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Computer update; computer systems for the distributor.

COMPUTER UPDATES Computer Systems for the Distributor

Micro Vane enhances dBEV

"In 1989, Micro Vane achieved the goal of attracting 600 beverage software clients after six years in business," announced Bob Pursel, vice president of Micro Vane, "with the vast majority of business coming through word-of-mouth referrals. We only employ three sales representatives," he continued, "because our emphasis is on support, not sales. By focusing on customer service, we figure we have 600 people out there selling for us, instead of only three." Incorporating ideas gleaned from customer feedback, Micro Vane reported its 7.0 version of the dBEV Beverage Management System will provide more flexible and comprehensive reporting capabilities than previously available.

The new version of dBEV includes a two-year customer sales history and a daily package sales history. Because users will be able to retain invoice detail indefinitely, a date range option has been added to the sales tracking reports so users can get reports for a specified time frame.

To make entry and inquiry tasks easier, Micro Vane noted search windows are provided for quick review of customers and packages. Micro Vane said more flexibility has been added to the system, based on suggestions by dBEV users.

The new version also provides users with increased equivalence reporting along with the ability to change the desired factor for any report. In other words, wholesalers will be able to accomodate breweries requiring a report printed in 24/12 ounce equivalents and government agencies requiring the same report printed in gallon or liter equivalents for tax purposes.

According to Micro Vane, its software packages are among the most user-friendly available to beer wholesalers, with single and multi-user versions that accomodate small and large wholesalers, respectively.

Redesigned versions of its three accounting modules - payroll, accounts payable and general ledger - employ a window overlay technique that makes menus easier to use. With the push of a button, the modules now provide "help" windows that display on-screen documentation. Also, the revision provides search windows to help locate accounts when account numbers are unknown.

Micro Vane has announced the enhancement of its point-of-sale/competitive tap module, called "ONTAP," which tracks the placement and sale of point-of-sale and promotional items, as well as provide wholesalers with competitive tap activity in their market area.

During 1989, the company reported the completion of an interface to Norand's new Model 20 hand-held computer, specifically designed for beverage pre-sellers.

The Model 20 offers the features needed by beverage wholesalers at what Micro Vane said is approximately half the cost of its predecessor. In addition, the new unit can be used to take warehouse inventory. When "uploaded" to the main computer. dBEV can produce an easy comparison of warehouse inventory to computer inventory.

Shelf management from Graphic Data Analysis

According to Graphic Data Analysis, Inc. of Athens, GA the Shelf Manager 2000 is intended to help distributors convince retailers to consider changing shelf sets.

"We had only two objectives," said Jim Williams, system designer. "First, to make a shelf management program that is powerful and usable by front line sales and marketing people who have to fight for every inch of shelf space in today's beer industry. Second, to make the program run on practical inexpensive personal computer equipment that most distributors already have.

"A significant number of Shelf Manager 2000 customers, about 41%, have purchased the program," Williams noted, "and have started up on existing equipment without any additional equipment purchases. Most others just purchase an EGA monitor and card. Expensive plotters are not used in drawing store sets," he observed, "instead we use printers, which most distributors already have in service. We can produce great-looking store set drawings in a continuous form layout for both color and black and white printers."

Using market share data, GDA said Shelf Manager 2000 can show wholesalers how many package facings should be placed on shelves. The system can also apply information on retailer's package movement and finances for correlating product space to sales or profit.

According to GDA, the Shelf Manager 2000 can generate over 150 different reports for comparing shelf space to product sales, financial information and stock inventories needed.

"The Shelf Manager can also analyze your store set proposal and estimate sales needed to justify product shelf space," Williams noted, "allowing the retailer to focus only on those few packages of concern for inventory purposes. This allows you and the retailer time in reaching an agreement on reset proposals. Graphs and charts are produced automatically," he continued, "eliminating the need to buy presentation programs." The system incorporates a report writing feature, which GDA said can eliminate the need to use outside spread sheet and graphics software and give the user independent analysis capability of specific marketing environments.

Jim Williams outlined a number of Shelf Manager applications. "The design of Shelf Manager allows the program to become a training tool," he said, "helping instruct personnel on proper adjacency, positioning and product spread in shelf management. This also allows management to draw up mock shelf arrangements for sales and marketing meetings.

"The system comes with a reference manual and a help system built into the software," Williams stated, "and we also provide phone support." Williams noted new product information can be added to the system by the user, and reported GDA periodically creates picture and program update disks for users.

Norand digitizing signature pad & accounting system

A digitizing signature pad has been introduced by Norand Corporation to capture and store authorized signatures at the time of a direct store delivery.

The pad, developed in conjunction with the Norand 141GL hand-held computer, is attached to the top of the 141GL with a support bar. As deliveries are made, the route salesperson places the invoice on top of the signature pad for the receiving person to sign. Once the invoice has been properly signed, the signature is electronically captured and stored in the hand-held with the transaction details.

At the end of the day, Norand reported, the invoice and signatures are uploaded to the host computer, eliminating the need to store, file and copy paper invoices. If an invoice must be retrieved in the future it can be recreated electronically, along with the authorized signature.

Norand continues to offer an integrated route accounting system, which Norand reported now offers users "fourth generation" technology. According to the company, the Route-commander 4000 features DOS-compatible 16-bit performance, high speed communications, lightweight design and high-resolution displays.

Norand said Four models of hand-held computers allow users to choose systems ranging from automated presales to basic route accounting to advanced applications. Routebook software supports visual verification by displaying subtotals for each category and a full range of ordering scenarios, from a route-level order to a combination of route and customer-specific orders.

The 16-bit microprocessor increases operating speed and performance. The hand-held computers are available with up to 1MB internal Ram memory and removable memory cards in 128K, 256K and 512K configurations. Multi-line displays allow for menu-driven software, which Norand said makes the system easy to learn and operate. Optional graphics capability is available on high end units.

According to Norand, the hand-held computers support programs written in PL/N, which requires less memory space than other languages as well as being DOS compatible.

The system's modular family of system components also includes an 80-column printer for either portable or vehicle-mount applications. Norand reported the Model 4980 network controller offers high-speed host communications, supporting speeds up to 500,000 b.p.s. in a local area network (LAN) environment.

New docks for hand-held telecommunications and charging feature a modular design, making it easy to configure, install and expand.

Norand noted the 4000 Series hand-helds allow backward compatibility with most existing Norand printers, including the NP107, NP207, NP108 and NP111.

Norand will continue to offer the NP207 and NP108 printers. The company's current product line also includes the 141GL hand-held computer, representing the third generation of Route-commander portable systems.

Turnkey information systems from CRDS

Convergent Route Distributions Systems (CRDS) continues to offer software for distribution and accounting applications. A number of different modules are available, featuring menu-driven screens, complete documentation, on-site training and classroom education.

The company's In(*)sight software programs now offer a wide variety of software modules, including a route accounting system, featuring driver sale, pre-sale with auto-dispatch and Tel-Sell options and a Norand interface. Additional modules include inventory control, sales analysis, discounting and promotion, accounts receivable and payable, payroll processing, In(*)DEX PC data exchange, I(*)COMM communications and consolidation and a brewery communications interface.

According to CRDS, the In(*)sight system can provide greater access to customer and product information, generate ad hoc reports, perform screen inquiries and download information to a PC for further spreadsheet analysis. The company stated the software is user-friendly with a pick and choose menu. According to CRDS, the system also allows a user to pull information to create custom reports in any format. The system is designed for ease of use, CRDS reported, while offering flexibility in retrieving data.

Reports available from the system include account balance inquiries, exception reports, customer lists providing gradation by volume, accounts receivable listings, customer master listings sorted on any criteria stored in the customer master, quarterly sales by product or customer/product information, daily product sales information, dollar sales by customer.

A variety of hardware is also available from CRDS. The company produces central processing units, disk and tape drives, printers, display terminals, handheld computers, communications equipment and line and power conditioning equipment.

onvergent In(*)sight software applications run on Convergent's S/Series family of 32-bit minicomputers based on Motorola 68020 microprocessor and the UNIX System V operating system S/Series specifications include; the 32-bit computers, supporting up to 40 devices, 32 MB demandpaged virtual memory; 64 MB to 900 MB of formatted 5-1/4-inch disk storage; streaming tape back-up; communications facilities include BSC 3270 terminal emulator, BSC 2780/3780, SNA 3270, SNA RJE, LU6.2/PU2.1X.25 and TCP/IP Ethernet.

PMD fleet And plant maintenance software

Profit Management Development, Inc. (PMD) of Barrington, IL, has recently announced the introduction of its Profitmaker maintenance tracking systems, which have been upgraded to operate under the Oracle RDBMS. "We feel this is a significant advancement," reported Michael Nowak, of the PMD Computer Division, "and places powerful new tools into the hands of our clients." The Profitmaker system includes a fleet maintenance program and a plant maintenance program.

PMD reported the Profitmaker fleet maintenance system can perform a wide range of functions, including scheduling of regular preventive maintenance, recording and scheduling corrective and emergency repair work, providing repair work backlog reports and providing detailed cost reports. The system can also assit fleet managers in keeping track of parts on hand and parts used and provide parts usage histories. The system is also capable of providing complete vehicle histories and management reports indicating monthly, quarterly and annual costs. According to PMD, the system supports Novell, 3-Com and IBM local networks, and features full multi-tasking through its modular design. PMD noted that OS2 and DOS versions are also available.

The company is also offering the Profitmaker plant maintenance system, a software package that the company said puts Oracle RDBMS and the SQL language to work for the brewing industry. The company said benefits of the system include scheduling regular preventive maintenance and recording and scheduling emergency repair work. A parts inventory system tracks parts on hand and parts used. The system can provide a variety of additional reports, including repair work backlog, parts usage history, individual machine histories and management reports indicating monthly, quarterly and annual costs. According to PMD, the system supports Novell, 3-Com and IBM local area networks and its modular design allows full multi-tasking.

Improvements from Beverage Systems, Inc.

Beverage Systems, Inc. of San Diego, CA has added a number of enhancements to their Route Distribution Software package, which will provide beverage distributors will better control over all aspects of their distributorships, the company stated.

"We have added several new features to our system as well as upgrading some existing ones," announced Suzanne Gaither of BSI. "The system should now offer even greater benefits to our users." BSI's RDS now offer even greater computers, from the PC in MS/DOS and ZENIX to the IBM RT mid-range computer under AIX UNIX. The program will also run on the HP 9000 under UNIX.

"The newest version of RDS, designated 5.3, includes a new accounts receivable package," Gaither stated, "and chain store ranking and commission reporting capabilities have also been improved to assist the distributor in obtaining timely information. In as much as RDS now operates in a UNIX environment," she added, "it will run on virtually any state-of-the-art computer hardware.

"Another new program developed to save distributors time and money is TELE-SELL," Gaither observed. "This system utilizes telemarketing as a means of taking product orders for user selected purchasing habits, account types and/or specific territories. The operator is provided with information such as when to call on each account, including the day and time. Operators can be proficient with this program after only 30 minutes," she noted, "since TELE-SELL leads the operator through each step with user-friendly prompts. When operators receive an order, they need only enter quantities, as the computer produces a facsimile of an invoice form based on that accounts buying history."

Programmers at BSI have also recently designed a "Truck-in" program which operates on a Telxon hand-held terminal. "The program assists the supervisor in counting all trucks that come in and go out," Gaither reported, "and allows him to enter the quantities of each item in each bay of a truck. The program maintains running totals of each specific item and total cases. The operator has the option to display the specific totals," she noted, "or print them on the Telxon IP 24 printer. In the event of a discrepancy, the operator can recall specific totals by bay in order to verify the count."

BSI also reported the certification of a new printer for use with RDS. The printer has the capability to print draft at 480 cps and can also be used as a high-resolution 16-color plotter. BSI stated the printer will handle up to six part paper and also performs plotting functions required by Anheuser-Busch's "Shelf Set" and the Coors Apollo/Star.

Roadshow Updated

According to RTSI, a significantly updated version of the Roadshow system, designated version 4.0, is now available. The company reported the system has been supplemented with several new capabilities. RTSI said the revised Roadshow has the ability to interactively edit any number of routes simultaneously, select either English or metric units of measure and to generate state mileage reports.

RTSI noted that company's distribution operations are often one of the last areas in which they can realize significant cost savings through computerization. Roadshow, a PC-based system, addresses the fleet-routing and scheduling aspects of distribution. According to RTSI, Roadshow is used by companies with private truck fleets to quickly determine the lowest-cost routes and schedules which meet the user's internal constraints and customer service objectives; evaluate last minute changes and determine the cost impact of such changes; and provide an environment for "what-if" analysis and planning.

RTSI also noted the use of patented video maps in the Roadshow system. With Roadshow, the manufacturer observed, images of accurate commercial maps provide the backdrop over which routes are displayed on the screen. The company observed that seeing one route, several routes or all customer locations drawn on the map screen allows the user to get a clearer picture of what is happening in their distribution operation.

RTSI stated the Roadshow system takes user's needs into account, including routing standards, work rules, business objectives and travel network. Before Roadshow automatically produces the routes, RTSI said, it examines orders, labor costs, mileage costs, available vehicles, vehicle capacities, road speeds and conditions, customer service windows and scores of other routing and scheduling constraints.

After developing the information, RTSI said the system displays the routes on its map screen and the schedule and cost information on its data screen. The system enables the user to interactively try changes in the routes and displays the results of those changes. Roadshow shows the user the dollar costs and warns the user if a customer service window is missed or if a change violates any of their work rules.

Informed Beverage Systems' software inprovements

There have been a number of recent improvements to Informed Beverage Management's software systems, the company has reported. The SIMAS systems evolution and improvements include several new modules and available reports. The system has been upgraded with a new point-of-sale module, quota/performance module and file inquiry module. In addition SIMAS now includes moving distribution reporting and enhancements and updates to over 100 programs. According to the manufacturer, SIMAS has been successfully installed in many distributorships utilizing IBM's new AS/400 computer. In addition, Informed Beverage Management noted SIMAS can now support both pre-sell and route-sell hand-held computers and interface with Roadnet's routing package. According to the company, SIMAS is now being used at over 150 beverage distributors throughout the United States and Canada.

The manufacturer stated enhancements and updates are provided to SIMAS users at no additional charge. Other SIMAS highlights include route-sell route accounting, pre-sell route accounting, Tell-sell route accounting, bulk-sell route accounting, handheld computers, sales analysis, inventory control/analysis, accounts receivable, forecasting/budgeting/quotas and brewery interfaces. Informed Beverage Management is also an industry remarketer for IBM, Norand and MSI products.

New interfaces for Data Consultants, Inc.'s Routeman

According to Data Consultants, Inc., the company's Automated Beverage System has become one of the most versatile computer products for beverage wholesalers. "About three years ago," said Cyrus Shamloo of Data Consultants, Inc., "DCI recognized the growing popularity and affordability of personal computers, together with their tremendous power and built-in flexibility - thus the birth of Routeman.

"Routeman is a unique product," Shamloo continued. "It is a 286/386/486-based route accounting system. Its sophisticated management reporting system includes inventory control, customer, ledger, accounts payable and payroll. Routeman runs in color," he said, "and is developed in the optimum network language, Turbo Pascal.

"Utilizing Novell Netware 386," Shamloo stated, "Routeman can handle up to 255 workstations, and Norand and MSI hand-helds are provided via the Routeman Connection."

New developments and offerings from DCI this year include an interface to Shelf Manager 2000 that processes market share, financial analysis and product movement information.

An interface to the Roadnet system has also been developed, incorporating a truck loader interface and providing dynamic routing by sales.

"As sales are created," Shamloo reported, "individual salesman send information into the company, and the truck is stocked accordingly. The product going on the truck is maximized and everything is orchestrated for maximum customer service. In an ordinary operation," he pointed out, "you send the invoice into the warehouse, they load the truck and send it out, and you can have two or three routes criss-cross. Roadnet eliminates that," he said. "If you know where the customers are, having the map-grid will save you any repetitive routes." Additions to the Routeman system include an MSI UPC scanning interface to physical inventory. "The warehouseperson will simply scan the product's UPS number and key in the quantity," Shamloo said. "The quantity will then be uploaded to Routeman as physical inventory."

Other improved aspects of Routeman include a quota system, which the company said will allow entry of quotas by company, salesman and product to provide easy tracking of daily sales and comparisons to quota. A complete interface between the Routeman route accounting system and the AccountMAN general ledger is also offered.

Cerritos Computer Services matches software

with IBM AS/400

Cerritos Computer Services (CCSI) of Long Beach, CA has recently completed the conversion of its Distributor II software for beverage wholesalers to the IBM AS/400 mid-range computer system, the company announced.

"The first Distributor II system was installed in 1979," reported Joseph Cogan, president of CCSI, "on an IBM Series/1 mini-computer, and it has provided over ten years of uninterrupted service to its customers. Its modular design has allowed Distributor II to be incrementally updated at minimal cost," he continued, "allowing it to support the ever-changing requirements of beverage wholesalers." Cogan noted the capabilities of the Distributor II include route accounting, inventory control, accounts receivable, automatic truck routing and sales analysis. In addition, he reported the Distributor II has a fully-integrated general ledger and accounts payable software packages.

"One year ago," Cogan said, "CCSI began evaluating additional computer hardware platforms for its Distributor II software. After an in-depth review of many state-of-the-art mid-range computer systems, we chose the IBM AS/400. The Distributor II-IBM AS/400 combination provides our customers with new growth path options," he said, "while having virtually no impact on their current day-to-day operations. In addition, it makes it possible for wholesalers with aging IBM System/36 computers to upgrade," he added, "while preserving their investment in printers and display stations." According to CCSI, the Distributor II - IBM AS/400 combination is geared toward the communication and connectivity needs of the wholesaler of the 1990s. Features of the system include: personal computer networking, display stations and printers in branch locations and connectivity with Distributor II systems in branch locations. In addition, the company noted the existence of full transfer support for PC brewery communication systems including the Anheuser-Busch WCN, Miller Brewing DCN and Adolph Coors Company Coorslink.

Intelligent Computer Systems offers

new accounting software

Intelligent Computer Systems, Inc. of Mountville, PA has introduced a new accounting package called "ACCLAIM". According to ICS, ACCLAIM is completely interfaced to the company's AWARD (Automated Wholesale and Retail Distribution) computer system for beer distributors.

"ACCLAIM represents the last major step in the complete rewrite of ICS' software for beer distributors," stated Barry Emes, ICS' manager for software development. "The previous BOSS and MERLIN packages (which also had their own accounting options) have been replaced with the AWARD and ACCLAIM software. Both AWARD and ACCLAIM significantly advance the state of the art in terms of flexibility, unique features and ease of use," Emes said, "in addition to

taking full advantage of today's powerful new processors."

ACCLAIM consists of a number of modules, including general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll, which can be installed singly or in any combination, according to the needs of individual distributors. Any of the ACCLAIM modules can even be used a stand alone packages (without AWARD).

When used together, complete posting of AWARD sales and purchases to the ACCLAIM general ledger is automatic. "So tight is the intergration that payments can be posted either through ACCLAIM accounts receivable or through AWARD order entry," Emes stated. "All reports in either system will properly reflect the results. Combining the automated posting with recurring journal entries and ACCLAIM's financial statements means that the general ledger substantially runs itself."

Accounting periods may be user-defined and the system doesn't require "closing" of one period before beginning the next. "In fact," Emes said, "ACCLAIM allows adjusting entries to be made to a prior year and can even handle posting to a future period. Another exclusive feature is the 'Error Sleuth'," Emes noted, "which for the first time harnesses the power of the computer to track down any problems with ledger account balances. The Sleuth's ability ability to put the finger on why the checking account doesn't balance with the bank statement is uncanny."

ACCLAIM's payroll system automatically calculates payroll, including deductions and accrual of payroll expenses, and will print out employee pay stubs and payroll checks for both hourly and salaried personnel. "Management of vacation, sick or personal time is another feature," Emes said, "and the software also accomodates salesperson's commission, overtime and exception pay. Report able and taxable employee benefits are handled."

Roadnet announces software enhancements

Roadnet Technologies, Inc., a United Parcel Service company, recently announced the introduction of the Driver Sale 4.2 Routing and Scheduling software. This latest version incorporates several refinements which make the system operate faster and with greater flexibility.

"While the pre-sale routing problem has been actively addressed, we have also recognized the need for a driver sale product," said Jeff Buckman, national sales and marketing manager. "These are two different types of delivery environments, each with its own distinct set of needs. This release exemplifies our continued commitment to the driver sale market."

The newly-released software will display up to a 12-week cycle for each driver. With this feature, the router can see the impact of a potential change on the whole cycle rather than just the specific week where the adjustment would be made.

The company noted on-screen displays can now be customized to help the router focus on the key decision-making factors by determining the order the data is to appear.

"The new release has the ability to assign priority status to key customers," Buckman said, "and then divide these accounts among the drivers. This feature will allow the system to give a more automatic answer. The priority status feature assists in determining how to balance loads from a sales volume standpoint so that no one driver is assigned too many or too few large accounts."

ler's largest segment, the food chains," announced Bill Lynch, president of Data Processing Services. "Nowhere else can a beer wholesaler find a system with the flexibility to respond to the marketplace and still have the hardware fit their budget."

The DPS system can provide authorized item lists, individually negotiated prices, cents-off free goods quantity and mix/match deals. All promotion types can also be supported, DPS said. "Pre-sell, tel-sell or spot-sell order processing can be mixed any way that is needed," Lynch stated, "with or without hand-held support, and DEX/UCS is available when required." According to DPS, its system is written around the Oracle Relational Data Base and can run on PCs, multi-user PS/2s, IBM's RT and will soon run on the AS/400.
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Title Annotation:hardware and software products for beer wholesalers
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:buyers guide
Date:Jan 22, 1990
Words:4323
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