After many years, Zuidnatie decided to upgrade from its previous COBOL-based Organi solution, Bevex I, to Bevex II, based on the Progress OpenEdge platform, to take advantage of new functionality and deliver greater efficiency to the business. During discussions with Organi, however, Zuidnatie learned of the company’s plans to develop a brand new application called the Organi Logistic System (OLS)—a totally integrated Progress-based solution that would deliver more functionality, flexibility and automation to Organi’s customers. Excited about the project and the implications for Zuidnatie’s business, the company opted to collaborate with Organi on the design and development of the new product.
Stijleman explains: “OLS promised to be a state-of-the-art application combined with high stability, availability and performance. It would have the capacity to handle the specific kind of traffic we deal with, the automation to streamline and maximize our operations, and the flexibility to customize the solution to meet the changing needs of our customers. We were excited to be part of this modernization project and to have a voice in the direction of the solution. ” Zuidnatie had very specific requirements for OLS:
Flexibility to Manage Complex Business Requirements: First, the new system needed to be extremely flexible to handle a variety of products and attributes, i.e. raw materials, hard materials, large and heavy weight materials, light materials, etc. The system also needed the flexibility to manage the complexities of Zuidnatie’s business. For example, a container of coffee may come off a ship at a certain weight. But after two weeks of storage in one of Zuidnatie’s warehouses, much of the water originally in the coffee could evaporate, changing the weight of the product. Lastly, Zuidnatie needed the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of possible characteristics. For example, one customer may want materials tracked by lot number versus another customer that wants items tracked by pallet or serial number.
Integration with Other Internal and External Systems: A second key requirement was the OLS’ ability to integrate with other solutions and systems, including its existing Progress-based and Microsoft look-and-feel accounting system. While Zuidnatie would create invoices in OLS, it needed the ability to update the Microsoft system with the relevant information.
Automation of the Customs Forms Management Process: The company was also looking to streamline operations and improve accuracy levels by automating its manual-based customs management process. Because employees were required to physically go to a customs office to process customs paper work, the movement of containers could be delayed for up to four days in the manual system. The automated customs management process promised to eliminate the delays caused by the manual process allowing cargo passage in hours rather than days.
Enhanced Reporting: A fourth requirement Zuidnatie had for OLS was enhanced reporting. With a fully integrated system that includes a datawarehouse, OLS would provide increased visibility and analysis across Zuidnatie’s various companies and operations—enabling the organization to make necessary adjustments to maximize operations and its ability to service its customers.