McNichols Enables Information Exchange

Steel distributor selects solution that is more responsive, supports phone-based ordering and technical inquiries

Colorado Springs, CO — September 2, 2004 — The McNichols Company, headquartered in Tampa, Fla., said it recently completed the first release of its revised order management system based on XA-iServer technology provided by Xaware Inc.

Embedding XA-iServer within the new system provided McNichols with a graphical user interface (GUI) using Java and IBM WebSphere that connects to the existing legacy application in RPG. The Sales Order Management system utilized the XAware product to perform common I/O management in extensible markup language (XML) for multiple systems.

McNichols employs 325 people in 16 locations in the United States and Mexico. The company provides stock and specialized products, including wire mesh, flooring, walkways, stairs and handrail components. Because the company's products are designed to meet customers' specific needs, McNichols' database had grown to more than 22,000 items. With thousands of permutations of size and product-line specific attributes, customer support required a more responsive system to support phone-based ordering and technical inquiries.

McNichols chose Xaware's XA-iServer as its data integration, data migration and Web services platform. XA-iServer allowed McNichols to create XML views of existing and new data sources, while supplying the new Java based order management system with a bi-directional interface using open industry standards.

Don Slocum, McNichols director of Information Services, said he is pleased that the company chose XAware. Says Slocum: "The implementation of XA-iServer resulted in tremendous development time savings. We can now generate most XML views in a matter of minutes. In fact," he added, "our overall development process has been standardized due to the implementation of XAware's technology."

Another consideration when choosing XAware was that McNichols needed an XML technology adaptable enough to grow with the company. Stated Slocum, "The XAware solution is written in a logical, standardized open format, so we aren't locked in to a certain database or constrained as we build our operations. That kind of flexibility is very important to us."

XAware also scored high in the customer service arena for McNichols. According to Slocum, "The post-sales training provided by XAware was invaluable as it resulted in dramatically reduced order entry times. I can't say enough for how responsive XAware was during the whole process."

Patrick Bultema, CEO, XAware, notes that the McNichols project was both challenging and rewarding, "McNichols' needs were many faceted. They needed a platform that would help them reduce costs and project times up front, while at the same time being flexible enough to deliver powerful information services in the future. Working with McNichols and knowing that we delivered a solution that will work in both the short-and long-term has been very rewarding."

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