Mohawk Slashes Report Delivery Times, Thanks to Centerfield
January 6, 2009 Alex Woodie
A year ago, the folks at Mohawk Fine Papers were thinking about adding a Windows-based system to speed up the delivery of critical reports. The core i5/OS infrastructure was maxed out, they feared, and couldn’t churn out the reports as fast as Mohawk’s business moved. But the company found a better solution by utilizing Centerfield Technology‘s database optimization software, HomeRun, and now those Windows plans are shuttered.
Based in Upstate New York, Mohawk Fine Papers makes and sells $300 million worth of paper around the world every year, and is the largest manufacturer of premium paper in the United States. The company runs several paper mills and operates a distribution network, activities that are managed from a System i-based computer system consisting of BPCS and several other solutions.
Unlike some mills that have week-long lead times, Mohawk is constantly tweaking its production schedule to meet the needs of customers, says Paul Stamas, vice president of information technology at Mohawk, according to case study that was recently published on the IBM Web site.
As a result of this business model, Mohawk officials depend heavily on up-to-the-minute reports to make decisions that are profitable. Unfortunately, the company’s System i server did not seem up to the task of running the day-to-day transactional system as well as a demanding reporting environment.
“As we were looking to get closer to real-time reporting on plant operations, we had doubts that DB2 could reach that goal while it was simultaneously running our basic transactional system,” Stamas says, according to the case study. “We were thinking of trying to reach our real-time reporting goals by offloading the reporting function to a Windows-Intel processor-based infrastructure.”
Then one of Mohawk’s IT staffers heard of a product called HomeRun from Centerfield Technology. The software helps speed DB2/400 by performing several tasks, such as database index optimization, fine-tuning SQL, and other tricks. The tricks are well-documented in IBM Redbooks, but most administrators don’t have time to read them. With HomeRun, the software guides the administrator through the entire process, and helps minimize the chance of making an error.
After installing HomeRun last July, Mohawk’s IT department noticed an immediate improvement in DB2/400 performance. The time it took to run reports on the status of various mill processes was cut from 15 minutes to two minutes, while other reports decreased from 45 seconds to five seconds.
“We saw dramatic improvements immediately,” Stamas says. “It was a game changer.”