Scientific Equipment Case Study
Varian, Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a $600 million
high-technology company focused on analytical instruments that
provides products and services to worldwide markets. It operates
manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and Australia and
has sales and service offices worldwide.
Varian requested that five 300-page product catalogs be consolidated
into one central interactive database. Varian employees worldwide
would access the database to generate customer-specific catalogs on
demand, by supplier, product category, or any other combination.
Project requirements called for the application to be built quickly,
efficiently, and within budget.
The biggest challenge in the project’s design proved to be initial
data collection. For this, FTA created an exclusive data compilation
program for Varian suppliers. The application collected data as it
was exported from suppliers to Varian. The data was then transmitted
via e-mail or FTP to an Internet repository for approval and on to
Varian’s backend data warehouse, which is protected behind a
firewall. Available in both Internet and CD formats, FTA’s
database management system features comprehensive searching,
sorting, and navigation capabilities. Users, directly from their
desktops, retrieve and publish data stored in this structured data
warehouse, which houses not only all existing catalogs, but the most
up-to-the-minute data. In addition to maintaining order histories
and calculating transactions, the
database’s functionality may be expanded to include product
ordering and real-time supply order reporting.
Five 300-page catalogs were consolidated into one central
interactive database. Any or all sections can be outputted to Adobe
Acrobat PDF files for offset printing or to network laser printers
eliminating many manual pre-press layout operations.
connections to Microsoft SQL Server, we created an enterprise-sized,
Internet-based data warehouse enabling Varian employees to maintain
data on the Web. It is then exported into our
publishing software. The publisher is a desktop application with calls to Pegasus' Imag'n Graphic
libraries and Adobe Acrobat Writer. The publisher contains forms for
modifying layout options, sequencing product pages, making minor
text modifications, and importing OLE documents for informational
pages. Custom written functions were created for text width
non-proportional font column alignment and multi-column pages. Our
software also automatically creates indexes and tables of contents.
This data-driven application can generate catalogs, any portion
of a catalog, and sell sheets on demand. Varian can alter catalog
pricing - anything from dollars to Euros - as needed. In short, the
elimination of manual layouts will result in immediate and