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Keeping it Fresh

Tony’s Fine Foods serves up the newest mission-critical data with BI tools

Tony’s Fine Foods serves up the newest mission-critical data with BI tools
Photo by Mike Graffigna

Up Close

CUSTOMER: Tony’s Fine Foods
HEADQUARTERS: West Sacramento, Calif.
BUSINESS: Perishable foods distributor
HARDWARE: Two IBM System i 520s
SOFTWARE: Help/Systems’ SEQUEL and Retalix from Retalix Ltd.
CHALLENGE: Using business-intelligence tools to augment the reporting capabilities of its IBM i ERP system
SOLUTION: Deploying SEQUEL and Retalix to help fill in some of the company’s reporting gaps and providing more real-time data to end users

Remember those two-tiered in/out boxes perched on the corners of people’s desks? Sure, they made these people look important (“Hey, look, I got a full inbox”), but they weren’t very efficient (“Hey, look, I got a full inbox”).

That’s why electronic reporting has become indispensable. Paper has been passé for a while. After all, how current can data on printed reports be if it’s included as part of a midnight batch-printing process? Yesterday’s numbers are yesterday’s numbers. Today’s numbers are much more relevant.

ERP applications try to accommodate that, allowing some forms of online reporting, but this can also be cumbersome. Many data users don’t have the technical know-how to drill down to get the data they need and then parse it so it makes sense. As a result, they often have to call the IT department to request reports. But, like batch printing, this slows the data-gathering process.

“We looked for a product that could take care of the core business, which allowed us to divert past development time to more customized tools and solutions.”—Mark Geery, CIO, Tony’s Fine Foods

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at



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