Mark Anthony Group keeps information flowing
Mark Anthony Group needed to streamline internal and external information flow governing order entry, warehouse management, billing, and shipping and receiving operations.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
ibi data platform
Mark Anthony Group, Inc. manufactures and sells wine and alcoholic beverages in the U.S. and Canada.
Until recently, Mark Anthony Group primarily used manual processes and paper-based activities to track many warehouse transactions, both internally and with its trading partners. Even after implementing Microsoft BizTalk Server to exchange communications across its extended organization, the ability to quickly and seamlessly share information between its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems remained a challenge. Developers had trouble using the middleware to establish reliable communications with the company’s ERP and CRM systems.
“As we gained greater automation with our ERP system, we wanted to extend that automation out to the warehouse and back, keeping the entire business process electronic,” says Ray Cooper, developer and analyst at Mark Anthony Group. “BizTalk was not able to do the job to our satisfaction, so we began examining other options for internal application integration.”
Mark Anthony Group evaluated middleware solutions from leading technology providers, including ibi, a TIBCO company. The ibi data platform emerged as the most flexible and cost-effective solution. As Cooper noted, the ibi solution can be deployed on virtually any platform, while other options require proprietary hardware. He also appreciates the ibi solution’s intuitive graphical interface and developer workbench, making it easy to create custom components and workflows.
Mark Anthony Group deployed the ibi data platform to help streamline warehouse operations. The business process automation (BPA) capability automates internal workflows by passing extensible markup language (XML) documents between systems to control a wide array of mission-critical business activities, including receiving stock, identifying non-registered products, managing inventory, picking orders, shipping goods to retailers, invoicing retailers, and handling many stringently regulated reporting requirements of the Liquor Control Board. The ibi data platform also manages dynamic electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions with the organization’s manufacturing partners.
“The performance of [ibi data platform] and its ability to adjust to our needs is excellent,” Cooper summarizes. “We can scale our server or add another virtual machine as the business continues to grow.”
Mark Anthony Group has moved five of its customers to the EDI system, with labor savings equivalent to one full-time employee. Once the ibi data platform is interfacing with all of Mark Anthony Group’s customers, those savings will be magnified many times over.
The ibi data platform also includes enterprise information management (EIM) capabilities to evaluate, monitor, and manage data quality. It can flag exceptions, spot inconsistencies, and identify customers’ order preferences in advance based on predefined business rules. This additional insight minimizes returns and boosts customer satisfaction.
Mark Anthony Group plans to integrate the ibi data platform into the Samba direct messaging system that underlies its ERP system. Samba provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients; it can integrate with a Windows Server domain, either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or a domain member. It can also be part of an Active Directory domain. This integration will permit the ibi data platform to manage many additional business processes, both internally and with trading partners. Based on the quick results he has seen to date, Cooper is confident that the ibi data platform will easily handle this messaging standard.
Today, the ibi data platform processes more than 150 outgoing orders and 15 large shipment receipts each day. By eliminating cumbersome and error-prone manual tasks, Mark Anthony Group has realized a substantial boost in productivity. For example, the company estimates that the ibi data platform enables it to process orders up to 75 percent faster while ensuring greater information accuracy.
[The ibi data platform] automates the entire process from order to billing. Previously, this was a manual process that involved a lot of paperwork. It’s much faster and more accurate now.”
Developer and Analyst
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