Information Systems

Product Safety Test Status Database and Email System

A toy manufacturer has many products and is continually developing new products. Part of the product development cycle includes testing to government and industry standards. Tests must be completed before products can be shipped to customers. Different tests are required depending on which retailers are purchasing the product and to which countries the product is shipped. Tests expire and long selling toys must be retested on a periodic basis.

The sales department decides which products are selling well and can afford testing. The product safety department is responsible for performing the tests and working with a testing laboratory to certify products meet certain requirements. The old system used spreadsheets to track all of the products, which retailers were selling the products, and the test status. Spreadsheets were passed back and forth between departments with inconsistent data. Decisions were made on old data and mistakes were made, because of the many versions of the spreadsheets.

We developed a system with a database to provide real time information about the product sales needs and the test status. Several weeks before a test will expire the system automatically generates an email and asks the appropriate salesman if the product will continue to be sold in a country or to a particular retailer. The salesman has a user interface to set sales dates for each retailer and country. Several weeks before a test is to expire, an email is sent to the product safety department. A user interface allows the testing department to enter the test status in progress. When the product is certified the expiration date is updated.

Production Reporting System

Using C#.NET (Microsoft .NET Framework), we integrated a production tracking system with the client’s ERP system based on Microsoft SQL Server. We updated inventory levels in real time. Project management services were provided to work with Current Directions, who provided the barcode scanning software application.

Our program back flushed production data. This means it decreased inventory for components as each manufactured unit was produced and increased inventory for each finished good as it was stored in the warehouse. This was accomplished by reading the transactions from the barcode tracking database. Knowledge of the bill of material was needed and read from the ERP system. Our program interfaced and made the necessary adjustments in the ERP database.

Prior to the product reporting project, we were selected to manage the upgrade of the ERP system to the newest version of Expandable on Microsoft SQL Server. Several enhancements were included in the upgrade. The limits on the maximum batch and sales order numbers were increased, by making changes to the database. We created a development server and performed the upgrade and completely tested the user interface, reports, and custom integration projects. This ensured the new features worked as expected. Also, we identified the customer reports (Crystal Reports) and integration that needed to be fixed, in order to work with the new version of the ERP. After making modifications and complete testing, we performed the upgrade on the production server in one weekend of downtime. This provided little disruption to users and allowed the business to grow into the larger system capabilities.

Oracle E-Business Suite R12

We worked as part of an implementation team, which included resources from India and California as well as contractors from various parts of the U.S. We worked with both the original Oracle Systems Integrator, and after they were thrown off the project, we worked with other contractors and the client’s directors. In our evolving role on the multi-year project, we worked extensively in the following modules of Oracle EBS. Database schemas or applications are in parenthesis.

  • Financials (GL, AR, AP)
  • Sub ledger Accounting (XLA / SLA)
  • Order Management (ONT)
  • Java programs for mobile and supply chain (MSCA / MWA)
  • Advanced Pricing (QP)
  • Customer Relationship Management (AR.HZ_ tables)
  • Manufacturing, Inventory, and Supply Chain (WSH, INV, BOM)

Here is an example of some complicated SQL that we created in order to provide a customer account list report. These ERP databases are normalized to the extreme, so it takes some work to present data in the simple manner business directors wish to use. Here is an example.

Wireless handheld computers and barcode scanners

Have you seen the Motorola MC-9x90G devices used at Hertz Rental Car, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and perhaps your local grocery store? We provide technical services to configure these handheld computers. There is some computer science to making these units work well with a variety of barcode symbols (UPC-x, GS1-128, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5, ITF-14, Data Matrix, EPC Global RFID, etc), as well as science related to wireless communication in manufacturing and warehouse settings. With over 20 years of technology experience on many projects, we can help with both the computer science as well as project management and vendor selection.

Young Audiences Event Scheduling System (YESS)

Young Audiences helps educators use the fine and performing arts to teach language, math, science, and social studies to school children. YESS maintains a roster of artists and their programs and a database of schools, teachers, parents, and other supporters. Schedules and contracts are created and managed using YESS.

YA is a national organization with over 30 affiliates throughout the United States. Each affiliate runs as a separate business (like a franchise) and therefore has a separate database and configuration, while they share the same web based software application.

We produced the concept and developed the solution to provide YESS as a web application. Project management services were provided as the software application was configured by our technology partner to YESS specifications. Affiliates are of various sizes and staffing. We managed the rollout of the application to the majority of affiliates. We demonstrated YESS, wrote the documentation, and provided training.