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Logistically speaking, BI helps

AJ Logistics has launched a business intelligence (BI) application that lets clients track projects, obtain status updates, update inventory data and other tasks using their iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices.

The closed-loop BI application is based on WebFOCUS Maintain from Information Builders, an application development environment for building transactional Web-based applications. A closed-loop system permits both reads and writes to the underlying database, which gives business users the information they need to make decisions and update the associated operational data, according to Information Builders.

Greg Johnston, CIO at AJ Logistics, says, “We like the solution because it lets mobile users both query and update a database via native browser apps. It also gives us real-time access to our inventory data with a complete security architecture that permits us to isolate each customer’s proprietary information.”

AJ Logistics provides custom warehousing and logistics services. For example, if a retail chain is opening a new store in a mall, AJ Logistics would manage the receipt, storage and delivery of furniture, fixtures and equipment in a nearby warehouse, maintain a running inventory of each item and coordinate deliveries to on-site contractors and installation crews. The company processes about 1,000 to 2,000 such projects a year.

The new system lets clients keep track of all of their projects through one report, generate an invoice and perform other common functions, according to Information Builders. Customers can view their inventory by part number, description, vendor, PO number, quantity, weight and shipping information, and schedule items for delivery at a date and time of their choosing. In many cases, their queries trigger multistep workflow processes that update inventory tables, schedule deliveries, notify project managers and direct activities at third-party warehouses, Information Builders reports.

Furthermore, Information Builders says its solution helps AJ Logistics’ employees locate warehouses, negotiate rates and coordinate the receipt and delivery of freight, fixtures and equipment. It also takes on many of the functions of an enterprise resource planning system by automating aspects of bids, billing, collection, invoicing, payments and shipments.

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