Unisem Europe uses FormScape to Preserve and Extend its Legacy System

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 Our legacy manufacturing application is functionally rich because it includes many customisations. However, the output was one-size ASCII text. FormScape allowed us to modernize our documents and communication. Now when we generate a document, it looks as good as one from any modern system.  This has delivered the tremendous benefit of preserving our investment in our manufacturing system and giving it a new lease on life.  Stuart Burrows, Unisem Europe.

Unisem Europe provides outsourced volume integrated circuit assembly and testing services to semiconductor design and manufacturing companies. When Unisem Europe first looked for a new document generation solution in 1999, it wanted an easier way to produce more professional documents from its legacy AS/400 Business Planning Control System (BPCS) manufacturing solutionin particular, to produce documents that included barcodes.  The companys previous document generation solution did not permit developers to see an items location on the page, which meant laying out graphics, barcodes, and so on was a time consuming, trial-and-error process.      

The company chose FormScape to solve this issue because of its easy-to-use Visual Drag-and-Drop Development interface. But in the wake of the downturn in the semiconductor industry in Europe in 2001 and 2002, the company soon found ways to use FormScape to reduce costs across all its document processes and provide strategic and innovative new services to its customers.  

The FormScape Solution
Today, Unisem Europe operates a single FormScape server along with 19 printers at its European headquarters. FormScape generates 54 types of documents spanning the entire range of company business documents, including invoices, statements, checks, purchase orders and so on.

FormScape partner Pericom provides support. Says Burrows, When weve hit technical issues or have not been sure how to do something, Pericom has helped us every time. Theyve been absolutely excellent.

Extend and Enhance ROI from Legacy System
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that FormScape has allowed Unisem to extend and enhance its investment in its legacy application by giving the output from that system a modern makeover. Says Burrows, Our existing manufacturing application is functionally rich because it includes many customisations. However, the output was one-size ASCII text. FormScape allowed us to modernize our documents and communication. Now when we generate a document, it looks as good as one from any modern system.  This has delivered the tremendous benefit of preserving our investment in our manufacturing system and giving it a new lease on life.

Lower Cost
FormScapes drag-and-drop Development made it easy for Unisem Europe to create complex branded documents including critical requirements like barcodes. Additionally, this capability combined with FormScape Document Production and Document Delivery capabilities have enabled Unisem to dramatically reduce costs and provide value-added services that improve its relationships with customers.

During the downturn in the European semiconductor market in 2001 and 2002, most of the companys (which was then Atlantic Technology) European competitors went out of business. The only way to survive was to cut costs and improve efficiency. FormScape was a critical part of the solution.

Prior to using FormScape, the company used pre-printed stationary for its transactional business documents, which required specialized high-impact printers. It had to mail these documents through the postal service. At nearly 30 pence per sheet, the pre-printed stationary was expensive. The printers had high maintenance costs. And postage was costly.

FormScape dramatically reduced all of these costs. By allowing the company to print on plain paper, FormScape eliminated the costs of the pre-printed stationary and allowed the company to use standard, low-cost laser printers.  By outputting documents in the PDF format and emailing them rather than sending them through the postal service, the company was able to reduce postage costs as well. When Atlantic Technology was later purchased by Unisem, FormScape drag-and-drop development made it easy to change the name and logo on all of its documents within days at no cost.
 
Greater Service to Customers
FormScapes ease of development has also enabled Unisem Europe to provide strategic and innovative new services to its customers. Says Stuart Burrows, Information Systems Manager, at Unisem Europe, We support a range of start up companies as part of our customer portfolio. Production volumes are initially low and we need lots of flexibility. FormScape allows us to offer these companies more services. For example, we can produce packing lists, invoices, and forms with the customers logo so that their paperwork will have a more professional look. This helps us improve our relationship with customers and support their growth so that we can continue to help them as they grow into bigger, high-volume companies.

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