Standard Motor Products manufactures, distributes, and markets replacement parts for automobiles and supplies to organizations such as AutoZone and NAPA. Headquartered in Long Island City, New York, Standard Motor Products uses IBM i as its primary system for purchasing, payroll, and material requirements planning. More than 1,500 of its employees use IBM i in conjunction with the company's implementation of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Management
Originally, Standard Motor used JD Edwards World Writer for their IBM data management processes, but faced compatibility issues after upgrading their systems to IBM's POWER7 architecture. That’s where Sequel came in. They selected Sequel because of its excellent compatibility with the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Data Dictionary, and its ability to pull queries from dictionaries without requiring operators to perform tasks such as the manual conversion of Julian dates and adjustment of decimal places. In the end, individual users required less assistance from IT.
Security was a front and center matter during the Sequel setup. Standard Motor had gone through an incident involving improper data dissemination, and this event helped influence the choice to ultimately go with Sequel instead of IBM Query Security. Standard Motor does not run typical OS/400 security; instead they rely on a custom system with controls for each group to access. This custom system sets up Sequel to match its requirements. In order to control who can see what data, Standard Motor has plans to transition all remaining users of World Writer and other legacy tools to Sequel in the near future.
Transitioning users to Sequel is easy because of Sequel’s graphical interface. With just a few point-and-clicks, users are able set up views to see the data they need. The SQL tab has also proven valuable to users who were accustomed to SQL querying. "That is what I talk about when I talk about Sequel, [when] people ask what sets it apart… it is ease of use," said Diana Stobbe, Business Analyst at Standard Motor Products. "It’s very click-and-drag, very Windows-[based], and at the same time you have the expertise of SQL."
Integration is Easy
On a more technical level, Sequel streamlines the handling of JD Edwards file types, which are difficult to query and write reports against. With Sequel, everyone (technical and nontechnical users) can process data without having to worry about manual conversions or needing to enlist a programmer for help.
Stobbe said they needed a broad range of options and features to tailor to their specific workflows. With Sequel’s straightforward email functionality and the ability to create pivot and client tables, they didn’t have to change their processes extensively. Sequel is currently being used for accounting at their Long Island City facility, as well as their office in Louisville, Kentucky. Going forward, Standard Motor Products plans to train many additional users in how to operate Sequel, and implement Esend more extensively for report distribution.
Standard Motor also chose Sequel because it integrates well with other Fortra solutions such as Robot Schedule (enterprise job scheduler). Like Sequel, Robot eliminates the hassle of having to perform large quantities of manual tasks, freeing up personnel to work more easily on other worthwhile projects.
"With Robot and Sequel, I can script my stuff and Robot will run my script, notify me, and send everything out," Stobbe explained. "I don't have to manually do things anymore. I can set it up and have it autorun. That is what I am going to teach my users: with the things you run all the time, once you get to the point that you can script it, you can ask the programmers to schedule it to just happen."
I don't have to manually do things anymore.
Diana Stobbe, Business Analyst, Standard Motor Products
A Relationship for Success
As a Fortra product, Sequel is famous for their high-quality customer support. Standard Motor has benefited from an excellent working relationship with their product experts, citing the promptness, friendliness, and accuracy of their responses. "As a company, we have strong technical support which is a very valuable piece of what customers are purchasing. They don’t just get the software, but the people that are behind it," stated Sequel expert Dan Cook, who has worked closely with Standard Motor.
At the end of the day, Standard Motor has been able to use JD Edwards more efficiently and greatly improve the productivity of their employees with Sequel. From on the spot report generation to interacting with data dictionaries and SQL to set up processes, Standard Motor has been able to overcome significant technical obstacles. With Sequel as an integral part of their IBM i systems and intuitive data management on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Standard Motor is finding true data empowerment.