MDX Web 2.0 was unveiled at July’s Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show in Las Vegas, where John Warnik, MDX program manager, was on hand to offer attendees demonstrations of how the new system works.
“Based on feedback that we’ve gotten in the past six months, we re-upped the program and made a significant reinvestment in it,” Warnik said. “The product really wasn’t as robust as it should have been.”
Most of the changes that were made revolve around user friendliness and time-saving issues. Warnik said that receiving and acknowledging documents was a very tedious process in the first MDX program, with a lot of time required to fill in the necessary fields of various documents. But there were other shortcomings as well.
For example, a purchaser would take the time to enter all the information necessary to complete an order, but the supplier could basically only send back a confirmation notice. Other important information, such as word that an entire order wasn’t able to be filled, could not be included.
“Nobody was using the Web version, because the first go-round wasn’t very efficient,” Warnik said.
However, efficiency is now much improved, so that reciprocal documents are automatically populated with detail and fields from the source document, Warnik said. Other changes include the flagging of required fields, allowing corrections or edits to be made without having to fill in the whole document again, and the automatic population of other documents as well.
With the improvements and the release of MDX Web 2.0, the hope is that smaller OEMs as well as distributors and dealerships will use the Web-based program to interact with one another and also with larger companies that are already fully integrated in their communications with each other.
Warnik says companies like Donovan Marine, Sierra International and Taylor Made currently trade text files back and forth via an ftp system in which they’ve decided what the fields will be and the rules for their trading partners. They send those files back and forth through an intermediary server that MDX offers.
“We call those folks integrated because they are spending the time to do field mapping and other things to their accounting and data systems and making a significant investment in that,” Warnik said.
MDX Web 2.0 is a way for companies that can’t afford those kinds of expenses to get in on the act too. The program is fully on the Internet so that all that is needed is an account in the system. Users then log into the account where they have a mailbox that contains the documents sent from their trading partners.
“[Larger companies] can now interact with people using this system when those smaller companies don’t have the capacity to do file transfer back and forth,” Warnik said. “So it doesn’t really matter whether your trading partners are fully integrated behind the scenes or not.
“Now the little guys can use this system and it gives them some efficiency, and relatively inexpensively, to trade with people electronically and eliminate phone calls and faxes, have a spam-free mailbox - and all the other stuff that you have to deal with, with email - that’s dedicated just to ordering.”
Because of the investments the larger companies have made to trade electronically, some have begun to offer discounts to partners that trade with them via that method. Warnik credits Donovan Marine as one of the companies that has really done a lot to get the program off the ground.
“Donovan Marine is really driving this thing,” he said. “They’re requesting people use this and they’ve brought a lot of business into it.”
Other companies are also coming on board such as Interlux and ITT Jabsco, according to Warnik.
“We'll stay on this version 2.0 for a while,” he said. “It was pretty significant, the stuff that we built into it. It looks pretty much the same, but there is a lot more functionality. So it works as advertised, it works really well now.”