In order to relieve its stress in maintaining a multi-language source code, a Malaysian company converted its furniture manufacturing management software to Ada. The software, fMRP, is a fully integrated Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) for the company, Muar Furniture Industries Sdn Bhd. fMRP consists of many different modules to suit the tasks of the company's different departments, including orders processing and management, resource planning, shop-floor planning, as well as integrating with AutoCAD to manage materials and quantities used for manufacturing processes. The software also integrates with a telemetry system that counts in real-time the input and output of items in production lines.
The company chose Ada in response to their software engineers' inability to contain sky-rocketing costs in maintaining the code in C and C++, COBOL, and Pascal. All the module developers literally spoke their own language. Communications inevitably broke down, all jobs slowed to a halt, and the software laboratories despaired of making any progress.
Chose Linux over Windows
The software engineers took almost four years to develop the entire software and the necessary library functions in Ada, during which time they generated more than 700,000 lines of code. The software was originally developed on a Windows platform and intended for use with InterBase for Windows NT as the back-end database server. Instead, the development team decided to target the software as a Linux native product and chose InterBase 4.0 for Linux as the back-end. Most of the code has been easily ported and compiled using the GNAT compiler for Linux. Some of the code involved Windows APIs were than ported to X.
The server is a HP NetServer with Pentium III 450MHz running Caldera OpenLinux 1.3 with 256MB RAM and a total of 20GB hard disk space on RAID. The InterBase 4.0 (IB4) for Linux was installed and configured and a total number of 1.2 millions records had been ported from Sybase to IB4. During the first week of implementation, both the customer and the development team were happy to report that the software ran smoothly without any hiccups.
Monitored maintenance and support costs
The company monitored the maintenance and support costs and the system downtime generated by the software during the first six months of implementation of both version 2 and 3. Both maintenance and support cost shown here are based on averaged cost per total effort. The data was collected for the same period of the first six months of implementation for both version 2 and 3 because the reading was most significant in this study.
The maintenance cost (figure 1.1) for version 3 (red legend) is significantly lower than its predecessor (blue legend) and is showing sign of decreasing. Profit is maximized due to the decreased of maintenance cost.
Figure 1.2 shows support cost of version 3 (red) is also significantly lower than version 2 (blue)
and also showing the sign of decreasing support cost. Profit is also maximized in support.
Figure 1.3 shows the system down time generated by software. Again, version 3 (red) is significantly lower than version 2 (blue). Note the downtime for version 3 on the first and second month of implementation were high compare to following months. The reason was that the software was shutdown for patches and upgrading of drivers and library updates and addition of new components. This has
proven the reliability of Ada. Figure 1.3
Ada has greatly improved the quality of the software and at the same time has reduced development and maintenance cost to a minimum.
According to Mr. Wong See Ang, the managing director of Muar Furniture Industries Sdn Bhd, "We are very happy with version 3. It runs better than previous versions and we are glad that Lexical has chosen Ada as the programming language. Not only Ada, they have chosen Linux and Interbase well to suit our mission critical requirement. I feel that our money is well spent this time."
The second project, fERP, is now underway. The fERP is the Enterprise Resource Planning for furniture industries for the company corporate and sales office in Kuala Lumpur and will integrate seamlessly with fMRP at their manufacturing site in Muar.
For more information contact:
Lexical Integration (M) Sdn Bhd
Katy Yong, Director of IS Group
Adrian Hoe, Director of R&D
LA Teh, VP of Business Development
Samuel J. DeSouza, Application Engineer
Jimmy Lee, Support Engineer
Based on an article in Ada Malaysia