News Briefs and Product Shorts
JDA Software to Link Northern Irish Weather with Spending Patterns at Food Retailer
What is the relationship between the weather and the consuming habits of the Northern Irish? John Henderson Ltd., a Northern Ireland food wholesaler and retail chain, isn't altogether sure, but it recently installed JDA Software Group's Warehouse Replenishment software on an iSeries server in order to take a closer look at the different products that people buy as the seasons turn. "The best salesperson for us is the weather," says Andrew Logan, group information services director at the Belfast company, which operates 50 of its own stores and provides full support service to 450 other markets and convenience stores. "Whatever the weather, consumers would rather pop down to their local convenience store than drive to an out-of-town supermarket." The company's main goal with Warehouse Replenishment is to make better use of warehouse space and to improve forecasting delivery times and replenishment of over 4,500 ambient grocery lines, 900 fresh food lines, 200 frozen food lines, and a large selection of non-food lines managed in its four warehouses.
Kronos Puts Self-Service Scheduling App for Workers on Timeclock
Time-and-attendance solution provider Kronos has added a Web browser to its data collection terminal, bringing a new level of self-service to employees. The embedded Web browser and screen on the Kronos 4500 series terminal resembles an ATM machine and provides employees with convenient access to detailed work schedules, time and labor details, and the ability to initiate time-off requests. Employees can also receive messages from their managers at the terminals, as well as view the status of work-related issues, such as shift sign-up, shift swapping, and training registration. "By leveraging an embedded browser and Kronos workflow technology, we now deliver more personalized information, so that employees who do not have access to e-mail or PCs can perform self-service functions without the need to install costly kiosks," says Michael DiPietro, vice president of product marketing at Kronos. The Kronos 4500 terminal works with both iSeries Central and Workforce Central, Kronos' time-and-attendance application for Unix and Windows servers (a new version release of Workforce Central, 5.0, was also announced last week). The terminal works with traditional magnetic, proximity, or barcode badges, and can also authenticate employees biometrically, via fingerprint scans.
CCSS Expands North American Tech Support Team
New customer wins in the United States prompted English iSeries systems management software vendor CCSS to expand its office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Last week the company announced that David Henderson, a 10-year OS/400 veteran, has joined the technical support team in Raleigh. That appointment follows the January announcement that Dawn Birdsell had joined the office as the North American Account Manager. The boost in technical support goes to serve existing customers, as well as to attract new customers, says CCSS's top executive, managing director Ray Wright. "In today's market, technical support has become the keystone to managing successful customer relations and attracting new customers," he says. "Technology solution providers will always be judged not only by their product offerings but also by the level of support they're able to provide customers."
inFORM's iPDF Enabler Now Converts PCL Output to PDF
inFORM Decisions is shipping a new release of iPDF Enabler, the company's in-line PDF conversion utility. With Version 2.1, inFORM has added the capability to convert PCL output and overlays from most OS/400 document management applications, including those from ACOM Solutions, Create!form International, IBM, Integrated Custom Software, and others, the company says. PDF Enabler 2.1 also now natively supports Windows, Unix, and Linux for the first time, adding to inFORM's previous native support for OS/400. The company is pushing hard outside of the OS/400 market with this release, and it has included tools for linking iPDF Enabler with other C++, Visual Basic, or Java applications running on Windows. Additionally, inFORM says Web applications can call iPDF Enabler's conversation capabilities internally, without requiring developers to write code. The Southern California company is offering third-party vendors a free copy of the product, along with documentation and technical support, as an incentive for forging OEM relationships.
EXTOL Launches Road Show for UCCnet Education
EXTOL International is hitting the road to spread the word about UCCnet, the product data synchronization initiative that aims to cut billions of dollars of waste from the supply chain. Seminars held in strategic cities across the country will help attendees understand how they can get maximum benefit from UCCnet initiatives for collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment, as well as how to eliminate major risks and expenses, with data synchronization implementations. The Pottsville, Pennsylvania, company kicks off its seven-city series with a seminar this Thursday in Atlanta, followed by events in Dallas on April 21; in Phoenix on April 22; in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12; in San Francisco on May 13; in Chicago on May 18; and in Columbus, Ohio, on May 20. For more information, or to register, go to www.extol.com.
Migration From AS/400 to PCs Doesn't Go Well for Public Company
It can be tough moving off the AS/400. Last week, 21st Century Holding Company, which sells of property and casualty insurance in the state of Florida, issued a press release explaining why it wouldn't be filing its financial report on time. The publicly traded company announced that it has asked for an extension on its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003, because of "data conversion errors" related to the company's migration from an AS/400 to a PC-based system last October. "Anytime you change software, there is bound to be some data conversion errors," said Edward Lawson, the company's president and chairman. The company released the report the following day.