Gold Eagle started as an automotive chemicals company in 1932. Since then, it has evolved into a multi-brand retail leader, providing complete lines of protection products for “all the things you’re passionate about” – cars, boats, recreation equipment, engines, and more. The Chicago company’s brands, including STA-BIL, TriNova, HEET, and 303, can be found worldwide in major retail chains, auto parts stores, and online.
Gold Eagle’s Business Applications department is responsible for keeping Production Systems online and available throughout two shifts. The department supports all JD Edwards users, and manages a half dozen third-party products that integrate with JD Edwards. “We are a department of three people, so partnering with the best providers, ones that have solid, easy-to-implement solutions that do not require constant maintenance, is key,” said Enterprise Infrastructure Manager Tim Kapala.
“Communicating with trading partners, using JD Edwards EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) throughout the day, requires timely executions,” explained Kapala. “There are incoming and outgoing jobs that run every hour.” Gold Eagle’s critical jobs include standard MRP jobs, Invoice Printing, Sales Update and Posting, Miscellaneous Data Integrities, Weighted Average Streams, Recommitting and Recalculating On Order and Inventory Values, Backorder Processing, AR Sales Statistics, Manufacturing Labor and Cost Posting, and GL Posting. The Business Applications department oversees the execution of 190 daily and weekly jobs, plus 24 additional month-end specific jobs that are essential to making sure every day starts out on a good foot.
Gold Eagle grappled with a number of issues using the native JD Edwards Batch Scheduler.
- When the scheduler stopped, job statuses would not always update, so many jobs would look like they were running fine, when in fact, they were in a stalled or failure state.
- There was no alerting so it was difficult to know when a problem existed without constant manual review.
- Modifying the submit time for multiple jobs was a very manual process, and required making changes at the job level. Especially on upgrade cutovers, fiscal year-end, and planned shutdown, repetitious manual processing was required.
- The only way to properly sequence a series of jobs was to insert time delays between them.
- It was difficult to see the schedule of jobs.
- Restarting jobs was a manually intensive process.
- If an early job in a stream failed, the stream would continue, requiring the team to manually repair tables.
- The scheduler could not run in more than one environment.
- Dependencies could not be applied to jobs, or groups of jobs.
Gold Eagle’s proof of concept pitted JAMS against scheduling tools from several other vendors. The JAMS team demonstrated its leadership in job scheduling and workload automation with a host of relevant features. Kapala pointed to a number of key features that set JAMS apart. “JAMS made the creation of JDE jobs simple and intuitive. The entire schedule is visible from one console, and we’re able to apply dependencies, group jobs logically, restart jobs, and hold jobs. We can also save time by running jobs concurrently.” Gold Eagle cited the cross-platform capabilities of JAMS as a deciding factor as well, noting that they could have “one tool to monitor automation”, including Windows and SQL scripts.
The JAMS Support and Implementation Group worked with Gold Eagle from day one to make sure the implementation was a success. Installation took just a few hours. Within 30 days, Gold Eagle migrated all JDE jobs to JAMS.
Duplicate jobs, that had been previously been running at intervals, were converted to a single JAMS Setup that executes the same job on a recurring basis. Rather than managing multiple instances of a job to set its recurrence, Gold Eagle could configure a single job to recur within a time/date range AND exclude specific days.
Gold Eagle took advantage of the flexible scheduling options in JAMS to configure specific run days and specific run times, exclude specific days, and contain recurrence intervals. “This functionality is simple to use and yet so powerful. It really helps simplify the schedule of jobs,” said Kapala. “And, the history feature provides us with great monitoring capability; it helps us see how well jobs are executing compared to past runs.”
JAMS is leveraged by the entire Gold Eagle IT department, and is used daily by the Business Applications Team. “Within this team,” said Kapala, “all three users are fluent, thanks to the intuitiveness of JAMS. We’re able to support workload automation with minimal effort, which leaves time to work on other issues.”
“JAMS has enabled Gold Eagle to reduce the time allocated to nightly jobs from 3.5 hours to about 1 hour,” said Kapala. Streamlining nightly jobs significantly reduced system downtime, and freed up resources for automating additional jobs, such as Windows batch processes and SQL jobs.
Gold Eagle has been able to group 160+ jobs into 10 setups – simplifying the required management. Kapala explained how JAMS has improved day-to-day management of Gold Eagle’s automation: “I can easily rely on JAMS to run our jobs and alert me when a problem arises. JAMS reliability is something I depend on, and it hasn’t let me down yet. I can quickly avert any production hour’s downtime or missing job runs with the excellent alert and rerun capabilities. Making a run change for any job or setup is simple.”
Minimizing system downtime and streamlining tasks and task timelines provides efficiency to the whole organization, not just the IT group. JAMS has enabled the company to work “better AND faster”. Monitoring and maintenance of scheduled jobs has been reduced to negligible time. “JAMS simply always works,” said Kapala. “Month-end, which in the past was a dreaded sleepless night – especially when the first of the month fell on a weekday – is now a breeze.”
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