About Hitachi Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 300,000 employees worldwide. In fiscal 2017 (ended March 31, 2017) consolidated revenues totalled over 9,000 billion yen (US$82.2 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials, logistics and financial services.
About Hitachi Europe Ltd.
Hitachi Europe Ltd (HEU) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., Japan. Headquartered in Maidenhead, UK, it has operations in 13 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and employs over 400 people.
Hitachi Europe comprises of nine business areas: rail systems; power and industrial systems; information systems; digital media and consumer products; display products; industrial components and equipment; air conditioning and refrigeration systems; manufacturing systems; and procurement and sourcing. Hitachi Europe also has three Research and Development laboratories and a design centre.
EDI and data exchange at Hitachi
Due to the huge volume of transactions to a wide variety of companies in different market sectors, HEU are major users of data exchange and EDI transactions. These are used across the business from sales to logistics, planning to inventory management. Interfaces are required to the main SAP R/3 system that is used throughout the company, as well as to a number of other applications.
HEU runs one single EDI gateway in Europe, which handles not only HEU’s requirements but also those of a number of other Hitachi subsidiaries.
PathFinder at Hitachi
Orion Consulting relationship with HEU dates back to 1998. In 2004 HEU chose to migrate to Orion's own PathFinder product, in order to provide a better platform to be able to support their businesses in the future.
Replacing the former system, based on two separate products and a large amount of bespoke scripting, PathFinder offered a single integrated EDI platform, handling all communications, message transformation, and system integration requirements. The PathFinder solution dramatically reduced the overhead of administering this large system, as specific files could be picked swiftly out from the large volume of data and inspected or tracked easily through the PathFinder client.
Since its implementation, PathFinder has drawn praise for not only the width of its functionality, incorporating the varied data formats and communications requirements of the Hitachi gateway, but also for its administrative ease of use by the HEU EDI team.
Growth of the system
PathFinder is used at HEU for all three of its roles—traditional EDI Translation and communications using a VAN, data exchange server for partners that use XML, CSV and other formats, and middleware tool to Interface between different internal applications. PathFinder is a business-critical part of the HEU infrastructure, running on redundant dedicated HP Unix hardware with failover systems in place to allow true 24/7 operation.
Since PathFinder’s first implementation for HEU, it has now become a message transfer gateway for other Hitachi companies, replacing their existing EDI and data exchange systems. This has both increased efficiency and reduced costs for the company as a whole.
"We have been using PathFinder since 2004 and we continue to be very impressed with what the product provides and the service we receive from Orion. PathFinder is very user friendly and gives excellent visibility of all the various processes. We are now acting as the EDI hub for several Hitachi companies and we couldn’t have done this without PathFinder."
Gillian Tew, EDI Manager, Hitachi Europe Ltd