REVIEWER: James Beames, IT systems engineer for Petersen Inc.

BACKGROUND: Petersen Inc. offers custom fabrication, precision machining and warehousing and distribution.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Windows IIS 6.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 on Windows Server 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We purchased a small enterprise resource planning (ERP)-type system to input, track and bill our orders at our Precision Machining Division, but we were disappointed with the reporting capabilities of this system. Our managers needed better tools to track and report our manufacturing output.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Logi Info allowed the flexibility to capture all of our data, which was in MS SQL, and show the data in many different formats, with both graphs and charts. The product also allowed user input to help refine the data. A key feature for us was Logi Info's Web functionality that did not require any additional software for the users with a standard browser. We have many outside vendors who support our facility by working as our overflow manufacturing capacity source. Using Logi Info, we have been able to integrate these firms into our reporting system by building an external page for our vendors to receive, track and complete their orders. This program has been a huge success for the suppliers, who better understand how to work with Petersen, and for Petersen because we can effectively gauge vendor performance.

STRENGTHS: Its strengths include the ability to quickly create and maintain reporting pages that can be reused over and over again. It has flexibility; the variety of charts and user interfaces allows me to create almost any type of report for my users. The ability to get data from a variety of sources has helped us merge some of our legacy data into our current data. The ability to create templates and export data into a variety of programs such as Excel, Word and Adobe allows us to give our users more choice.

WEAKNESSES: I would like to see stronger template tools for exporting graphs to PDF templates. I found the NT security interface is confusing to use and have had mixed results with it.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our main selection criteria were cost and flexibility. We looked at other products that were in the $60,000-80,000 range, but Logi Info gave us almost the same functionality for around $10,000.

DELIVERABLES: We have been able to design and implement a number of Web-based reports that are both functional and visually appealing. Our end users have not had to learn any new software and have gotten the desired information. We have created more than 100 different reports, such as date range reports showing sales, on-time delivery and productivity reports, many using Excel-style charts. We have created customer portals for order entry, order tracking and invoicing confirmation, as well as other pages that increase our communications with our vendors.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support and the online training have been excellent. I have my issues handled quickly and effectively.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation was somewhat difficult to understand as a new user, but I have been able to use the documentation more effectively by accessing LogiXML's online training sessions.

Logi 8
LogiXML, Inc.
7900 Westpark Drive,
Suite T107
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 752-9700

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