Windows or Linux
?"> One requirement for software was that it would integrate well with a JBA System 21 ERP system from Geac, which runs on AS/400 hardware at Bruce Foods headquarters. "A lot of supply chain vendors offer software that will operate on both AS/400 and Windows-based machines. But most tend to be more specialized on one platform than the other," Brown said. "Many of them have started to support Linux, too." But Bruce Foods opted to roll out its WMS and TMS systems on Windows. "We were satisfied with RedPrairies AS/400 implementation. The reason we went with Windows instead was so we could run WMS and TMS locally at the branches," he said."We dont have anyone at the branches whos trained in AS/400. Probably, we could have put AS/400 boxes in the closets out there and let the machines run unattended, but we didnt want to do that. And we dont know enough about Linux, really, to go with that OS," he said. Transaction processing is now the steepest hurdle. "Our transactions have to go ERP, to WMS, to TMS, to WMS, and then back to ERP. Were using batch files to transmit transactions from the Windows machines at the branches to the AS/400 at headquarters, via routers," Brown said. As Bruce Foods moves forward with its multiyear WMS/TMS/RFID implementation, Brown said he isnt sure yet what new supply chain capabilities might pop up on his wish list. "Thats a very open-ended question," he said. "At the moment, were just [focusing] on getting the WMS-TMS system going at our headquarters site by the second or third week in August." Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Brown said he foresees cost savings from less expensive PC hardware, as well as efficiencies to be gained by making use of IT pros at branch facilities.