Help/Systems’ Job Scheduling Software and Message Monitoring Turns McLane Foodservice's Schedule Into a Thing of Beauty

Fully automated iSeries monitoring and job scheduling software from Help/Systems has made McLane Foodservice’s schedule run like clockwork – resulting in immeasurable cost savings.

(PRWEB) May 17, 2004 -- Job scheduling software and message monitoring from Help/Systems, Inc., the world’s largest provider of iSeries automation software, has fully automated McLane Foodservice's schedule. McLane Foodservice is one of the nation’s largest distributors of fast food products. That requires dependable and powerful hardware, like the IBM iSeries, and software, like the Robot suite of iSeries automation and iSeries monitoring products from Help/Systems. Cliff Payne, the iSeries Scheduler, Spyview, and RDS administrator for the food service division office in Carrollton, Texas, explains, “In food service distribution, the iSeries is our bread and butter. We use it with the different JD Edwards applications and Help/Systems software.”

An automation solution that’s a thing of beauty
Cliff continues, “When I arrived at McLane Foodservice, the Robot products were already installed and running. They included Robot/SCHEDULE, the automatic job scheduler, Robot/CONSOLE, the message management software, and Robot/ALERT, the iSeries monitoring software.” In 2000, Cliff and his boss, Randy Winters, decided to look at their schedule and see what wasn’t working. They also looked at using OPAL (OPerator Assistance Language) with Robot/SCHEDULE to control their batch processing and reduce the number of reactive jobs. The results, according to Cliff, are awesome. “Now, the schedule is fully automated and runs like clockwork. The whole automated process is a thing of beauty and I’m very proud of it.”

Automation basics: Boring is good
For automation wannabes, Cliff offers some advice. “I learned two big concepts—‘Keep It Simple’ and ‘OPAL Code Is Your Best Friend.’ To simplify, we decided to put all our systems on the iSeries and use the Help/Systems products because of their reputation for reliability and simplicity. And OPAL code is miraculous. Simple code controls what used to tie my batch stream into knots.”

iSeries automation the Help/Systems way
All of their Help/Systems products play a big role in the batch schedule automation. According to Cliff, “We use Robot/CONSOLE and Robot/ALERT with Robot/SCHEDULE to monitor our iSeries systems and our batch flow. If there are errors, we get the message. We also like Robot/CPA, the usage reporting and chargeback package. We use it to get a nice graphical view of how our business groups use the iSeries. I track consumption by assigning jobs to accounting codes. It’s a real eye opener when we can pinpoint areas of wasted computer usage and show different departments how much system time they actually use.”

Money talks and problems walk
Money, as always, is a big item. As Cliff sees it, “We’ve enjoyed great cost savings with Robot/SCHEDULE and the other products. If you count all the licenses we were buying before Help/Systems, and what we were going through trying to get things running, the cost savings are immeasurable.” As for technical issues, Cliff continues, “We rarely have any trouble with upgrades or installations. And, anytime I have a question, I can call support and they walk me through the issue. It amazes me how friendly they are when you call—eager to help and very sharp technically. That’s impressive, and I’ve never gotten a wrong answer.”

The future—more visible automation
Now that everything is running smoothly with job scheduling software and message monitoring from Help/Systems, what does the future hold for McLane Foodservice and the Robot products? According to Cliff, “I’m really looking forward to using the Robot/SCHEDULE Visio-based tool [which allows users to display their job schedule and dependencies on a PC]. Currently, each group has a Visio version of their batch schedule. If we could easily hand them an updated copy it would be sweet, and they’d love me.” Visible proof that the future looks great for McLane Foodservice and Help/Systems.

About Help/Systems, Inc. -
Founded in 1982, Help/Systems is the world's largest company specializing is iSeries software for operations automation. Help/Systems was the first company in the United States to achieve certification under the international quality standard ISO 9001 and continues its certification today. The company develops, markets, and supports a modular suite of software products collectively known as the Robot Automated Operations Solution.

For more information about Help/Systems Electronic Report Distribution and Operations Automation solutions visit Help/Systems online at:

Robot/ALERT for iSeries monitoring via pager or e-mail -

Robot/CONSOLE for iSeries monitoring including message log monitoring and management -

Robot/SCHEDULE for iSeries job scheduling and batch job management -

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