Forbes Marshall Upgrades ERP; Plans OS Migration

by Amit Tripathi    Jan 14, 2005

Forbes Marshall, the Pune based manufacturer of advanced engineering products is in the process of migrating its operating system (OS) from the existing Windows to the Unix platform after recently upgrading its ERP.

Speaking to CXOtoday, N. Vijaykumar, GM-IT, Forbes Marshall, said, “It has been almost a year since we have upgraded our ERP from Oracle 11.0.3 to Oracle 11i. We now have 18 modules including the new sales/marketing and after-sales service modules.” However, once the upgraded ERP started functioning, a new challenge surfaced. Says Vijaykumar, “We observed that the new applications were increasingly turning resource hungry.”

Moreover, achieving stability in the system was another concern that facilitated the shifting from Windows to the Unix platform. To support this change the hardware configuration was changed from Compaq to IBM p-series. The company’s 14 branches use 512 Kbps leased line connectivity while two manufacturing units use 802.11g wireless link to access the database.

The migration task however was not easy given that on the application landscape, Forbes Marshall uses PeopleSoft solution for its human resource, training, and manpower functions. It was then that Vijaykumar chalked out a stepwise approach to the migration process.

Elaborating on the steps, he said, “The first step involved installation of the hardware and the OS. In the second step, (which is moderately complex due to process related errors) the applications are installed followed by testing as the third step. The testing of performance is done as database files are moved from one OS to the other.”

“The fourth step of functional testing is the most time consuming one. At this stage various configurational errors are encountered which can be managed by referring to patch management documentation. This is followed by the step of simulated mode testing to get functional and configurational understanding of the system. At this step software testing tools like Loadrunner are used to handle simulated data loads and the performance is judged,” added Vijaykumar.

Forbes Marshall comprises of eight financial entities all of which are in an expansion mode. He says, “Our enterprise plans to achieve a target of 50% increase in group turnover. We will shortly be supporting a cross-functional team that will work towards achieving the target.”

Since the company planned an increased share in export, the area of export documentation has to improve. Vijaykumar and his inhouse team plans to design an application that will act as an add-on to its ERP. A similar add-on for excise specifications was done in July 2004.