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Computer update 1993.

New or enhanced hardware and software for beer wholesalers

Vendors continue to flood the market with new or enhanced software and hardware for beer wholesalers. This issue of Modern Brewery Age includes descriptions of new products, together with our second annual Computer System Index--a reference tool designed to help wholesalers sort through the systems on the market. In addition, this issue includes articles intended to help answer some common wholesaler questions about the ongoing "information revolution."

The issue also features articles that fall outside the parameters of our cover focus, including our Wholesaler Seminar feature by Joe Verno, which discusses the issue of sales compensation. In addition, there are application features on new brewery equipment and procedures.

The staff at Modern Brewery Age hopes you find this issue helpful and extends best wishes for a prosperous and peaceful new year

Micro Vane receives honors

Norand Corp. bestowed their first ever VAR Quality Award on Micro Vane, Inc., a supplier of computer software to the beverage industry. Twenty-one companies (VARs) competed for the award, Micro Vane says, which is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award criteria.

The president and CEO of Norand told Micro Vane, "Your company led all applications in the key award criteria categories of customer satisfaction...your customers believe that Micro Vane, Inc., is a quality company that exhibits integrity in all aspects of its product and services. You set an excellent example for other VARs and Norand Corporation to follow."

Bob Pursel, vice president of Micro Vane, responded, "This award is quite an honor and it demonstrates the efforts of all our employees to the excellence in quality and service we have always strived to achieve."

Earlier this year, Micro Vane received another honor by being named for the fourth consecutive year to the Top 100 fastest-growing private companies in the state of Michigan. Only a few companies have achieved this distinction four consecutive years.

Another milestone will soon be met, Micro Vane reports. The company will achieve 800 installations in less than 10 years in business. The company asserts that it has twice the customer base of its nearest competitor and has been in business fewer years.

Micro Vane will release the 8.3 version of their dBEV Beverage Management software during the first half of 1993. A few of the features included in the release are a more complete handling of state tax reporting for each state, more reports for customer sales dollars reporting, enhanced equivalence reporting in the existing graphics inquiry, expanded daily discount reporting in addition to the already flexible monthly discount reports.

In November of 1992, the company completed the last two customer seminars of the four they hold every year. Seattle and San Antonio were the selected sights. The turn-out was excellent, reports Pursel, with a lot of valuable ideas exchanged.

Recently the company completed upgrading their Norand Route-commander customers with the DS Norand Interface which incorporates the use of route book information for the driver-sell units, providing the driver with customer history for each package sold, with records of inventory and sales quantities, build-to information and facings.

Enhancements from Insight

According to Insight Distribution Systems, the company has made major developments in the control of hand-held communications. Insight is a Norand Value-Added Reseller offering the Model 20 and 4000 Series for inventory, presell and driver-sell.

Insight reports that it offers full-featured pre-sell software with on-line pricing and discounting and driver-sell software for the Model 4000. Also available for the Model 4000 is a laser-scanning inventory capability.

Insight states that all hand-held modules are tightly integrated with the Insight Route Accounting system by the Insight hand-held communications program. "It resides on the Insight host processor," says Insight president Max Landman, "eliminating the need for a PC or protocol convertor, and it doesn't even tie up a terminal. You can call up the status screen to see everything that has happened to each route's data from initial communication through final settlement. The control programs query screen allows you to produce exception reports of errors or any activity for today or any prior time period."

Insight also reports that its line of IBM and Unisys open systems Unix-based workstations have been expanded in both low- and high-end systems. Insight is an IBM business partner and industry remarketer and a Unisys value-added reseller. Since IBM and Unisys computers use Unix, Insight points out, the same Insight software can run on both machines.

"IBM's intense development of Unix-based workstations continued at an explosive rate in 1992," Landman says. "On the high-end, the RS/6000 Model 980 is powerful enough to replace the mainframe. On the low-end, the single chip RS/6000 Model 220 is affordable enough to replace small mini-computers.

"Dollar for dollar," Landman continues, "IBM's RS/6000 workstations offer more processing power than other IBM midrange computers. What's more, IBM's commitment to binary code compatibility for future generations of workstations means that your software will run with equal efficiency on those machines when it's time to upgrade your software--unlike on other IBM midrange computers."

In 1992, Landman reports, Insight released a major route accounting enhancement package free of charge to all of its customers. "This package included hundreds of new features," he says "including sales, inventory and financial reports and screens as well as new discounting schemes and scores of functional improvements.

"As always," Landman notes, "Insight announced these changes in advance to its customers in a comprehensive book, chock-full of samples and examples so that every Insight customer would know what was available. For 1993," Landman announces, "Insight's development plans are even more ambitious."


Fleet Routing System Improvements

A technically-improved version of the TruckStops 2 fleet routing system has been released by MicroAnalytics. The company reports that the system features enhanced algorithms to produce routes and schedules more efficiently. Speed for the system has also been boosted and capacity has been doubled, MicroAnalytics says.

According to the maker, the new system also includes the first report writer available in computerized routing. Users can custom design routing, MicroAnalytics says, by selecting and then positioning desired data fields and text heading on screen.

"The new TruckStops is not just another release," says J. Michael Hooban, president of MicroAnalytics "it's the next generation in routing systems. Throughout the past 21 months of development, MicroAnalytics has worked to create features that make TruckStops 2 easier to use.

"For example," Hooban says, "with graphics and mouse enhancements, users can now draw in boundaries and add, move, or delete stops by positioning them on electronic street maps."

Hooban says that TruckStops 2 is designed to reduce operating costs by calculating the most efficient use of resources. "The routing system also enables users to improve service by helping them satisfy customer time windows and other special requests, gain greater control by increasing their ability to monitor drivers, and improve productivity by saving their dispatchers time," he says.

The system is designed for fleets with five or more vehicles and multiple pickups and deliveries, Hooban reports. The system operates on IBM PC compatibles with hard disk, 640K RAM and PC or MS DOS, versions 2.0 or higher. An 80 x 87 math coprocessor chip, LIM expanded memory, EGA/VGA graphics capability and mouse are recommended by Microanalytics.

For more information, contact MicroAnalytics, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 404, Arlington, VA 22201-3367 Tel: (703) 841-0414.

Roadshow 7.0 announced

A new version of the Roadshow vehicle routing program has been released by Roadshow International Inc.

"Version 7.0 expands Roadshow's ability to solve real-life distribution situations," says Dr. Donald J. Soults, Roadshow president and CEO. "as Roadshow's ability to calculate efficient routes and schedules grows, we increase our users' abilities to improve their distribution operations and to meet their customers' most demanding requirements.

"Easy-to-use features in Roadshow's Version 7.0 serve industry-specific needs identified by users and provide customer service benefits that cross industry boundaries," Soults continues. "Beverage distributors that manage delivery territories are among the many users that will find competitive advantages with Roadshow's new version."

According to Roadshow International, Roadshow Version 7.0 can simplify handling last-minute changes new customer orders and service requests without affecting service to existing customers. The company also points Roadshow's new same-day dispatching feature, which can process orders that arrive after initial routing is complete or after some routes have been dispatched. The company reports that Roadshow automatically locates the stop as new orders are received, adds the stop to the existing route, updates the route schedule and informs the dispatcher of its selection.

Roadshow says that Version 7.0's enhancements allow stops and new orders to be added to existing master routes automatically without disturbing the sequence of pre-assigned customers. These features, the company says, are particularly useful for handling infrequent orders and customer ordering on off-days.

For more information on Roadshow Version 7.0, contact Roadshow International, Inc., 8614 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 300, Vienna, VA 22182-2233. Tel: (703) 356-9797.

New Warehouse Management System

Resource Techniques has introduced WMS-PC-RF, a warehouse management system designed for use with Norand RF products and IBM compatible PCs.

Resource Techniques, a Norand value-added reseller (VAR) and IBM industry remarketer specializing in the beer and beverage industry, offers the complete line of Norand hand-held computer and radio-frequency products.

According to Resource Techniques WMS-PC/RF is a recently-released software product primarily developed for the beer/beverage industry, in that it incorporates the code or expiration date of a product into the inventory. Resource Techniques says the software utilizes Norand radio frequency terminals to monitor inventory in a "real-time" environment.

The company says that once an inventory transaction takes place on the warehouse floor, the information is instantaneously updated on the host PC, bypassing the error-prone and time-consuming manual process. The package automates the manual functions of the warehouse, the company says, including receiving, put away, cycle counting, picking, shipping, truck check-in and truck check-out. It is also able to interface to electronic shipping orders.

According to Resource Techniques, wholesalers using Norand RT1100s with integrated laser scanners and the WMS-PC/RF software can automate warehouses at a competitive price.

In addition, Resource Techniques reports plans to release a complete beverage distribution system for use with the IBM AS/400, which will include an interface to Norand hand-helds. An AS/400 version of a vehicle maintenance reporting system is also in development, the company reports.

For more information, contact Tim Killion, Resource Techniques, Inc., Commonwealth Building, Suite 104B, University Office Plaza, Newark, DE 19702. Tel: (302) 454-7699.

ICS Introduces AWARD Light

The introduction of AWARD "light" software for portable PCs was announced by Intelligent Computer Systems, Inc. (ICS).

Until now, ICS says, it has been supplying Norand hand-held units for both pre- and driver-sell operations. The company reports that the portability and durability of the Norand units will continue to make them ICS' hardware of choice for remote order entry.

For pre-sell routes and other applications, ICS will offer AWARD Light, a notebook/palm top-based software package. With it, ICS says, remote data entry for sales and warehouse personnel can be accomplished on portable PCs that needn't be physically connected to the host computer.

ICS say that sophisticated communications software then allows data to be up-loaded and down-loaded between the portable and host computers either by direct connection to the host computer or over a phone line with a modem.

According to Andy Hodge, sales manager for ICS, "AWARD Light offers tremendous advantages because portable PCs are able to display and store much more information at the same or lower cost than more traditional hand-held devices."

ICS lists a number of features for AWARD Light, including:

* Pre-sell order entry--salespersons can enter/schedule pre-sell orders in the field for upload into the host computer.

* Warehouse physical inventory--physical inventory counts are entered into the portable PC in the warehouse and uploaded into the host computer.

* Reports/sales analysis--up-to-date data is down-loaded into the portable PC enabling sales personnel to run essentially any AWARD report at customer sites or anywhere else in the field.

* Competitive data collection--Sales personnel gather competitive data and distribution information in the field for upload into the host computer providing analysis on competitive market shares, distribution, etc.

* Customer file maintenance--Customer names, addresses, contact, etc., can be added/changed by sales personnel as necessary for upload into the host computer.

AWARD Light is a sub-set of the AWARD route distribution software. According to ICS, since AWARD Light runs under DOS, field personnel can have other software packages loaded on the AWARD Light PC (i.e., spreadsheets, word processing, etc.). "Users can also rest assured that future upgrades and options will be made available at very reasonable cost," Hodge says.

For more information, contact ICS, 315 Primrose Lane, Montville, PA 17544. Tel: (717) 285-7977.

Data Consultants announces expansion

During 1992, Data Consultants, Inc. (DCI) announced the development of a comprehensive interface between the company's Routeman (route accounting) and AccountMAN (general accounting) packages. Both products were developed by DCI in Turbo-Pascal and are fully supported by the company.

DCI also announced the addition of a new feature to its select/sort reporting capability, utilizing a product called @trieve. According to DCI, this product allows for additional functions in Lotus, and also retrieves information from Routeman. "It's like having a bottomless cookie jar," says Aaron Donatello, DCI's v.p. of operations. "There is nothing more important in today's competitive market than having unlimited capabilities in report generation."

DCI also reports that its business area has expanded westward. "At the beginning of 1992 the management of DCI made a decision to test the waters of the west with our Routeman/AccountMAN PC-based products," says Bill Scheff, DCI president. "Prior to this year, the vast majority of our installs were on the East Coast. During 1992, however, we have added customers in California, Montana, Idaho, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Wyoming. Our most amazing success has come in Idaho, where prior to this summer we had no customers. Now we have eight."

"This phenomomenol success is a direct result of DCI's unique corporate philosophy," says Cyrus Shamloo, vice president of marketing. "At a recent four-state convention in Spokane, we announced our '10 computer commandments.' These commandments, reflective of our corporate philosophy, were refreshingly received by all wholesalers in attendance. Call us crazy, but we do not believe in charging for customization or training, our first two commandments."

For more information, contact DCI, P.O. Box 1568, Centerville, VA 22020-8568. Tel: (703) 803-7070.

Route Accounting Management

A menu-driven system to assist distributors in meeting control and reporting requirements is offered by RAM Systems of Lacrosse, WI.

RAM says that the Route Accounting Management (RAM) level 6.5 software it offers can integrate presell and/or driver sell processing, accounts receivable, warehouse inventory control and sales and promotion reporting. Some of the standard reporting features include: user-defined data ranges, non-buyer in route/stop sequence, and a new "super" report that RAM says has over 50 user-defined options. RAM says it can also furnish financial software, including general ledger, accounts payable and payroll.

The system also includes "Intelligent Query" or "IQ," RAM says. According to the company, this feature allows wholesalers to quickly develop unique inquiries. The IQ provides direct read-only access to the RAM data files, and the ability to select any number of fields, perform sorts, collate the information into a desired format and display or print a report.

RAM Systems reports that all of its software operates under the UNIX operating system. The company says that this allows customers to select hardware of their choice, from 386/486 systems to the IBM RS/6000.

The software can be directly interlaced to Norand hand-held computers and portable printers, and information can be down-loaded directly to brewery networks.

RAM also notes the upgrading of its Service Management software, a system designed as a stand-alone package for MS/DOS PCs. According to RAM Systems, this software allows the user to schedule preventive maintenance for vehicles and equipment, and assists management in organizing downtime, labor, and parts availability. In addition, the Service Management software maintains statistics on financing, licensing, service and fuel/oil consumption for efficient fleet operations.

For more information, contact RAM Systems of Lacrosse, WI, Inc. 224 Causeway Blvd., Lacrosse, WI 54603. Tel: (608) 782-8130.

TRM product update

During 1992, enhancement was made to Information Resources' Total Route Management (TRM) system for beer and wine distributors. According to Information Resources, the enhancement centered around the company's in-house use of the PL/N programming language for the Norand hand-held computers. With the in-house programming capabilities of PL/N, the company says it has enhanced the promotional tracking capabilities, added Routebook functions, and allowed greater flexibility in beverage tax reporting.

Info Resources reports the TRM product is also now available on the full line of PC computers available from Digital Equipment Corp. These included the 400ST, 400XP, and the 433 Multi-process series of PCs running SCO Unix System V. According to Info Resources, these computers combine an excellent price/performance ratio with built-in "investment protection."

Due to the use of XPress architecture, Info Resources says that the 400 Series DEC PCs can be fully upgraded to the Intel P5 (80586) architecture at minimal cost. In addition to the new DEC equipment, ICI also offers the Euroline printers from Output Technologies. Both 400 lpm and 600 lpm printers are available. Info Resources says clients using the Euroline printers report fast, reliable service.

Route Accounting Software

According to E.K. Webb & Associates the PDS-1 warehouse management and sales reporting system is now available nationwide. The system was originally designed for a Miller distributor, and E.K. Webb is on the Miller Brewing Co.'s list of approved software vendors.

The system, which has been in use by Miller distributors in the Southeast for four years, was designed for IBM-compatible PCs and can run on a single-user machine, a multi-user UNIX system or a network. The company reports that PDS-1 is menu-driven and written in a fourth generation database management language. The system features more than 300 built-in displays, E.K. Webb says, with the capability of creating many custom reports.

"It covers everything a wholesale beer distributor needs in one package," says Frank Day, manager of information systems for Robert Blaikie & Sons in Sarasota, FL. "All the programs are integrated, which gives us a tremendous savings in time over the old system."

E.K. Webb president Ned Webb reports that the system was designed for multi-warehouse, multi-user beer distributors to replace inadequate existing systems. "We've found that each brewery tends to have specific reporting requirements," Webb says. "Because our product was developed in a Miller house, our customers are primarily Miller distributors. We know the Miller reporting requirements and feel that our product fits a Miller distributor's needs more closely than the numerous canned software products on the market."

For more information on PDS-1 contact E.K. Webb and Associates Inc., 3756 Scotts Mill Run, Duluth, GA 30136. Tel: (404) 449-0520.

Truck Management Computer

An on-board computer to assist fleet managers in monitoring their vehicles has been introduced by General Programming, Inc. According to the manufacturer, the unit is designed for low cost to facilitate its use by small fleets.

The Truck-Manager system includes an on-board computer for monitoring speed, RPM's and deceleration, idle time and warm-up/cool-down.

General Programming reports that each company can set its own thresholds for optimum driver performance. When thresholds are exceeded, the unit will sound a warning to the driver.

Management reports that can be generated by the system include summaries by trip, driver, vehicle or fleet; as well as accident analysis, power-take-off usage, key on/off, hours and miles drive and driver ranking. reports are generated by uploading the information from the on-board computer through the use of hand-held or lap-top computer to a PC or host system. The hand-held can also be used for driver-input of DOT Driver's Daily Log information, eliminating the need to keep paper log books.

General Programming says that the Truck-Manager can interface with any PC or host system, and can provide a seamless interface with the company's Depot-Manager program. In addition, the company notes that the Truck-Manager can work with any existing hand-held computer.

General Programming touts several benefits for the system, including fuel savings, improved driver performance, increased safety, lower insurance rates, reduced man hours, reduced office personnel time and reduced maintenance costs.

The company also offers a full line of other software packages suitable for distributor applications, including Executive Information-Manager, Sales-Manager, Asset-Manager, Depot Manager and Service Manager.

For more information, contact General Programming, Inc., 15770 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 1100, Dallas TX 75248. Tel: (214) 385-0400.

New Norand Printer

An 80-column printer designed to be faster than its predecessors has been introduced by the Norand Corp. According to Norand, the company's 4820 modular printer prints 200 characters per second, and is available in a fixed-mount or portable configuration. The printer is housed in a sealed case and features industrially-hardened components for durability.

The printer features multiple power options to ensure print capabilities under a variety of conditions, Norand says. In fixed-mount applications, the company notes, the 4820 operates off the vehicle battery, and its low amperage operation is designed to minimize battery drain.

For portable use, the printer is powered by an internal, rechargeable battery and can print an average of 100 tickets between charges. The printer can also be operated from a standard AC outlet.

The printer is compatible with the Norand 4000 Series, NT121XL, NT141XL and NT141GL hand-held computers.

For more information, contact Norand Corp., 550 Second Street, S.E., Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. Tel: (800) 553-5971.

Pen-Based System Brochure

A six-page brochure on its new pen-based Pen*View system is available from Norand Corp. The brochure outlines features of the system, which is designed for form-based data collection.

In the brochure, Norand describes Pen*View's electronic stylus, large screen, handwriting recognition capability and 2 MB main memory capacity.

The Pen*View computer features a 6.5-inch electronic display, DOS based operating environment, high-capacity memory cards and an internal modem. The Pen*View dock and adaptor allows the system to communicate with printers and communication devices from the current 4000 Series distribution system.

For a copy of the brochure, contact Norand, Tel: (800) 452-2757.

New processor for hand-held

National Datacomputer has announced improvements for its hand-held computer. In 1992, a new processor was introduced for the hand-held, with a speed three times as fast as the old processor.

The unit runs on an NEC V20H processor, at 12.28 MHZ clock speed, with one to eight megabytes of battery backed-up RAM. The unit has a 10-line by 26-character display, with 80 x 160 graphics capability.

The system runs on N DOS, which runs programs developed using standard MS-DOS languages such as C, BASIC and PASCAL.

Communications are through 2 serial ports, up to 57.6 baud direct connect, with an optional acoustic coupler and optional Hayes compatible 2400-baud modem.

The connector board has a DB25S Serial Port, and an industry-standard DB-9P bar code port with RJ-11 phone connector, external power jack with charge-indicating LED and reboot button.

Power options include a 4 AA battery holder; quick-change rechargeable pack; standard and rapid chargers; permanent Ni-Cad packs, rechargeable in unit; or AC adapter and internal Ni-Cad charger.

The unit, which weighs 32 oz. without batteries, also features a rain-resistant sealed keyboard and case and rain-resistant DB25 connector.

For more information, contact National Datacomputer, 900 Middlesex Turnpike, Bldg. 5, Billerica, MA 01821. Tel: (508) 663-7677.
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Title Annotation:hardware and software for beer wholesalers
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jan 25, 1993
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