If you’re doing business with Toyota, you’ll most likely want to hear about this. Johnson Controls’ (JCI) battery division, now called Clarios, ships truckloads of batteries out to Toyota.
Toyota specifies the load amount out and actually provides the pallet bar codes. Then, JCI loads out the pallet, they wrap it in plastic and slap on the bar code. Now, Toyota has an android application where you can scan the bar code on the pallet and it tells them exactly what is going to be on that truck. Toyota has already told you what they expect, and now this is your way of really confirming that you are meeting those expectations. Once you’re done, Toyota will provide a confirmation number which becomes your right to bill them.
The problem is that after you load it in Toyota, you now have to tell your own system what you did, which results in a double entry. Nonetheless, that double entry is now completely gone with this application we wrote for Clarios. It uses Toyota’s web application API interface, but also talks to the QAD system and loads them both out.
You can view the video below to see an example:
Missing paperwork was preventing one of our customers from exporting of goods. The solution, implement a standard international packing slip for all locations.
The International Shipments project was designed to minimize the delays at US Customs when exporting shipments from the United States by addressing issues with missing paperwork from the various manufacturing sites, required by US Customs to complete the export process.
In order to address the issue with missing paperwork, we created a standard international packing slip report for each of the manufacturing sites within the US.
The report pulled together the following information: Hazard Code, Terms of Payment, Shipment Weight converted to KG, Currency Rates, Consignee Information, Customer Information, and the Parts/Assemblies in the shipment and was configured to print during the Shipment Processing components of QAD.
The final part of the project was to convert the QAD report to a PDF using FormTrap™. FormTrap™ was configured to listen on the QAD report output folder/queue. An output form layout was then created and mapped each of the fields tied to the QAD fixed field elements and line terminators. In line translations were configured for the consignee destination countries.
FormTrap™ enables the automatic detection and extraction of fixed field delimited text files that can be configured through the queues. Multiple forms can be configured on a single queue/folder using key fields in the text document header.
Lessons Learned: Packing slip and shipping documents can be printed from multiple QAD screens, for example: BOL Print, Master Bill of Lading Print, Commercial Invoice. In order to prevent unnecessary complexity this report was configured to generate whenever the shipping documents are triggered by calling the international shipper report custom code from the aforementioned print events. To ensure that the UNIX server could access and copy files over to the necessary FormTrap™ input folder, which is located on a Windows server, the folder had to be shared such that Everyone had full read/write permissions to the folder.
Implementing a customer driver quote/order entry system using a SalesForce web portal, improving customer engagement and streamlining the quote/order process…
A strategy to allow customers to drive the order entry process in QAD, thus reducing demand on sales representatives and improving efficiency.
Direct communication between QAD and SalesForce can be brokered using EI and then integrated with QAD using web services and progress custom code. The complete communication flow is shown in the figure below:
The implementation strategy:
- Order entry screen SalesForce
- Integrated with QAD using EI.
- EI communicates the XML entry details to a web service running on IIS.
- The Web service layer translated the inbound QAD to field definitions appropriate for QAD simulated order creation
- QAD custom code listens on the web service output waiting for the quote entry document. The new XML is simulated as an order in QAD, which includes discounts, surcharges, taxes, etc.,
- QAD drops the XML simulated order details to web service
Before the order can be confirmed in QAD, the customer must first approve the quote provided by QAD. Therefore, a reverse flow of quote information to SalesForce is required. The reverse flow is:
- The web service sends the QAD quote entry details to EI
- EI relays the details to the customer on SalesForce
At this stage the customer can either reject or confirm the quote. If the quote is rejected nothing needs to be done, as the order entry was only simulated. If the customer accepts the quote, then the quote details must be passed back down to EI through the web service to QAD. Failures in simulated order creation can be passed back to SalesForces using the XML error fields.
This project demonstrates that a robust custom driven order process work flow, in QAD, can be triggered and controlled using a 3rd party order management system.
Our customer asked the question - “what materials are in-transit and what are the current inventory levels at the manufacturing sites”? We provided a simple, but innovative solution…
In order to answer this question custom code and automation features were developed and implemented in QAD to interact with inventory in an in-transit location.
The sequence of steps at the shipping site:
- Import of ASN (Advanced Shipping Notice)
- Validation of ASN details: filter by supplier and product line
- Add part quantities to In-Transit location
- Debit part quantities from Inventory
- Credit Clearing Account
- GL Account of finished goods
- Create ASN
These steps will account for all inventory that is now in-transit; however, a reversal of the operation must now be defined during Purchase Order receipt in order.
These steps are:
- PO Receipt
- Validation of PO details: filter by supplier and product line
- Remove part quantities from In-Transit location
- Reverse GL on Credit Clearing Account
- Add parts to inventory at receiving location
- Debit PO Receipts account:
- GL Account of received goods
EDI Setup is a requirement for this product as it is being driven by the ASN import and generation at the shipping location:
- Trading Partner Parameter Setup
- Suppliers EDI ID
- Interface ID
- Transaction Type
- ASN/PO/PO ACK/Schedules
- Setup the Sites
- Site Ship From cross references
- All the destinations the supplier can ship from
- Site Ship From cross references
- Better visibility of inventory levels
- Improved speed of receiving materials.
Integration of .NET with QAD custom code – a simple exercise of creating brokered communication between a .NET service and QAD through OpenEdge…
A requirement was issues for a 3rd party system to have access on part data within the QAD ERP system. Access between the 3rd party application and QAD was to be brokered by an IIS web service. A simple approach was to allow.NET to call compiled Progress custom code. For this to work, four items need to be setup:
- Compiled R code to call, for example:
- Use proxgen to create a DLL stub that defines an open edge client interface
- Choose generate and then configure the .NET assembly namespace
- For the sample shown, only the assembly version, company, and namespace have been configured.
- Then generate the DLLs
- Configure an AppServer Agent
- Define the Progress database to connect
- Add the correct PROPATH to the .r file location
- In .NET create a new project
- Add references to the DLL’s created in step 2b
- Create a connection to progress
- Call the DLL and pass the parameters
Preventing manufacturing delays by minimizing the time between sales order confirmations – an elegant approach to ensuring the timely release of work orders to manufacturing…
For a standard sales order confirmation processes, each sales order is processed sequentially - one at a time; however, it is not uncommon for sales orders to contain hundreds of line items. For very large sales orders the confirmation process can take many minutes to confirm.
A typical SO Confirmation Pipeline could be like the figure below, where the current head of the queue is SOn.
In order to confirm a SO, QAD needs to create the work order and then release the material from inventory to the job. SOn will take significantly longer to confirm than SOn-1 and SOn-2 due to the number of line items. In this case SOn may create a backlog, preventing the subsequent SO’s from confirming. This backlog can then result in delays of work being released to manufacturing.
Two improvements are possible (i) prioritize queues based on the number of lines items, or (ii) create multiple queues to balance the load during the confirmation process.
The solution implemented was to setup four parallel SO queues. In bound SO’s were then assigned to one of these four queues based on queue size and load. Each queue is processed and handled in the same manner as before, with the head of each queue processed using the confirmation process previously discussed.
- Queues that become blocked due to a failing SO can have all remaining items move to a different queue.
- The confirmation process can work on four SO’s simultaneously
- The queue load can be monitored for processing speed and optimized
Transaction scope should be minimized to prevent one queue locking another queue. This problem was traced to the use of sequence numbers.
Even very large companies, like Charter Manufacturing occasionally enjoy personal, professional services. Here’s an opinion on how it works and when it fails.
Relationships with multi-division, multi-national companies, like Charter Manufacturing, Forum Energy, ASSA ABLOY and Johnson Controls are fraught with complications, unless it’s personal! At Pronto Progress it is corporate culture the “People do business with people.” Yes, it’s always personal at Pronto Progress. Corporate Culture starts at the leadership of every business. Think of the best cultures and your immediately drawn to the leader of that firm. Think of the worst or failing cultures and, again, you’re brought to the leadership of that firm.
Corporate IT vs Division Management is a frequent chafe point. Roles and silos abound with all the internal politics that sometimes comes with the hierarchy, distance and even culture involved when the CIO, PMO, Contract Management Office and the division’s Business Analyst are siloed.
The contracts of these super-large organizations are daunting, coming with names like “Master Services Agreement” and “Professional Services Agreement” or just PO. Insidious and unworkable. It would be humorous in a comedy club. Imagine a boutique consulting firm like Pronto Progress holding the likes of Charter Manufacturing harmless. “Yes, certainly, please hide behind our skirts Mr. Charter.”
Occasionally, Pronto Progress get’s lucky and finds an individual who acts in the best interests of their employer, rather than the best interest of their role. Mostly this is a reflection of the leadership; occasionally it may be in spite of the leader. Such is the case at JCI with Mr Bhasker Appala; Mr. Chris Lieber of ASSA ABLOY.
Such was the case of Mr. Jim Jelinek formerly of Charter Manufacturing. It took two months of negotiating and proving our worth to win Mr. Jelinek’s business. Jim, working closely with Barbara Mack and Michael Schueller of Charter Dura-Bar had Pronto Progress do over 15 statements of work, estimates and deliverable definitions before he would consider doing business with Pronto Progress. Even when Jim gave Pronto Progress some business it was in small bites as can be seen in Jim’s warm recommendation letter. Once Jim’s trust was earned, the relationship settled into a mutually rewarding experience.
This close relationship with Jim Jelinek lasted until September 2018 when Jim, along with his superior and another co-worker were summarily terminated at Charter. It saddened and distressed us at Pronto Progress and no one more than Josh, the Senior Software Architect that had been working directly with Jim.
It took only 4 months to unravel the relationship and trust that Jim Jelinek and Pronto Progress had built. Just after Christmas, on December 27th, 2018, Charter summarily terminated the Purchase Order and Terms that had been so tortuously negotiated two years before. New players, new roles and rules.
Personal, professional services at a great price loyally given and well received were not enough to survive regime change at Charter Manufacturing. Despite herculean efforts on Pronto Progress’ part; it became clear that “personal” was of no interest to the new rule-makers.
Businesses do not do business with other businesses! People do business with people.