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Stead & Simpson
|Fujitsu VME 3900 COBOL
Micro Focus COBOL
Stead & Simpson is one of the oldest independent shoe retailers in the UK. The company was founded in 1834 and has branches in almost every town of the UK.
Steam & Simpson chose Legacy Software Downsizing to migrate their Warehouse Management System. This controls the movement of goods both in and out of the warehouse, and its location within the warehouse. It integrates with the Merchandising System, which decides what stock to send to which branches based on shop sales.
The Warehousing System was originally created thirty-five years ago when Stead & Simpson bought their first Fujitsu VME 1901T computer. The system had been used throughout that time, moving to a 1902A, 2900, 3900 and Trimetra. Much of it had been re-written over the years, but the basic functionality had changed very little.
It was written in COBOL, comprising around 250,000 lines of code and using sixty-five flat files (of which thirty were directly accessed by TPMS). For speed of access CAFS calls were used to retrieve information. There were thirty on-line users.
Stead & Simpson already used Windows for their other (package) systems, and wanted the Warehousing System to be migrated to a Windows platform using Oracle.
The Contract was signed in February 2001, the project was completed in October and the system went live in December 2001, at which time the mainframe was decommissioned.
The system runs just as fast as it did on the VME. Initially there were some problems with calls where CAFS used to be used, but by simple re-engineering on the part of LSD the performance without CAFS is immediate and instantaneous.
The VME annual costs used to be £65,000 per annum. Stead & Simpson have saved this by moving to a Windows/NT Platform.
Having an Oracle database enables them to obtain faster information about the warehouse than was previously possible with the Fujitsu VME flat file system.
Of their six development staff, four used to work on VME and two on Windows. Now that the VME system is being decommissioned, the team has been reintegrated, with on-going development benefits.
It's amazing, it looks identical to the system we used to have on VME.
Reaction from the users
It operates in exactly the same way as it used to operate on VME and the Job Control Language written in Visual Basic is very easy to use. It also means that all of our systems are now on an Windows/Oracle platform.
Reaction from the operators
Throughout the project we worked very closely with the Legacy team, particularly during the planning stage and when the system was in an advanced state of development, when a considerable amount of testing was performed off site in Manchester. This ensured that when the system was delivered to Leicester we were able to install and go 'live' in a relatively short time period, which was necessary for operational reasons. We were particularly impressed with the thoroughness of the development team, which meant that we did not have to compromise on existing functionality in any way. All round performance is excellent.
Read how pleased Peter Foot, the Financial Director, was with the migration on the Endorsements page