Wool testers to use Jade for system rewrite

The New Zealand Wool Testing Authority is to replace its mainframe system with an application developed in Jade, the object-oriented language and database of Christchurch-based Cardinal Group. The project, which is the biggest Jade development to date, will mean a complete rewrite of NZWTA's system. NZWTA provides wool quality testing services. NZWTA chief executive Stephen Fookes says the replacement means the company can employ commodity-priced hardware but will also add to the system's functionality, particularly in terms of being able to share information electronically with customers.

The New Zealand Wool Testing Authority is to replace its mainframe system with an application developed in Jade, the object-oriented language and database of Christchurch-based Cardinal Group.

The project, which is the biggest Jade development to date, will mean a complete rewrite of NZWTA’s system. NZWTA provides wool quality testing services.

NZWTA chief executive Stephen Fookes says the replacement means the company can employ commodity-priced hardware but will also add to the system’s functionality, particularly in terms of being able to share information electronically with customers.

“This system is our business — providing information. It handles everything from integrating with our electronic testing and sampling equipment through to quality control and financials.”

Fookes say although the existing system is effective, it is more than eight years old and the business has changed a lot in that time, prompting a need to look at a new platform.

NZWTA evaluated an extensive range of products and companies before deciding on Jade.

NZF Stainless hopes to improve forecasting with help from CA

By Kirstin Mills

Because it runs a business where decisions have to be made well in advance, NZF Stainless, which distributes stainless steel products, was keen to improve its forecasting.

NZF (New Zealand Fasteners Group) decided changing its manufacturing package was the best option and chose Computer Associates’ MK (Manufacturing Knowledge). It will be running the software over 11 sites in New Zealand and Australia (known in Australia as Austeel Stainless).

New Zealand Fasteners Group managing director Des Meiklejohn says the company is moving from a Wang/Geac platform and looked at about five products before settling on MK in May.

“It had about 98% fit against our RFP [request for proposal] requirements.”

Meiklejohn hopes the system will go live in July 1998. “We’re about two-and-a-half months into the conceptualisation/design/education phase. We’ll go to pilot early next year.”

He anticipates that the company will use the next version of the software, which is due out soon, and which is year 2000-compliant.

Australian branches will be linked into the New Zealand site, giving staff increased access to inventory and better data on price information.

“A lot of our business is price quoting so it gives us better facilities for that.”

It is also hoped it will mean better forecasting abilities.

“Primarily, a lot of stainless is sourced from offshore, and we’re making decisions six months’ out so we’ll have better quality decisions, I guess.”

He says the challenges so far with MK have been the usual ones encountered in such projects — like altering some business processes to suit the software.

Meiklejohn says stage two of the project will move the company into a Windows NT environment in Auckland and Sydney, but that’s “down the track”.

The MK Group is an independent business unit of Computer Associates, which provides manufacturing and distribution solutions.

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