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Frequently Asked Questions

Core Functionality

TheTradingPortal does not replace your existing ERP or EDI system. Rather it provides a uniform interface for electronic document delivery for your ERP/EDI system to use for all of your suppliers. Once a document has left your back office system and entered TheTradingPortal, it will be delivered to the recipient via the most appropriate method.

For smaller paper-based suppliers, this means that it's delivered to their TradingPortal inbox. Accessing, interacting with, and replying to your business documents requires nothing more than a computer and a modern web browser.

For larger suppliers with back office systems connected to TheTradingPortal, this means the document will be delivered all the way to their ERP or EDI system as if they had a direct connection to you using traditional EDI delivery mechanisms.

New documents and replies to existing documents from both large and small suppliers alike will be delivered to your ERP/EDI back office using that same uniform interface. You can treat all of your suppliers like electronic trading partners using the same protocol and document map.

For smaller suppliers, all you need is a computer with a modern web browser. You can view and take action on all documents delivered through TheTradingPortal using the web UI. Document forms are customized to match the originals and are presented in a clean and easy to use interface. All forms that require data entry have live data validation to help you fill out the forms with confidence.

Larger suppliers with back office systems can connect to TheTradingPortal using the TTPServices API. This SOAP-based API allows you to programmatically access TradingPortal functionality to poll for and retrieve newly-delivered documents, take action on and reply to documents, submit new documents for delivery, and manage other facets of TheTradingPortal.

If neither of these connection options fits your needs, we will work with you to craft a custom connection solution for your back office system. TheTradingPortal supports post-delivery integrations for just such cases. This allows us to push documents to your systems as soon as they have been processed by TheTradingPortal using whatever method best supports you and your business. However the nature of these custom integrations requires more time and communication to establish and maintain than the web UI and TTPServices API.

TheTradingPortal is not intended to be a permanent cloud storage solution for EDI documents. Delivered items are temporarily stored on our servers to keep track of transaction sets and to allow users to view and interact with them using the web UI.

Once a transaction set has been closed, the documents it contains become eligible for deletion from TheTradingPortal's database. This allows us to reclaim storage space from inactive documents, lowering our operating costs and allowing us to pass the savings on to you.

Inactive documents are deleted from TheTradingPortal database 60–120 days after being closed, dependent on the volume and size of documents being sent. Very large or numerous documents would be cleaned out more frequently than small, sparse documents.

Note that active documents will never be deleted from TheTradingPortal, and there is no limit on the number of active documents or the length of time a document can remain active. Documents are closed and become inactive after needed action has been taken on all documents in the transaction set.

For example, a purchase order won't be closed until after its transaction set has been completed by returning an advance ship notice, invoice, and remittance advice. At that point all four documents in the transaction set would close.

Not at the moment, but a number of users have requested this capability. We're looking at designing and implementing this functionality to allow users to export their documents before they are deleted so that they may be permanently archived.

Yes. Each company account comes with a single manager user account by default. Additional manager and normal user accounts can be added with the Sub-Accounts feature.

Yes. Using the document routing manager, you can specify which user a document should be sent to based on the community context and the document type.

Documents & Relationships

Yes. All documents are converted to an internal XML format before delivery, which allows TheTradingPortal to support a wide range of documents. Any number of fields and data types can be stored in a TradingPortal item. We just have to define a map for your data to the internal XML format. From there we will craft a custom form to display your document with any data validation rules and form actions it needs.

In addition, file attachments can be added to any item in TheTradingPortal. This allows it to facilitate managed file transfers of binary reports, images, CAD drawings, and other documents that aren't suitable for storage in a text-based markup format.

Documents must be less than 16MB once converted into TheTradingPortal's internal XML format. How big of a document this will hold depends on the number of fields and data types in the document, but it's usually enough space to hold a purchase order with thousands of line items.

Attachments are currently limited to 100MB per item action (create, update, reply, etc). This can be spread across any number of files—from a single 100MB file to twenty 5MB files.

There are no limitations on document transmissions by either count or kilocharacter.

In most cases, yes. We have engineered a number of custom solutions to parse and import data from binary reports and spreadsheets.

We're all about moving data, so we'll work with you to develop the best solution for getting data into TheTradingPortal from a back office system that doesn't output EDI or XML.

Yes. Signatures are a form of authorization data that can be collected using the document forwarding capabilities of TheTradingPortal. Forwarded documents can be configured to capture a number of different data points during an authorization including reentry of user credentials, validation of a user-set pin, and digital signature using a mouse or touch-screen stylus.

Yes. Communities can be configured by the community sponsor to allow suppliers to send documents directly to other suppliers. This also allows TheTradingPortal to support multi-tier transaction sets.

Yes. We understand that your supply chain isn't always a flat structure. Parts you order from one supplier may be used by another supplier to finish the final product that gets sent to you. TheTradingPortal supports the document trading workflow that results from this kind of structure with what we call 3 Dimensional Trading.

Send a purchase order to Supplier B for parts needed by Supplier A to fulfill another PO. Supplier B returns an invoice to you and an ASN to Supplier A that you get a carbon copy of. If a part is defective, rejects and RMAs can be routed back down the supply chain to the origin of the defect.

Not in the traditional workflow sense. TheTradingPortal focuses on document delivery and does not support user-defined workflows complete with states, roles, and privileges.

However, forwarding actions can be used to pass documents between users within a company and emulate a number of workflow processes. For example, a forwarding form can be created for a document to allow approval of invoiced work, collecting approval signatures for budgeted expenses, or forwarding a document to another department to complete processing.

Billing

TheTradingPortal uses a "pay for what you need" billing model to support businesses of all sizes. All features other than a base subscription are optional and can be individually enabled. We believe small businesses that don't need a feature shouldn't be made to pay extra for it by bundling it in with features they do need. Billable options are separated into Subscriptions, Sub-Accounts, and Premium Features.

Subscriptions represent the base cost for using TheTradingPortal and are available in Lifeline, Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, and Hub options to match your use case. Subscriptions automatically renew on their expiration date.

Sub-Accounts allows you to add as many user logins as you need to your company account in addition to the default manager login included with your base subscription. This feature is entirely optional, and you'll only ever pay for the user accounts you use. The Sub-Accounts feature fee renews annually, and usage fees for individual user accounts are billed at the end of each month.

Premium features allow you to enhance your base subscription with additional functionality including extra document usage, back office integrations (included with hub subscriptions), and document forwarding functionality. These features can be activated and deactivated at will and are billed for at the end of each month based on your usage.

For more information, visit the Pricing page.

Yes. Invoice-based billing is available for Quarterly, Annual, and Hub subscriptions. Additionally, the Sub-Accounts feature requires invoice-based billing to be enabled for your subscription.

However, even with invoice-based billing enabled for your subscription, we still require a credit card be on file to bill monthly fees for document overages, Sub-Account user fees, and premium features which would be prohibitive to bill via invoice every month.

Yes. TheTradingPortal allows Hubs and community sponsors to pay for their trading partners' subscriptions with a 3rd Party Payor Contract. You can set up a contract for 1, 2, or 4 quarters for any number of subscription activations. Volume discounts are automatically applied to contracts with high numbers of subscription activiations.

Once paid for, you can activate subscriptions that last for the duration of the contract on any of your trading partners. You'll also have the option to renew your contract and automatically extend your trading partners' subscriptions.

Your monthly document quota is the number of documents that you can send in a month before incurring overage fees. Hubs and community sponsors have an unlimited document quota. Lifeline subscriptions have a base document quota of 0. And all other subscription options have a base document quota of 50.

If you intend to send more documents per month than your base quota, additional blocks of 50 documents can be added as a Premium Feature. Your current usage can be found in your company profile, and the number of extra document usage blocks can be adjusted at any time. If you have a month with a higher volume of documents than normal, you can add another usage block to avoid overage fees at the end of the month.

Note that document quotas and overages apply only to the documents you send. Documents you receive from others do not count against your usage as they are covered by the trading partner that sent the document.

For more information about document quotas and overage fees for the different subscription options, see the Pricing page.

Security & Support

TheTradingPortal state of the art technology to secure your account and business data.

Access to the internal web UI and TTPServices API requires an HTTPS connection using either TLS 1.1 or 1.2.

Passwords have minimum length and complexity requirements and are salted and hashed using an OWASP-recommended algorithm. The work factor is configured such that a single digest takes more than 300 milliseconds to compute on our hardware.

User sessions are limited to a single device at a time and automatically expire after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Password resets are protected by captcha and require knowledge of the account username, email, and security question. A reset token sent to the account email address must be entered to verify the user has access to the address.

We are certified PCI compliant by SecurityMetrics and utilize Authorize.Net to store and process credit card information.

The easiest way to report an issue and receive support is to open a ticket in TheTradingPortal's built-in support ticket system.

If you have a more urgent need, you can contact us directly using the contact page.

TheTradingPortal fully supports the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. Internet Explorer 10 and 11 are also fully supported.

Internet Explorer 9 is partially supported. All features are present and functional, but some modern styling is not rendered.

Support for mobile browsers varies due to the rapid lifecycle of smartphones OSes. TheTradingPortal uses a responsive design and attempts to accommodate these form factors as best as possible, but it is a desktop web application first and foremost.

Note that Internet Explorer 9 and 10 do not have modern TLS versions enabled by default, which are required to securely connect to TheTradingPortal. Follow these instructions to enable the required versions of TLS.