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Reflections on Change

Reflexite Corporation improves processes and saves money with an outsourced computing model


IT Director Geoff Grzywinski led the charge in migrating to new hardware and software at Reflexite, improving processes, reducing emissions and saving money. Photo by Rich Pomerantz




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Customer: Reflexite Corporation
Headquarters: Avon, Conn.
Business: Manufacturer and distributor of reflective solutions for high-visibility safety applications and optical components for energy efficiency and clean energy generation
Challenge: Moving from a distributed computing environment that hampered internal processes
Solution: Upgrading to an Oracle ERP suite hosted on an IBM Power Systems server helping improve internal processes and save money
Software: JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
Hardware: A third-party hosted IBM Power Systems server

Reflexite Corporation faced a quandary. Should it continue using what it had or take the chance on improving its back-office processing capabilities by migrating to new hardware and software? It was a daunting decision, but one management had to make.

After mulling over its options, Reflexite decided to go for it. The company realized that if it did its homework and collaborated with well-chosen business partners, it could not only upgrade and improve operations, but also—contrary to conventional wisdom—save money.

An Added Benefit

Founded in 1963, the Avon, Conn.-based Reflexite is a global leader in high-visibility reflective and optically-engineered energy-saving products. The former are part of the company’s Reflective Solutions Business and include reflective tapes that help keep people such as firefighters, police, road-construction workers, U.S. soldiers and everyday motorists safe. It also makes reflective sheeting used, for example, on temporary signs and other devices found in construction zones.

Reflexite’s expertise in microstructured optics lets it also offer components for energy-saving and clean energy-producing products, such as solar concentrator lenses for photovoltaic cells, light-enhancing films for electronic displays, and low-power architectural lighting technologies.

As Geoff Grzywinski, Reflexite’s director of IT, explains, “Almost all of these are specification-driven products, whether it’s the reflective tape used on heavy-duty tractor trailer trucks or the reflective sheeting that’s applied to barrels or cones in or near highway work zones. This same reflective technology is also used on roadway-worker vests and firefighters’ coats, for example. It’s all part of our ‘saving lives, saving energy’ mission statement.”

Reflexite’s saving mantra also applies to its internal operations, especially in how IT and manufacturing operations can collaborate to cut waste. “We realized a couple years ago that our lack of a global and modern corporatewide information system was hindering our abilities in a number of areas. These inherent inefficiencies created several forms of waste, including high freight costs, over-bloated inventory and wasted materials,” Grzywinski says.

A heterogeneous IT environment that included different software packages and hardware platforms running at the company’s many worldwide locations caused much of this. In some cases, one application couldn’t communicate with another, which created a lack of transparency when it came to issues such as inventory. And maintaining this hodgepodge IT environment was becoming costly as more servers were being brought in to host different applications.

“Realizing this wasn’t an ideal scenario, we decided to undertake a massive project to replace all of our disparate information systems with a new one to get everyone on the same platform,” Grzywinski says. “The goal of all this is to enable us to more efficiently coordinate activities on a global basis. As an added benefit, we knew we could significantly lower our overall operating costs on IT administration, paper use and energy consumption.”

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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