At Masterfoods Austria printouts and forms out of the AS/400 are child's play
Masterfoods Austria OHG
Founded in 1966 as a subsidiary of Mars Inc. Masterfoods is today one of the major Austrian food manufacturers. With more than 39,000 employees the Mars Group produces an annual turnover of more than $ 16 billion. Masterfoods Austria has two subsidiaries: the pet foods plant in Bruck/Leitha and the snack food production in Breitenbrunn, and with 750 employees achieved a turnover of approx. € 356 million in 2003. Among the popular brands are snacks such as Mars, Balisto, Twix, Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Way, Bounty, Amicelli, Fanfare, the food brand Uncle Ben’s among others as well as pet food and care products like Whiskas, Sheba, Pedigree, Cesar, Frolic, Kitekat, Trill, Seramis or Catsan.
Masterfoods uses the secure system IBM AS/400 iSeries yet its printing functionalities and devices are little comfortable. This is why in the mid-80’ies the Mars daughter introduced a printing solution which - as it eventually turned out - also could not come up to all demands. Finally the IT department decided to look for an output management system which would allow them to printout directly from the AS/400 on the existing Xerox printer as well as all other PCL printers. The appointed goal was: hardware-independent, flexible and cost-effective printing. Further desired qualities of the new solution: it should be scaleable, open for further technological development and thus future-oriented. And last but not least it should offer a wide range of functionalities concerning spool processing on the AS/400 such as PDF output, comfortable and efficient processing and archiving of forms and the direct link-up of the AS/400 to fax systems.
Sleeves were tucked up and in December 1997 it was accomplished: SpoolMaster handles the printing. As one of the first clients Masterfoods thus had quite some stake in the development of this first SpoolMaster software version and in the meantime SpoolMaster has become a vital part of their AS/400 environment.
Today’s broad application area at Masterfoods illustrates how SpoolMaster has matured to an integrated output management system for the AS/400 iSeries: the software handles the entire print output of the AS/400. Numerous departments at Masterfoods enjoy the advantages of the output management: SpoolMaster operates in planning, production, logistics und sales as well as payroll and times accounting.
Concerning paper output users at Masterfoods have become used to printing barcodes on PCL printers. But not only does the output software accept spools from the iSeries as input, the module Database Reader also reads information directly out of the data base files. Masterfoods employs SpoolMaster also for the processing of AS/400 spools for archiving and for the fax dispatch of spools via fax software - manual handling and the associated expenditure of time have become redundant.
Thomas Putschalka, IT department Masterfoods puts it brief: "SpoolMaster is constantly present." Of course he has to handle version changes with extra care as the software is integrated in the 24/7 cycle of the production plant. But Putschalka also emphasizes the benefits of the flexible flow control and smooth handling by his trained users: "We in the IT department are the ones who operate the output system - and the acceptance is very high. The users do not even notice SpoolMaster. They are simply enjoying the perfect printing results and numerous functionalities such as electronic forms with barcodes. And the PDF Writer is going to be the next hit," says Thomas Putschalka. "Talking about plans concerning application development, we build on the possibilities of the integrated solution: SpoolMaster is simply an integral part of our AS/400!"
Master Foods Austria OHG
Aim of the project was the flexible and cost effective use of Xerox-PCL-Printer straight out of the AS/400. Further factors: Spool processing, output of spools as PDF, easy to edit forms and the linking of the AS/400 with a fax.