Teleprinters Are Helping Peavey to Reap Improved Communications Productivity.
Faster, more reliable communications at less cost are resulting from the use of new teleprinters in a network operated by Peavey Grain Companies. Used to transmit daily market quotations and other data, the teleprinters are now being operated in more than 50 locations in eight states.
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Peavey Grain Companies is a division of ConAgra, a diversified company with annual sales of $3.2 billion which operates businesses in a wide range of food-related areas, including agricultural chemicals, feed and fertilizer, specialty retailing, grain processing, grain merchandising, poultry products, frozen prepared foods and seafood.
Peavey Grain is reportedly the largest publicly-held grain merchandiser in the country. Through its Commodity Marketing Group, Peavey also is a worldwide trader of bulk, bagged and containerized agricultural commodities and edible protein products.
Peavey specialty merchandising businesses include Burdick Grain Company, which supplies specialty grain to maltsters, brewers, distillers and the food processing industry, and Atwood-Larson Company, a grain commission firm which provides management services and merchandises grain for 150 country elevators in North Central United States. In addition, a commodity brokerage business called Peavey Commodity Services offers brokerage services to hedging and speculative clients through 125 offices and agencies in the United States and Canada.
To operate its business, Peavey must transmit market quotations and other data to its elevators every day. Until the late 1970s, these quotations were transmitted via the telephone. Three merchandisers spent two hours a day making phone calls. However, this was a time-consuming, inefficient and, in some cases, ineffective communications method since merchandisers on occasion were not even able to get through to elevators.
Peavey therefore installed communicating teletypewriters at elevators and transmitted market quotations and other data to these units via a private-line teletype network. Operating with a computer switch, the network transmitted data to 10 elevators at a time.
This approach reduced the time it took to send data, but it was still a relatively slow and costly method that lacked reliability. So, as teletypewriters began to wear out from use, a survey was conducted of equipment available to replace them.
Based on this investigation, Peavey decided to install 3M Whisper Writer 1000 Series teleprinters. These units are now being used to successfully improve operations, according to Larry Schultz, vice president, elevator operations, northern division.
New System Six Times Faster
Operating six times faster than the previous system, the new teleprinters communicate at a rate of 30 characters per second or 300 baud in comparison to teletypewriter speeds of five characters per second or 50 baud.
Reliability is improved because the Whisper Writers provide troublefree operation with minimum maintenance requirements. The units are also 20 percent smaller than teletypewriters and quieter in operation since they have thermal instead of impact printing capabilities. Easy to operate, the equipment also minimizes the need for training.
The 3M teleprinters are used on both a stand-alone basis and with a Whisper Writer 1945 Intelligent Keyboard, which provides the units with send as well as receive capabilities. The keyboard has an 8,000-character memory that makes it possible to store and edit data off-line prior to transmittal. Sending data via existing phone lines which cost 50 percent less than the former private-line teletype network, teleprinters with keyboards provide greater communications flexibility than teletypewriters since they can communicate with Telex and TWX as well as teletype networks.
Peavey transmits data from a communications room equipped with two computers and four workstations, which provides domestic and international communications capabilities for the whole company. Operated under the direction of Kathy Brousseau, the communications room uses a second-carrier service to broadcast communications to teleprinters.
Teleprinters were initially installed at 36 elevators operated by Peavey's northern division in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and northern Minnesota. Later, additional 3M teleprinters were placed in operation at a facility of Burdick Grain Company in Minot, North Dakota; and office of Agribasics Company, another ConAgra division, in Great Falls, Montana; and five Montana Agribasics feed mills.
Peavey sends market quotations to these locations each day following market closes. Transmissions also include letters, memos and other data communications.
Based on the success of these operations, Peavey installed Whisper Writers with keyboards at 16 more elevators operated by its southern division in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa and southern Minnesota. Market quotations are also sent to these locations along with other types of market data.
Photo: Twenty percent smaller than a teletypewriter and quieter in operation since it uses thermal instead of impact printing, the Whisper Writer teleprinter is designed for easy operation, thus minimizing the need for training.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 1985|
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