Monday, October 18, 1999

Whilst administration-driven organisations undoubtedly do benefit from blanket ERP solutions, niche manufacturers are still looking to independent software developers to write, maintain and grow customised solutions for their, often very specific, needs.

One such successful partnership, is that between vertical blinds manufacturer Vrede Textiles and software developer, Orbital Decisions. The two companies have a longstanding relationship of some four years. In December 1995, Orbital�s computerised stock control and semi-automatic warehousing solution went live at the Atlantis, Western Cape, based textiles group.

Based upon the success of the initial stock control solution, the company has since added modules to deal with its production management, sales order processing and sales management, production planning and �picking� operations. An OLAP, On-line Analytical Processing, data warehousing system was also written into the solution, to aid in reporting and analysis.

Given that Orbital Decisions develops customised solutions with a very short turnaround time for its clients, as with its other solutions, the company opted to develop this now enterprise-wide, database driven solution around the embedded, SQL database, Interbase.

Says David Lipschitz, managing director of Orbital Decisions, "I would say that the fastest database from a development point of view is Interbase. It is easy to install, maintain and use. It has a very good SQL implementation and is a full DBMS with transaction integrity, automatic recovery, 100% uptime, multi-generational architecture, stored procedures, triggers, event alerters, exceptions, domains and other DBMS features.

"We recommend that our clients without inhouse technical computer guys give us the go-ahead to develop their solutions using Interbase, because in the long run they save themselves vast development time costs and get the benefits of the functionality of a world-class, industrial strength database, with 100% uptime."

Uptime is a key consideration for Vrede Textiles, which now relies heavily upon its NT LAN and Orbital software solution to deliver service to a broad, ever-increasing customer base. Examples abound of how its custom software has benefited the company. A case in point is a two hour turnaround time for the receipt of 100% accurate stock information. Previously, this information was available some two weeks after month-end and, more often than not, was inaccurate.

All told, the Orbital/Interbase solution has been a huge success and has led to increased sales; has reduced lead times, stock levels and work in progress, and has led to greater accuracy in the ordering of raw materials. At the same time, management now has up-to-the-minute management information upon which to draw for decision making purposes; and the company has further improved its service delivery with next day delivery of fast moving items.

Lipschitz continues, "From December 1995 to the present moment, Vrede Textiles� software solution has continued to grow with the company. As it has identified new needs, so we have been called upon to write modules to fulfill these needs. In the last few weeks, for instance, we implemented a multi-currency invoicing system. This, in response to tremendous growth in the export side of the company�s business."

The Vrede Textiles, Orbital Decisions IT partnership is proof that small software developers, with their ability to deliver custom solutions and individual client service, can add tremendous value to organisations with very special and specific needs. It also attests to the importance of a product such as Borland�s Interbase, that enables developers to write world-class systems around an industrial-strength SQL database that can run on a standalone PC through to a 1000+ user network.

Interbase is sold and supported in South Africa by Synectics Software, which recently developed a replication engine for Borland, that will be incorporated into Interbase Version 6, scheduled for release in February 2000.

Compiled By

Tracey-Ann Carroll

PR Dynamics

Tel: (011) 803-9507

Fax: (011) 803-9521

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