SFTP Connector Enables Automation and Logistics for STIHL

Founded more than 90 years ago, STIHL is best known as the world's top-selling chainsaw brand. Through the decades, STIHL has expanded to develop, manufacture, and distribute a wide range of power tools for the forestry, agriculture, construction, gardening, and landscaping sectors. STIHL distributes its products through a network of 45,000 approved dealers in more than 160 countries. The German toolmaker has 38 sales and marketing subsidiaries of its own and more than 120 importers. STIHL posted more than $4.3 billion in sales during 2017.

mG miniGears is an Italian-owned company with manufacturing facilities in Italy, Germany, China, and the United States (Virginia Beach, VA). Originally founded in 1976, mG miniGears merged with Herzog in 2015. Today, mG miniGears is a global market leader in the design, manufacture and sale of small modular gears, reducers, and powder metallurgy components. These are all critical components in the production of STIHL power tools.

The Challenge: Relaying Automated Efficiencies Throughout the Supply Chain

Like many of the world's largest manufacturers, STIHL has built a mature IT infrastructure with a robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) system used to streamline and automate business processes. The next logical step for enterprises like STIHL is to extend those processes and automations to industry partners, integrating upstream and downstream enterprises into the entire supply chain to save labor costs, improve efficiency, and reduce error rate.

As a result, small and medium-sized businesses often receive invitations from enterprise customers to interface with their electronic data integration (EDI) systems. An EDI is a system that can automatically transfer and process business documents, such as orders and invoices, between enterprises through a web-based communication network.

To capture the full benefits of its automated systems, STIHL worked to extend its business process automation to industry partner mG miniGears using the SFTP EDI transfer protocol.

STIHL and mG miniGears had several crucial requirements for their integration. They needed an SFTP Connector that could:

  • Directly configure the information on STIHL's server, where documents are directly uploaded and downloaded.
  • Achieve direct connectivity between the two companies' IT systems, providing an efficient, secure, and reliable EDI solution.
  • Align EDI messages with real-world business functions to obtain the data information needed by both parties.

The Solution: a Reliable EDI SFTP Connector

STIHL and mG miniGears selected the ArcESB SFTP Connector, which is a professional-grade file management transport solution that provides powerful automation and security features. The connector links directly to the client server, providing a simple operation and instantaneous transfer speeds.

The overall business scenario is as follows:

  • EDI Transfer Protocol: SFTP
  • EDI Standard Type: EDIFACT
  • Business type: DELFOR (miniGears receives)
  • Delivery Plan DESADV (miniGears sends)
  • Shipment Notification Business Conversion Type: EDI <-> Excel

In combination with the secure transmission of the SFTP Connector, the EDI standard DELFOR and DESADV files are successfully transmitted to provide customers with a complete EDI system. The business mapping is organized according to the specific business processes of both STIHL and mG miniGears and meets all STIHL specifications. In accordance with the EDI specification provided by STIHL, the integration parses the EDI message format into an excel file that can be visually seen.

The integration uses the following process:

  1. The EDI system docking solution first receives the EDI file transmitted by STIHL through the SFTP Connector, and the file is then developed and parsed into excel format.
  2. When miniGears needs to send a file to STIHL, the connector transforms Excel files into EDI format files.
  3. The files are then connected to STIHL's system via SFTP.

Using the ArcESB user interface, the entire process can easily be automated and set up in just one minute!

The Results: Seamless Integration, Happy Customers, Efficient Supply Chain

With the ArcESB SFTP Connector, STIHL has successfully relayed its internal business process automations to its key components supplier, mG miniGears. The integration allowed mG miniGears to meet all the supply chain needs of STIHL.

The STIHL integration was supported by an ArcESB featured EDI integrator, providing mG miniGears a fast, seamless, and effective integration. Today, the two companies enjoy a steady EDI connection with high-quality support.