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pcMAINFRAME Customer Profile: Balford Farms

Balford Farms finds a solution in pcMAINFRAME
Among the many issues facing data processing organizations today is satisfying the needs of their users while supporting a low cost and easily maintained processing environment. This can be a challenging task. Balford Farms is a refrigerated foods distributor located in Pennsylvania that has faced this challenge without a significant change in data processing systems. They have done this by implementing a reliable automated order processing system tailored to their customers and based upon its reliable IBM mainframe.

On an average day Balford Farms services over 200 orders from their largest client alone. All of Balford's critical applications remain on their mainframe, and when asked about the future Wayne Baldwyn indicated that Balford will continue processing on the mainframe until he is forced to migrate to a new platform. However, to improve operations in the meantime, Balford has begun to offload certain mainframe applications to a modest network of PCs that are assigned additional tasks as needs arise.

A task now assumed by PCs is order processing. Balford has lightened the mainframe processing load and eliminated data entry by giving their customers the ability to place their daily orders via their own PCs. These PCs run both cfSOFTWARE's data transfer program, pcMAINFRAME, and a specialized Paradox program that records information such as client number, vendor product number, and order quantities that can be sent to Balford PCs. After receiving the information, these PCs then request a program from the mainframe to translate the information into Balford code. The data is converted and uploaded to the mainframe by pcMAINFRAME for order completion, and in some cases sent back to institutional food distributors who use the processed orders to receive vendor discounts.

pcMAINFRAME allows this conversion and transfer to take place and also allows other mainframe applications to be off-loaded and processed on Balford PCs. Additionally, it allows PC software to be processed by the mainframe when necessary due to its ability to transmit condensed files back and forth. pcMAINFRAME enables Balford to achieve efficiency on two platforms -- mainframe and PC -- simultaneously and has begun preparing Balford for any migration it might make in the future.

Saving money, expanding processing demands, increasing efficiency, and keeping up with technology are goals Balford met with the help of pcMAINFRAME. By retaining legacy applications and adding on demand data transfer to their mainframe and PC systems, a level of efficiency never before seen has been reached at Balford Farms.


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