Benvenuto S.A.C.I. is a family owned company and one of the main canned food manufacturers in Argentina, Benvenuto products, including the La Campagnola brand, are found in all major retailers, such as Carrefour, Jumbo, Wal*Mart, Disco, Coto and Yaguar. Benvenuto are famous for their jams, jellies and canned fish. Benvenuto selected Visual LANSA to modernize its existing core RPG-based applications with Windows and Web interfaces.
Ernesto Saavedra IT Manager at Benvenuto, says, "After more than a year's experience working with LANSA, I can say that LANSA and Recursos Action S.A. have exceeded our expectations in every way. We firmly recommend LANSA to any company looking for the best way to modernize existing applications, or build new applications. The learning curve for LANSA is short and now that we know LANSA, we get benefits quickly."
The learning curve for LANSA is short and now that we know LANSA, we get benefits quickly
Benvenuto is a traditional company and its brand names are household words in Argentina. But to support its growth, Benvenuto needed to modernize its existing RPG-based 5250 applications with modern Web and Windows user interfaces.
"The marketplace in Argentina has changed dramatically," explains Saavedra. "25 years ago we had a very large number of customers, but as in most business ventures in the country, everything is now more concentrated and now our most important customers are the big chains including Carrefour, Wal*Mart and others. Today 80 percent of our production goes to the 20 percent of the customers. This shows the high concentration level in the markets."
We needed to modernize our applications and that meant getting rid of the green-screens. We needed a product to build a friendly graphical user interface for our users. But it wasn't just about the application user interface, we also needed a more productive graphical environment for our developers as well, since we needed to add major new functionality to the existing applications."
"We are satisfied with our AS/400, it is a very stable platform for the core business of our company; there is no way we will leave the iSeries."
"We have a small IT staff of three. The programmers know the business very well and are experts in developing green-screen and RPG applications that meet the business needs. We needed a tool to let them develop new browser and Windows applications quickly."
"Even after the training, they would be programming in a number of third generation languages. This is not very productive. And they would have to learn another set of skills, like VB or .NET for Windows development. This would mean even more time spent in learning even more skills. We do not want to have our staff spending most of their time learning and perfecting new skills."
"After evaluating all tools, we found LANSA to be the best solution. LANSA gave us one skill set that let our RPG programmers quickly become effective in the development of browser and Windows applications," says Saavedra.
LANSA gave us one skill set that let our RPG programmers quickly become effective in the development of browser and Windows applications
"After training and doing some small tests with LANSA business partner Recursos Action, S.A., we built a budget application ourselves, learning by trial and error the best way to build LANSA applications," explains Saavedra.
"One lesson we learned was not to replicate the behavior of the existing 5250 applications, but to concentrate on adding new friendly user interfaces to take advantage of the strengths of the Windows environment and do things we could not do before, such as grids and messages."
"Now, when we build new functions or extend existing applications, we always look for ways to add a friendly graphical user interface. Visual LANSA applications are more accessible for users without experience of the existing AS/400 application as the friendly environment of Windows, lets them understand quickly the system."
"And when we demonstrate new applications to existing users they revel in the ability to make simultaneous enquires through multiple application windows. The 5250 user interface was too restrictive and only let them do one thing at a time. Now, while they paying a supplier, they can do other things, like making an interactive inquire, without closing the original task. In a sense the 5250 interface is closed, when you go to a process then you are locked into that process."
"Our users like the ability to swap between a number of different activities. Adding new functionality is important, but equally important is making accurate information accessible company-wide. So, we started with the sales administration and order entry areas. After that, we continued with accounting, customer credit account, accounts receivable and treasury departments."
"While the accounting and sales administration systems we have built in LANSA are used by 12 head office staff, the inventory system is going to be used throughout the whole company including the manufacturing plants, so around 40 people will use it. Users will have different access levels, interacting with the system in different ways, from managers monitoring production data to employees that will not have direct contact with the system but who handle scan guns that capture data only."
"Currently we are developing an inventory application to instantly track raw materials as it enters the factory, as it is used in production and when the final product is produced. The system will know what raw material to assign and who deliver it to, on what day and at what time. When we deliver products to a customer we will have expiration date and lot number details, so any follow up action with the supplier can be done directly by lot number.
"Currently, when the raw material arrives, it is weighed in a balance and data sent to the AS/400. This part works fine, what we have to do is modernize the whole production cycle with LANSA. We have to convert the company, we are going to LANS-ify the company," says Saavedra.
We have to convert the company, we are going to LANS-ify the company
"The main benefit up to this date has been having the ability to see the data at different levels and group it as we need. Obviously, we have to program the access, but the possibility of see in different stages how the data are being grouping, see people in an X level and easily assign levels of security is very useful," says Saavedra.
"Integration with existing applications and data is optimal, we don’t have any problems with this."
"While we haven’t done any formal return on investment calculations, what is clear already is that LANSA is far more productive, so we can respond quickly to end user requirements."
"The LANSA Repository has made a big difference. Centralizing data definitions, validations and business logic in one place is already allowing us to remove redundant data and coding. Every day we notice that we have already defined objects that we can reuse rather than define multiple times."
"And the users are clearly satisfied with the new graphical and friendly user interface," says Saavedra.
Susana Monteverde, product manager for Recursos Action, S.A, says, "LANSA has proved to be a powerful development tool for Benvenuto where a small team of developers, in a very short period of time, has implemented a broad range of applications with a maximum added value for both the company and its business."
"LANSA's short learning curve and high productivity let Benvenuto streamline and extend their core applications with a more flexible and friendly graphical interface very rapidly," says Monteverde.
LANSA has proved to be a powerful development tool for Benvenuto
"We spoke carefully to IBM to know LANSA’s reputation and learned that LANSA is one of its leading partners for advanced development on AS/400 and iSeries. We were concerned about support in Argentina, as we knew that we would be one of the first LANSA customers here. However, we were reassured by were very impressed with LANSA’s success around the world, including great success stories in Chile, Peru and Mexico," says Saavedra.
"Now, after more than a year's experience working with LANSA, I can say that LANSA and Recursos Action S.A. have satisfied our expectations in every way. We call or email LANSA and Recursos Action S.A. executives and support staff and receive a very fast responses."
"Both LANSA and Recursos Action S.A. have worked hard to support us. I feel they are very committed to providing the highest level of support to their customers and growing their business in Argentina, and all of Latin America. We received frequent visits from key LANSA executives assigned to the region. We confidently recommend LANSA to any company looking for the best way to modernize existing AS/400 applications, or build new applications."
We are willing to recommend LANSA to any company looking for the best way to modernize existing applications, or build new applications
Company and System Information
- Benvenuto S.A.C.I. is a family owned company and one of the most prominent canned food manufacturers in Argentina. Benvenuto products are found in all major retailers, such as Carrefour, Wal*Mart, Jumbo, Disco, Coto and Yaguar. Benvenuto makes all types of jams and jellies, canned fish and canned fruits.
- The company employs between 700 and 800 permanent and temporary staff and processes around six million tons annually in three manufacturing plants in Argentina. One in Mendoza / San Martín to produce jams, jellies and fruit in cans. Another plant in Choele-Choel packs tomatoes in Tetra packs. The third plant is located in Mar del Plata where the fish lines are processed.
- Benvenuto brands include La Campagnola, La Campagnola BC, Nereida, La Cuyana, La Vendimia, Poncho Negro and Canoa Salsati. For more information visit: www.lacampagnola.com
- Benvenuto uses an iSeries model 520.
- Recursos Action S.A. is a LANSA business partner headquartered in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information visit: www.action.com.ar