Fill it up, Check the Oil and Logon to the AS/400

Joanna Doyle

Another industry has joined the ranks of those using the Internet to more easily manage a variety of business processes with the use of business-to-business portals, this one running on an AS/400e server.

ScotSystems Inc. (Vicksburg, Miss.) announced this week it has chosen the AS/400e server to power, a new Internet portal targeted toward convenience stores and gas stations. will allow such businesses to do online ordering and billing, manage supplier relationships, inventory and accounting procedures, and rent applications for a monthly fee. ScotSystems hopes the 180,000 convenience stores and gas stations nationwide will use their Internet portal to connect their back office to more than 4,000 grocery and fuel suppliers.

All of the information subscribers use is stored on an AS/400e at ScotSystems' headquarters. One of the two AS/400 servers on location in Vicksburg, Miss. serves the applications and the other serves the Web pages. Customers have 24-hour access to applications and customer service support.

Mac's Mini-Mart, a convenience store chain operating five locations in Mississippi, had paper-based accounting and inventory procedures, before signing up for a week ago. Malcolm Carmichael, VP of Mac’s, says automating these functions through ScotSystems’ portal has been an effective time and cost saver.

“This new system is going to cut my time spent in the office by 10 hours per day and give me reports on demand that I need to make business decisions," Carmichael says." We looked at several alternatives that cost between $50,000 to $80,000. With, we're managing our business for less than $100 per month. In addition to the exorbitant prices of other systems, we would have had to constantly upgrade the technology and add more systems as our business grows."

Bill Scott, president of ScotSystems, says the company chose to run on AS/400s primarily because of the need for high reliability.

"Either you run this type of business on the AS/400 or you just don't run it at all, " says Scott. "We are thrilled with the AS/400—it never needs repairs, runs night and day and cuts bottom-line costs by at least half when compared to the alternative, the PC."

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