PLATFORMS: Desktop PC 166 MHz on Novell Net.
BACKGROUND: Sipex designs, manufactures, markets and sells innovative, high performance, high value-added analog integrated circuits. The company is focused on three high-growth market sectors: data communications and telecommunications, battery powered/portable products and industrial controls/instrumentation. Sipex serves these market sectors with three primary product lines: interface circuits, low power application-specific analog circuits and data converter products.
PROBLEM SOLVED: In order to insure that material is available and orders enter production evenly, on time and without inflating inventories, it is necessary to access sales, inventory, work in process, purchase order and component demand files. This information is spread out on at least a dozen reports each having several sorting versions. Because of the current architecture, data is only available through printed reports or ASCII file transfers. To get customized reports or raw ASCII data, users must go through the IS department. Conflicting priorities and a small IS staff result in delays in getting the needed information. Monarch 3.0 report mining software can take the information that already exists in the standard reports, parse it and reformat it into database and spreadsheet-type formats. By using the standard reports already created, there is no need for IS involvement, plus the logic and data have already been tested and verified through use. The process of determining what material needs to be ordered used to take several days; now it is less than a two-hour job!
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Reports are dumped to a PC or Network drive. From there a Monarch Autoscript is run that reads in the report, opens a project file which tells Monarch which data to turn into fields, creates a table or a summary table and outputs the data into a Corel Paradox (.db) file and stores that table on a PC or Network drive.
STRENGTHS: Monarch is extremely easy to use and once a model is set up, each regeneration of the data is a simple point and click away. Monarch can import just about any type of report and exports into a variety of standard formats including: Excel, Dbase, Lotus 1-2-3, delimited. Even without exporting the data, Monarch offers some database and spreadsheet functionality. Searches, summaries and graphing all can be done with the stand-alone product.
WEAKNESSES: Most of the weaknesses are minor and concern the use of the database table within the product. Field names don't allow spaces or mixed cases and only go up to 10 characters. Moving columns isn't drag and drop. However, it is adequate for viewing, searching and doing summaries. Monarch's ability to export to more familiar tools overcomes this easily.
DELIVERABLES: Monarch is used daily to produce tables that allow analysis of data quickly and efficiently in a familiar environment, rather than sifting through dozens of printed reports that don't give a clear picture of what is currently happening. Monarch also frees up the IS department to do data management rather than report sorting.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Monarch was chosen for its ability to create the exact data tables needed from a variety of unformatted data sources. It is easy to use and can be set up to run projects automatically.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The company always keeps in touch and follows up on new purchases.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is great. Even the advanced features are explained in a few short sentences and have easy-to-follow examples. There are also on-line lessons and examples if needed.
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