML have greater flexibility and reduced infrastructure needs.
NAXML schemas provide transmission information (e.g., ID, date, time of transmission, and status), as well as information regarding the parties involved in the file exchange (e.g., supplier and buyer). The schemas also provide support for reporting elements specific to each document type. For example, an invoice document includes the invoice number, invoice date, invoice details such as line items with identifications, descriptions, quantity, price, taxes, allowances, invoice totals, payment terms, and other information normally found on a paper invoice. When and how documents are exchanged and how data is populated in the documents must be agreed upon between the retailer and supplier before document exchange occurs.