Output management as integrated solution
MARKANT Handels und Service GmbH
The MARKANT Handels und Service GmbH is a trade cooperation consolidated to MARKANT AG, Switzerland, with more than one hundred members in the wholesale and retail business. Their task is to ensure the autonomy and independence and thus also the future of trade between medium-sized companies. MARKANT brings together the potential of a large number of independent wholesalers and retailers. The main focus of this trading partnership lies in the areas of purchasing, central clearing, payment guarantees, logistics, marketing, communication, financing and e-services via the www.markant.net website.
The MARKANT central regulation takes on the financial handling of the invoices and credit notes of 4,660 industrial companies to more than 100 of the trading companies affiliated to MARKANT. These are 294,000 documents and vouchers per week or daily 42,000 documents and vouchers of which 65% are processed by electronic data interchange. The central regulation is the starting point for extensive IT processes such as digital archiving, processing of the electronic accounting information and summarization of the data on member level. The clearing with the MARKANT member is carried out non-documentarily. For the MARKANT member, in turn, the data transmitted electronically are the basis for the automatic posting, the automatic auditing of accounts and many further processes.
In the context of the major IT project "European Central Regulation (ECR)" MARKANT had to search for new and future-proof solutions for the output management to be implemented newly. "We aimed high because the new solution should meet the requirements of both, a central output management solution for all applications on our IBM AS/400 iSeries systems as well as the special output requirements from the "ECR"," says Thomas Waniek, divisional director in the IT Competence Center at MARKANT. "And as parallel major project the introduction of the SoftM inventory management system set a number of further requirements to our future output management. On this basis we thoroughly searched the market for an output management system best to fit. One of the systems we analysed was the one from ROHA."
The greatest challenge was the very important function of merging the documents and vouchers, internally called "sorting street." This means nothing else but the merging of most different pieces of documents and vouchers from most different origin systems and techniques into one printer spoolfile.
Soon it got clear that the function of merging documents and vouchers is offered by none of the examined output management systems in the standard package. So it was certain that an individual upgrading must be realized for MARKANT. The possibility of creating an integrated solution and the costs resulting from that, therefore have become another criterion. After having started with the survey of the market in December 2000, MARKANT decided in May 2001 in favor of ROHA´s solution which finally went live in December 2001.
Today, MARKANT uses the solution SpoolMaster as a central output management system on the AS/400 systems, for example for the applications ECR, financial accounting or inventory management. SpoolMaster is implemented on the AS/400 systems in the data processing center at MARKANT in Offenburg. From here, input is provided for both: the data processing center for print output which is also located in Offenburg as well as the decentralized printout on standard and on special printers at the sites Offenburg, Worms, Hamburg and Hilden.
SpoolMaster enables MARKANT to electronically process all documents and vouchers independent of spoolfile formats and printer types. Furthermore, the highly performant processing of the more than one thousand documents and vouchers is ensured despite the mass data. A further request is solved: Both is possible, central printing on high performance printers and decentralized printing in the network. In addition, the output management system is connected with the existing archiving system and processes scanned documents and vouchers in the TIF format. An interface to the existing fax server as well as an interface to the existing e-service platform is also realized. And last but not least MARKANT uses SpoolMaster for intelligent spoolfile segmentation.