What are the compliments from UNIVAC

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"Just six months after the warehouse management system was converted with a standard software product, we had the adjustment and rental costs for the first year back," beamed EDV / ORG boss Hans-Jürgen Zurbrüggen. - With good reason: At his bread supplier, the glass wholesaler Glaskoch in Bad Driburg, the DIS-1 system of the Düsseldorf D60 systems has been used for a year for warehouse planning, which helped the trading company to make significantly better use of the order backlog. The installed hardware ensured that there was still no euphoria among the glass dealers: "It was only through this system that we noticed what a slow and expensive IT system we have in-house," says Zurbrüggen, who is now facing new problems.

The wholesale company Glaskoch, Bad Driburg, mainly sells imported glass, ceramic and porcelain products and has a market share of around 10 percent in this market segment. The IT team consists of two programmers, an operator and two data collectors. An IBM System 3 Model 12 with 64 K is installed in the data center, on which a 3340 tandem disk drive and three monitor stations are attached. Order management, invoicing, accounting and cost accounting, sales and purchasing statistics, goods procurement planning and warehouse management including storage location optimization are all run on this in screen and batch processing mode. For all of these applications, except for the warehouse management process RPG2, programs were written in-house. "We don't have any COBOL or mathematics know-how in-house, and even with a hardware budget of 14,000 marks, we couldn't afford a 6000-mark man." However, the glass cook optimizers knew that such sophisticated things as inventory forecasts written in COBOL existed on the market and therefore began to look for standard software for this area. But neither the IMPAC promptly offered by IBM (Zurbrüggen: "It doesn't work anywhere and is only tailored for 360/370"), nor any other packages found in the specialist press, were able to meet the demands of the glass chef. It was only through good contact with the IT colleagues at the food wholesaler SPAR in Bad Hersfeld that the decisive reference was made to the DIS 1 warehouse management system from DbO-Systeme in Düsseldorf. "We found that this package wouldn't be bad for us at all. Since the price of 450 marks a month with a 54-month contract also seemed reasonable to us, we had someone come from DbO," recalls Zurbrüggen. The Bad Driburger saw a further argument in favor of this system in the fact that the software at SPAR "had already recovered its money". The glass dealers also took action and used the program package for the first time in April 1977.

The DbO system contains an administration program for MRP master records and MRP updates. There is also a module for weekly scheduling, a scheduling proposal program that develops weekly order proposals and a so-called "large forecast update" that uses a movement matrix from the past 25 years to update the individual movements linearly with coefficients for each working day. This COBOL package was pimped up by Glaskoch with various RPG-2 programs, so that a complete wholesale warehouse management system was created. "The overall package, which we run once a week and dispose of several thousand articles, consists of a total of four programs and 15 steps. The disposition records are updated in the master file, the weekly movements are processed and the resulting order proposals are developed," says Zurbrüggen, praising the details of the Bespoke suits. The DbO programs carry out the demand forecast after analyzing 18 influencing factors (so-called "adaptive combination of influencing variables"). This method lowers - confirms Zurbrüggen - "the effective forecast error by around 50 percent compared to other methods customary on the market".

The expenses for this warehouse management procedure were amortized at Glaskoch within a short time: "After the first machine suggestions took effect in June 1977, the adjustment and rental costs for the first year (24,925 marks adjustment, 6,000 marks for the initial concept and twelve monthly rents of 450 Mark) back in after six months, "says Zurbrüggen proudly. The inventory has increased proportionally to sales since then ("We're still turning it at the moment"), but the readiness for delivery has increased by 3.85 percent. "In our case, that meant that we got 1.3 million marks more out of the existing order backlog," calculates the head of the glass chef EDP system. Zurbrüggen is less than happy about the weaknesses in the data center that came to light when the warehouse management system was introduced: "Four hours of running time for this package is not exactly a compliment for IBM. With this system we have found that we are a very expensive and very slow system have ", criticized Zurbrüggen of the price and performance of his IBM system. He has already drawn conclusions from this knowledge: "Benchmarks have shown that only about 35 minutes are needed for the same application on Univac or Siemens systems. We therefore do not rule out a change of manufacturer. how and hardware went well with us. "