S & G Novartis

S & G move into Millennium

When S&G Seeds B.V. realised that the upgrade from their, heavily modified, BPCS V2.0 and V2.1 systems to BPCS V5.1 was not going to see them into the next millennium, the race was on to find a solution before the problem 'hurt' them in April 1997. An internal team was appointed to search for, not only a long-term solution, but also a bridge to allow S&G the opportunity to implement it throughout Europe without the pressure of the looming millennium.

What S&G needed was time.

By November 1996 it had been established that using a 'six to eight' solution would take too long and was too costly to be used to convert systems that were to be replaced. S&G invited MS4 Ltd, to demonstrate, what seemed to be, their 'too good to be true' MS4 product over some isolated ORD and MRP programs and files. The results were astonishing. Transactions could be entered and processed with dates both before and after the Millennium, and were displayed and printed in sequence - nothing appeared to be different!

S&G decided to put the tool to the test. In December they started the conversion - by the beginning of February over 3,000 files and 8,000 programs had been analysed and converted. Extensive testing was then carried out by a team of IT consultants, and Key Users from all Business areas within the company, resulting in a total of 166 errors, of which only 11 were within the Core BPCS systems. "A lot of the errors were caused by alphanumeric date fields within S&G's local software and, in most cases, took minutes to fix", says Rob Noordeloos from the 'Year 2000' team. However, a large amount of manual work was required to adjust the queries run from menu options, to convert old DFU programs into maintenance programs and to adjust hardcoded dates. A final test was carried out in July to ensure the integrity between all of the systems, and on 25th August, 1997 S&G, in Holland, went live - one week ahead of plan!

The second phase of the project was for S&G in France, with the project plan based on the experiences in Holland. A later version of the MS4 tool was used to do the analysis and conversion which reduced the amount of manual work considerably - even though the French systems were a lot older, with RPGII programs migrated from S/38. The project took 3 months to complete, and the systems were put live on 23rd February, 1998.

There have been hardly any reported errors since the systems went live and those that have been reported were, again, alphanumeric dates. In the case of the Dutch systems, all of the closing programs have been successfully run in the live environment - including Year End.

S&G are now able to concentrate on their long-term solution, and are implementing this in their S/36 sites where, at the time of making their Y2K decision, there was no available solution.

S&G are now coming to the end of the second stage of testing by key users from all business areas within the company. With a final test planned in July to ensure the integrity between all of the systems, S&G are confident that their Go Live date, of 1st September 1997, will be easily attained.

On 1st June, 1997, S&G became part of the Novartis Seeds, Vegetables, & Flowers Europe, group of companies.

1997-2001 EM4 Solutions Ltd.