Programming Strategic Tools - Rave Group

From a simple green screen to a modern strategic cartography tool...

The Rave group stretches the boundaries of RPG development, thanks to SilverDev

Faced with the need to create a monthly schedule, IT Director of the RAVE group, Didier ROUSSEL, chose SilverDev for his company’s RPG developments. He has made it a genuine strategic tool for the group in terms of productivity, decisionmaking assistance and customer service.

With more than 800 employees and €90 million annual revenue, the Rave group is a leader in the French transportation market. The group, which was founded more than 60 years ago, is both a transport company and a provider of logistics services and currently has around twenty sites throughout France.

Didier ROUSSEL joined the group in 1998 as IT director after managing an IT consulting firm for 9 years, with valuable experience in customer relations, project management and implementation. His experience and business skills are essential to his current task of directing and coordinating the Information System used by more than 200 employees located in the group’s various sites.
“IT plays an essential role in our transport services firm, in both customer relations and everyday operations” he says. “Although software packages are used for certain aspects of business management, such as finance, human resources or customers, the Group has opted for in-house software to deal with its various transport and logistics businesses.”

Over-stepping the restrictions of 5250

“ We needed a development tool that could provide solutions that the 5250 mode could not.”

“In 2005, we needed to draw up a monthly schedule to facilitate the monitoring of our teams, but it was impossible to display the activity of all 31 days of the month on a 5250 screen. We therefore needed a development tool that would enable us to provide graphic screens, but based on the existing skills of the team.”

Transforming restrictions into advantages:

Preserving RPG development

To preserve the RPG development environment , SilverDev was the obvious choice for the Rave Group. Not only did the development team not have to learn a new language, but “SilverDev uses automatic programming, surpassing development methods using PHP, Java and .NET languages”, points out Didier ROUSSEL

Choosing a tool that is efficient even on remote sites

“Our servers are hosted so our users are not on site. Response times had to be immediate and installation on their workstations had to be very light”. SilverDev only installs a light executable on the client workstation and, with its low CPW consumption and optimized TCP/IP protocol, is a high-performance tool for remote sites.”

SilverDev: new development opportunities

A few days of training were all it took to learn to use SilverDev. Didier ROUSSEL’s team was able to produce the graphic schedule very quickly. SilverDev’s potential in terms of concept, ergonomics and application flexibility then led the way to new development projects.

“SilverDev is an economical, easy to implement tool that truly improves productivity and provides new solutions”

Thanks to its SQL connector, Silverdev soon became the obvious choice for producing interfaces between the Rave group's business applications under DB2/400, and the on-board IT solution under SQL Server. Other interfaces have since been created between using different DBMS.

SilverDev also enabled the creation of a EDMS tool (to scan, archive, search and view functions, etc.) for the group, built into the business software system. This tool is now used on a daily basis by all employees (vehicle ownership papers, signed transport receipts, accident reports, etc..).

And yet the most significant creation is probably the cartography tool. “With SilverDev coordinating MapPoint ActiveX controls, we integrated Microsoft’s MapPoint cartography into our delivery round compilation program. The transport manager can position pick-up and/or delivery points on the map and assign them to a pre-selected driver’s round with a simple click on the map. He can also compare a vehicle’s actual route (information provided by the on-board computer) with the theoretical route by displaying them together on the map.”

The cartography tool has become a real decision-making assistance tool: it provides the information required to monitor resources, drivers and vehicles and thereby enables flows to be optimized.

“Without Silverdev, this development would have demanded a heavier hardware and network architecture, and therefore much higher development and maintenance costs.”

Conclusion: a solution at the heart of the Rave group’s competitivity

Since 2005, Didier ROUSSEL has been able to appreciate all the advantages of these SilverDev developments.

All SilverDev’s added value resides in its flexibility and scalability enabling the development team to resolve specific problems. Today, the applications developed using SilverDev are appreciated by users for their ergonomics and operational performance as well as by the Group’s senior management, which measures the productivity improvements of users and developers.

“SilverDev has enabled us to improve our customer services and to increase the productivity of our teams by way of specific developments. Its added value is essentially qualitative and makes all the difference to the RAVE group’s competitive advantage today”

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