A Blue Signature! PHD, Inc needed a blue signature on their International Shipping Forms, such as NAFTA. Failure to produce the blue signature would result in fines, and hand-signing hundreds of forms every day was not an option. PHD used an IBM i forms solution to produce the shipping forms, but that software was not able to produce the blue signature. You could say PHD had a case of the signature blues!
PHD, Inc is a global leader in manufacturing of pneumatic, electric and hydraulic actuators for assembly, packaging, robotics, and industrial automation with locations in Fort Wayne and Huntington, Indiana and Baesweiler, Germany. As it happens, PHD is a long time-user of Barcode400 by TL Ashford. PHD uses Barcode400 to generate bar code labels from their IBM i. While visiting the TL Ashford web site, Ed Waldschmidt, IT Project Manager at PHD, decided to download a 30-day trial of the TLAForms software – a software package to convert IBM i spool files into full color, professional forms.
The software was installed, and, according Mr. Waldschmidt, he designed a form in about 10 minutes including the required blue signature! Using the TLAForms graphical design interface, he simply imported an image of the blue signature and dropped it on the form! “The GUI interface to design the form is so much easier than our previous designer,” said Mr. Waldschmidt.
The next step was to integrate the form into the JD Edwards World application software. An ouput queue was created on the IBM i, and the spool files being produced by the application software were automatically routed to this output queue which was monitored by the TLAForms software. When a new spool file appeared in the queue, TLAForms took the data from the spool file, applied it to the form, and generated the form. The forms are generated as PDF files, and the PDF files are dynamically printed to dierent printers and/or IFS locations with plans to have TLAForms automatically email the forms in the future.
With such a smooth transition for the international shipping forms complete, PHD quickly converted other forms such as their PO’s, packers, and acknowledgments. In one instance, a form requiring several different forms within the old forms package was designed as a single form within TLAForms. The form, in this case, needed English language headings when the data in the spool file was in English, and required German language headings when the spool file data was German. They decided to use the spool file’s Form Type attribute to condition a single form to print both languages. If the spool file Form Type is German, TLAForms uses German headings. If the spool file Form Type is English, English headings are used.
PHD plans to use TLAForms across the entire company to generate all of their forms including work orders, sales orders, invoices and statements, etc. “Once we offer this to our robotics division, we’ll be developing a bunch of new color forms,” said Mr. Waldschmidt.
Justifying the cost was easy. With TLAForms, they are able to use the graphical designer to easily create complex backgrounds, which eliminates the need to purchase pre-printed forms, and according to Mr. Waldschmidt, “the combined maintenance cost for both TL Ashford packages, Barcode400 and TLAForms, is less than what PHD paid for maintenance on the previous forms solution!” TLAForms is PHD’s cure for the blues!