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Simplix-W Information
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Frequently Asked Questions


Contents

+ General Information and Requirements
+ Certification and Compliance
+ Pricing
+ Communication Capabilities
+ Interconnectability
+ Software Features and Capabilities
+ Translation and Mapping
+ Reporting
+ Security
+ Training and Support
+ Special Services
+ Other Questions

General
Information
and
Requirements

What type of services are provided?

Simplix-W allows clients access their Simplix home page using standard Internet browsing software. Clients can view Requests for Quotations (RFQs) and respond to them by filling out the associated response form. Clients also receive one-to-one messages (such as Purchase Orders and fill orders on blanket purchase agreements).

What is the industry coverage of the VAN (transportation, government, etc.)?

United States Federal Government.

What is the geographical coverage of the VAN (regional, national, international)?

International.

What hardware does the VAN and the VAN's software require?

Simplix-W clients may use the computer platform of their choice, providing they also have internet access and a web browser which supports forms.

Does Simplix offer a software program for companies using Apple computers?

Yes, Simplix-W can run from any computer that has access to the World Wide Web, including Apple computers, Unix workstations, and some mainframes.

Does Simplix offer LAN compatible software?

Yes, Simplix-W can be used over a LAN.

Does the software provide key entry screens and user-defined print formats to operate in a Workstation environment?

No. However, customers using the Simplix-W service may take advantage of whatever features are present in their web browsing software.

What EDI standards does the VAN support (i.e., ANSI X12, EDIFACT)?

We support the following ANSI X12 versions: 2003, 2040, 3010, 3020, 3040, 3050, 3070, and 4010.

Do you support older X12 versions?

We support only those versions used by the federal government.

Is Simplix's VAN system in full operation?

Yes.

Does Simplix have commercial EDI?

Yes, Simplix supports commercial trading partners. Because of the wide variety of transaction sets, network connections, and differing X12 conventions, Simplix needs additional information to price commercial EDI support. If you provide the trading partner and point of contact, Simplix will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.

The critical information is:

  • the name of the company

  • the EDI point of contact

  • the point of contact's telephone number

  • the point of contact's email address

  • the VAN(s) used by the commercial trading partner

Currently, Simplix has interconnect agreements in place with Advantis, AT&T, Kleinschmidt, and Sterling Commerce, and are in the process of negotiating additional interconnect agreements.

Does Simplix provide RFQ sortation services to provide customers with only those Government solicitations which fit their business?

Yes. Customers may select RFQs by FSC, Keyword, site, manufacturer, part number, local stock number, and NSN (national stock number). Customers may mix and match criteria. Customers may select up to 2,000 keywords. This service is included in our basic fee.


Certification
and
Compliance

Has the VAN been Certified by the Federal Electronic Commerce Acquisition Program Management Office and signed the Certification Agreement for EDI VAN services?

Yes, Simplix is DoD, FACNET, and GATEC certified.

Does the VAN comply to ANSI X12 standards?

Yes.

Does the software perform compliance checking?

Yes.

How does Simplix ensure only transaction sets which meet the X12 standards are sent?

Rigorous testing of the software and VAN service. Non-compliant messages cannot be sent using our software/service.

Has the VAN established a Government supplier trading partner registration capability?

Yes, although in January 2001, the Department of Defense ceased accepting EDI registrations to Central Contractor Registration (CCR) through any Value Added Network. You must go to the CCR web site, (https://ccr.dlsc.dla.mil/) to create or update your registration.

Will you register us electronically with the federal government?

Yes, Simplix will register you with the non-CCR registration systems, including Defense Supply Center Richmond, Defense Supply Center Columbus, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia General and Industrial, GATEC, and Veteran's Affairs. There is no additional charge for these services, and you may update your registration at any time.

What formats and transaction sets are supported?

  • 2003: 810, 824, 836, 838, 840, 841, 843, 850, 864, 997

  • 2040: 810, 840, 850, 997

  • 3010: 810, 824, 836, 840, 841, 843, 850, 860, 864, 997

  • 3020: 838s

  • 3040: 810, 820, 824, 836, 838, 840, 843, 850, 855, 864, 997

  • 3050: 810, 824, 832, 836, 838, 840, 841, 843, 850, 855, 864, 997

  • 3070: 824, 836, 864, 997

  • 4010: 824, 838, 997

What about testing?

Testing is not required. Simplix's software has been certified by the DoD, exempting Simplix customers from federal testing requirements.

Will Simplix access all transaction sets (documents) utilized by the federal agencies and will all new transaction sets be provided as they are introduced?

Yes.

Is the software preprogrammed to use the proper response Version of the ANSI X12 standards and/or conventions, or must the user program the proper response based upon the Version used by the buying office? Will the software automatically utilize the latest version?

Yes, our service is designed to respond with the proper response version, and automatically uses the latest version.


Pricing

What are the initial fees for establishing an account?

There is a one-time $200 registration fee.

What are the recurring fees for maintaining an account?

$75/month or $850/year. Customers electing to prepay by cash, check, or money order are eligible for an additional $100 cash discount.

What are the per transaction or per character charges?

None (Simplix offers only flat-rate service).

What are the access charges (per transmission or per minute)?

We do not charge access fees.

Do you offer off-peak rates or any special Government supplier rates?

No.

Do you offer volume discount rates?

No, pricing for Simplix's service is flat-rate.

Is there a cost for screening RFQs?

No.

What are the terms of your billing?

Simplix supports three billing options: automatic monthly charges by credit card, annual payments by credit card, and annual payments by cash or check.

Clients electing the monthly payment plan provide Visa, Mastercard, or American Express account information. Account fees are billed (charged) in arrears to the credit card on file. Mailbox fees paid on a monthly basis are $75/month.

The annual payment plan mandates prepayment of mailbox fees for a twelve month period. The charge for annual service is $850/year.

Clients paying in advance by cash, check, or money order, receive a $100 cash discount and thus pay $750/year.

In the event Simplix is unable to charge a client's credit card, or the customer's check bounces, a reprocessing fee of $25.00, per occurance, will be imposed.

What is the duration and/or terms of your contract?

Simplix provides an on-going service with no fixed end-date.

Customers paying by credit card may terminate their account without penalty at any time by using the termination mechanism on their Client Account Home Page. Because Simplix bills in arrears, the final fee will be due at the close of the billing period (unless the client is still within their risk-free trial period). If the final payment is declined, the client will also be responsible for paying reprocessing fees until payment is obtained.

Customers paying by cash, company check, or money order may also close their account at any time by using the mechanism on their Client Account Home Page. Although no penalty will be imposed for closing the account, annual payments are nonrefundable and thus no refunds will be due.

Is there a free trial period?

Customers can try Simplix-W risk-free for up to 30 days. Service is provided on a calendar-month basis -- the risk-free trial is available from whatever day the clients signs up to the last day of that month.

What is the initial cost for software?

Simplix clients using Simplix-W do not require special software; they can use their existing web browsing software.

Is there a charge for software updates?

No, software updates are provided free of charge.

Is there a software support charge?

No.

Do you charge for translation updates?

No.

Are there additional costs involved when adding new trading partners?

No.


Communication
Capabilities

Is communications software provided with the translation package?

Simplix-W clients access their data via the World Wide Web, using whatever Internet service provider they choose.

What type of communication is supported, i.e. Asynch, Bisynch, Dial-up or leased line?

Simplix-W is accessed using the standard hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) via the Internet.

Does Simplix provide a local access or an 800 service telephone number?

Simplix-W clients do not incur telephone expenses, instead they access our service through their Internet Service Provider (ISP). It is for this reason that Simplix does not provide a local access or 800 number.

At what baud rate does Simplix transmit data?

Simplix-W transmits as fast as your connection to the Internet. Depending on how you are connected, your transmission rate for web updates may be considerably faster than 28,800 baud.

Do you have unlimited hours for connection? If not, what hours of each day do you operate?

Yes. Our computers typically operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With the lowest down-time in the industry, the Simplix-W computers are offline for less than two hours each month.

Technical support is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern
(Monday through Friday).

Does the VAN provide the capability to re-send a transaction when needed?

Yes.

How often does the VAN access the Network Entry Points (NEPs) and place messages in the client mailboxes?

Continuously.

How quickly will transmissions by interconnected to and from the Government Network Entry Point or to another VAN?

Within minutes.


Intercon-
nectability

Do you use either the approved X12 Mailbag Control Structures or X.400/X.435 as the mechanism to control the VAN interconnects?

The interconnection control mechanism is dependent upon the requirements of the other VANs or gateways with whom we exchange information. Simplix utilizes data transfer protocols which are more efficient and reliable than X12 Mailbag Control Structures, providing increased reliability to our customers.

Do you support non-Government trading partner transactions?

Yes, Simplix supports non-Governmental trading partners. However, commercial trading partners do not usually post Public RFQs, rather they exchange one-to-one messages with their established trading partners. Click here for more information.


Software
Features
and
Capabilities

Does the software provide on-line help?

The Simplix-W software provides an on-line, hypertext help system via the World Wide Web.

Does the software provide hard copy?

This is a function of the network browser you use to access Simplix-W. Nearly all browsers have this capability.

What import-export capabilities do you offer?

This is a function of the network browser you use to access Simplix-W. Nearly all browsers have this capability. For details, please refer to your browser documentation.

Is there a limitation on the number of trading partners the software will support?

No.

Can the software be customized to meet specific needs?

Yes. Clients can control where they receive data from, what FSC classes they receive, and make use of keyword selection to locate Requests For Quotes (RFQ's) of special interest. Other options include the ability to select from several display formats and to arrange for notification of RFQ's via e-mail.

Simplix-W undergoes continuous review and improvment by our programmers and analysts. Most of the features that have been added to Simplix-W are the result of suggestions by Simplix clients.

Does the software provide automatic error notification for all processing?

This is not a concern for Simplix customers. Our service will not allow the generation of invalid message types.


Translation
and
Mapping

Do you provide translation services?

Yes, translation capability is built into the Simplix-W service.

Does Simplix provide translation between different standards and versions?

Simplix's service provides all ANSI X12 formatting.

Is Mapping software available?

No, mapping software is not available. However, all transactions can be exported to a flat ASCII file and imported into any program that supports importation of ASCII data.


Reporting

Do you provide monthly reports of my use of your services?

Clients can elect to receive either detailed billing reports or basic usage reports.

What kind of reporting activity do you provide?

Simplix provides audit trail reports and transmission confirmation.

Does Simplix provide transmission confirmation?

Yes.

Does Simplix provide audit trail reports?

Yes.

Are daily activity logs available?

No.

Is historical data available?

No.


Security

What kind of security is provided for my data?

Simplix provides security for your data by uniquely encoding transactions so that only the correct customer can decode them. Once a transaction arrives at Simplix, we deliver it directly to the authorized gateway for that destination. Additionally, Simplix has been chosen by the National Security Agency to work on developing secure EDI transactions. Development is in progress.

What kind of backup and recovery service do you have?

Simplix archives transaction sets on a daily basis. We also record which messages were sent to our clients.

Do you have a backup (disaster recovery) system?

Simplix makes daily backups; keeps permanent and off-site archives, and has redundant processor capabilities.

Where is the backup system located?

In another city. (For security reasons we do not publicize the location.)


Training
and
Support

Do you offer training?

If requested. New clients can receive an introduction and overview of the software by our telephone technical support team.

Many clients find Simplix-W easy enough to use that no training is needed.

Does the software come with a manual or a built-in help system?

Simplix-W has an on-line help system and an extensive walk-through document available from the client's Simplix home page.

Do you offer a continuous free hotline service 24 hours a day?

No. Technical support staff are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday at (248) 740-8150. Calls during off-business hours are answered by Simplix's voicemail system.

Will you set up all of our federal government connections.

Simplix will support all federal government sites using the federally mandated standards.


Special
Services

What special services do you provide and are these included or excluded from monthly fees for transmission charges?

Simplix does not charge transmission fees. We charge a flat-rate fee. Service includes access to CBD (Commerce Business Daily), GATEC, EBBs, and other buying activities.

Will Simplix offer "Bulletin Board" and "Bid Match" services?

Simplix supports the federal government's standard approach to electronic commerce. We also support Electronic Bulletin Boards (EBBs). Bid matching services are available; clients using Simplix-W can select what they receive by FSC, keyword, site, manufacturer, part number, local stock number and national stock number.

Does the VAN provide Fax-to-EDI and EDI-to-Fax services?

No. There are several reasons for this. See Five Reasons EDI-to-Fax is not a Good Idea for more details.

Can we set up a catalog on your VAN?

Yes.

Does Simplix offer BBS/Electronic Mail?

Yes. E-mail may be sent to or received from any Internet-connected e-mail account.


Other
Questions

How long have you been involved with EDI?

Since 1991.

Does Simplix have a full tutorial system for evaluation or just a demonstration version which follows a standard script?

You can try Simplix-W risk-free for up to 30 days. Service is provided on a calendar-month basis -- the risk-free trial is available from whatever day the clients signs up to the last day of that month. The client walk-through provides a scripted introduction to the Simplix-W system.

Will my trading partner receive an immediate functional acknowledgment upon my receipt of an incoming transaction from them?

Yes.

How frequently are transactions retrieved from the NEP?

Continuously.

How often are messages forwarded to mailboxes?

Continuously.

How frequently does Simplix forward messages/transactions to the DoD gateway?

Continuously.

How long do you retain transactions in the mailbox awaiting retrieval?

Private messages remain in the client's mailbox indefinitely. Public message are retained for at least 30 days beyond the close date for the associated Request For Quotes (RFQ).

Who has liability for garbled, lost or late transmissions?

The vendor is responsible for all transactions until the 997 has been received. Simplix automatically resends transactions until they are acknowledged.

Can the VAN subscription be terminated at any time?

Yes, clients can terminate their service at any time with 30 days written notice. Alternatively, clients may immediately terminate their accounts by selecting the appropriate option on their Client Account Home Page.

Can we retrieve transmission data on-line?

Simplix-W clients do all of their work while connected to Simplix's web server.

Does the VAN support Binary data transmissions (841 Transaction set)?

Yes.

What is your record on down time?

Excellent. Over the past five years, the Simplix system has been down less than 72 hours, grand total.





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Contact Information

Simplix
2925 Bond Street
Rochester Hills, MI 48309-3517

Phone: +1 248 740 8150
Toll-Free: +1 800 SIMPLIX
FAX: +1 248 740 8180

Contact us . . .

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