E*Trade, the Sri Lankan distributor for EDIasia, has installed REDI-to-Wear in three of the country's most important garment manufacturers. Two of them, Hirdaramani Garments and Lux Shirts, are important suppliers to the New York based buying company Liz Claiborne Inc.

EDIasia provides specialised business-to-business electronic commerce (EDI) solutions for Asian exporters in the textile and garment industries, and recognises that any change to business processes can be painful unless it is handled properly. EDIasia's EDI support manager Jimmy Cheng worked with Nalaka Devendra and his team at E*Trade to ensure that the management and staff of the factories saw the introduction of EDI as a business bonus.

Whether for the merchandising managers interrogating the incoming purchase orders, the shipping managers managing the despatch of the finished goods, or the production staff packing the garments to Liz Claiborne's instructions, REDI-to-Wear had to be easy to use and, most important of all, it had to provide quick visible benefits.

Training at both factories encouraged the staff to get involved as early as possible, and on-screen messages were provided in Sinhala - their native language.

Both Hirdaramani and Lux Shirts are initially using REDI-to-Wear to receive Liz Claiborne purchase orders at one of their factories. These pioneers of EDI in Sri Lanka are not simply talking about EDI - they have implemented it and are working to make its introduction a catalyst for further business improvements.

As Hirdaramani's merchandising manager explained: "When the local Liz Claiborne office calls us up to ask how the packing is progressing I can use REDI-to-Wear to see exactly how many garments have been packed ready for loading. Before I had to go and look for myself."

Another big advantage of REDI-to-Wear is that from the one operation of scanning the barcode labels on each garment as it is packed, most of the necessary documentation can be produced without any extra effort. The software produces an electronic packing list (known as an advance ship notice - ASN) that is sent to Liz Claiborne so that the company knows exactly what will arrive in its distribution centres. It also provides a printed packing list that has to accompany the goods to satisfy Customs and other regulatory and administrative requirements.

And of course, the carton labels identify each individual carton and its contents, so that on receipt Liz Claiborne does not need to open the box to know what's inside. Last but not least, the invoice can be generated from the same data without any re-keying - and therefore no mistakes that might delay payment.

E*Trade has also implemented EDI in one of the largest Sri Lankan suppliers to Gap Inc. In the medium term this company will use REDI-to-Wear to transparently link with the new ERP system that will control its production operations at various factories.

About EDIasia
Hong Kong based EDIasia (formerly trading as The EDI Shop) provides specialised business-to-business electronic commerce (EDI) solutions for Asian exporters particularly in the textile and garment industries.

REDI-to-Wear is a specialised product that links Asian suppliers with their buyers in Europe and North America. It is certified, or approved, for suppliers to 15 buying groups including GAP Inc, Liz Claiborne, Debenhams, Lands' End and House of Fraser. Already 50 manufacturing groups are using REDI-to-Wear with an expected customer base reaching 500 by mid-2001.

A series of distributors around Asia provide local support for REDI-to-Wear in their own territories. E*Trade (Pvt) Ltd is the distributor covering Sri Lanka and the Maldives.