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Improved Printing for Remote Users in Oracle EBS with Centralized Printer Management

The Company:

Flowserve Corporation is one of the world’s leading providers of fluid motion and control products and services. Operating in more than 55 countries, the company produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals and valves as well as a range of related flow management services. Flowserve uses five Oracle E-Business Suite instances to manage their operations. In order for Flowserve to meet local and remote user printing requirements, they had to register and manage numerous printers in Oracle E-Business Suite.

The Problem:

The need to accommodate printing services for Flowserve associates around the world resulted in numerous printers created solely for a small site or a remote user. The many steps required to set up printers weighed heavily on the workload of the IT organization. “Even though our technical teams involved have these processes down to a science, the process of setting up print queues on the right servers can be quite laborious,” says Malcolm Jowett, an IT manager at Flowserve.

First, a user would submit the request to add a new printer. Once the request identified the make, model and IP address of the printer, the Flowserve database team could coordinate with the operating system team. The operating system team would then set up the UNIX queue and register the printer in Oracle. From there, the users had to test the printers and ensure their printed documents maintained proper formatting. Finally, the printer moved into production. According to Jowett, “creating a new printer would take days as a result of all the technical resources required for that process, and because it is not considered an urgent job.”

Jowett believes the set up process became most problematic when teams forgot to test with users or excluded information such as the printer’s IP address. These types of errors required all the original resources to determine what was missed, and to repeat their effort to fill in the necessary information. The re-work would set everyone back due to the difficulty in coordinating schedules between the database team, operating system team and end users.

The heavy demand on resources to manage printers on UNIX queues inside Oracle prompted a Flowserve initiative to reduce the number of UNIX print queues. The biggest obstacle in these efforts was fulfilling the remote and traveling user requirements to print Oracle reports at home, or at another office without a UNIX queue set up to facilitate the printing of the report.

The Solution:

Flowserve chose AventX Print Xpress to simplify the IT organization’s management of printers inside Oracle E-Business Suite. AventX Print Xpress eliminates the need to configure individual printers on the UNIX print queue and inside Oracle. Additionally, AventX Print Xpress allows users to print Oracle reports to any printer available on their computer.

Flowserve introduced AventX Print Xpress to a system with over 1,000 users, using a one-page flyer to describe the new print options available. All users were able to understand the solution quickly and began to use it on the fly. Now, almost 60 percent of Flowserve users that have a printer preference in Oracle feature AventX as their default. “It’s really easy for people to use AventX, because there is a separate window that indicates if the client is running,” says Jowett. “The users know they have AventX and know they can print anywhere.”

AventX Print Xpress is mutually beneficial for the Flowserve manufacturing department and the IT organization when printing reports on the shop floor. The Local Print option allows manufacturing staff print reports to any number of printers on the shop floor without asking IT to set up and maintain the many shop floor printers on the UNIX queue or inside Oracle. Also, remote and traveling Flowserve associates can now print to a local printer, which provides much easier access to printing.

After two weeks, Flowserve reported that about 3,000 purchase orders, pick slips, shipping labels and bills of lading were processed using AventX Print Xpress. In addition, Jowett is impressed that AventX is supported by a team of engineers well-versed in Oracle configuration and functionality. “We’ve been really happy with the support we’ve had and the care we’ve seen in STR software’s work. It’s been the best, really.”

Jowett is confident about the decision made by Flowserve to partner with STR Software, and he sees a bright future for Flowserve’s use of AventX. AventX Print Xpress is just one member of the AventX product family that has additional modules that automate the emailing, faxing, archiving and printing of Oracle E-Business Suite reports and attachments. “The other compatible products in the AventX Suite added interest toward AventX,” Jowett says. “We feel we could grow into other AventX product modules in the future.”

STR Software specializes in document delivery solutions for email, fax, internet fax, and print. The AventX Product Suite integrates with ERP applications including Oracle EBS, SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, SunGard and internally-developed solutions in UNIX, Linux and MPE environments.

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